Gay Pastoral Minister Resigns Because of Fear for His Safety

The movement to expel LGBT church workers from their jobs has reached a new low as a pastoral minister in San Diego was forced to resign from his job because of fear for his safety.

Aaron Bianco

A few days ago, Bondings 2.0 reported on the case of Aaron Bianco, a gay married man, who has been part of the pastoral team at St. John the Evangelist parish in the gay neighborhood of Hillcrest in San Diego.  After a year and a half of harassment by anti-LGBT people who identify as Catholics, Bianco arrived to the parish one recent morning to find the message “No Fags” spray-painted on the side of a building.  At the time, Bianco said he was considering resigning.

His decision became definite, when after this incident, Bianco received even more personal attacks.  In an email to friends and associates, he wrote:

“As most of you know, I have endured physical and emotional violence from groups like Church Militant and LifeSite News for the past year and a half. As I wrote earlier in the week, they have slashed my tires, left me death threats, physically attacked me outside of mass and sent hundreds of letters, phone calls and emails. This past week they took it to another level. They broke into the office/rectory and spray painted “no fags” on the conference room wall. Then, on Wednesday, LifeSite News and the Lepanto Institute published an article about me. This was the final straw. They posted pictures of my family, including a photo of my deceased mother, stated where I live, and went back years to try and find anything on me.” [You can read a National Catholic Reporter news story about Bianco’s decision to resign, as well as his full statement announcing the decision by clicking here.]

Bianco compared these tactics to those used by “organized crime.”  That’s true.  I think that another description is also apt here:  these are acts of terrorism.

Let’s be clear:  These are not acts of terror simply because they are anti-LGBT.  Many people who hold such views have been involved in civil and respectful debates to present their strongly-held opinions about sexual ethics.  However, when argument and persuasion are no longer involved, when threats of violence and acts of vandalism are used, when an individual is targeted and exposed, when a campaign of fear and intimidation becomes so intense that it extends to a person’s family members, the only apt description of such acts is that they are terrorism.  Their perpetrators attempt to achieve their goals by causing fear.

We have  seen these tactics used before when anti-abortion groups targeted doctors who perform abortions for public shaming.  And we know the outcome of many of  those campaigns:  doctors were shot and killed by people who professed to be “pro-life.”

The National Catholic Reporter’s article about Bianco’s resignation said that the law enforcement officials provided him with the application for a concealed carry permit for a firearm for his protection. Bianco completed and submitted it–a sign of the realistic threat he has experienced. Let’s pray that he doesn’t have use the permit.

How did things get to this point and how can they be reversed?

The terror tactics of Church Militant, LifeSite News, and the Lepanto Institute have gone unchecked by U.S. Catholic bishops, save one: Bishop McElroy of San Diego, who has supported Bianco 100% throughout this ordeal, including these final acts.  These are the same groups who have targeted Father James Martin, several theologians, New Ways Ministry, and many other church renewal organizations. Astoundingly, instead of condemning the terrorist tactics, bishops and other church leaders have submitted to the perpetrator’s demands.  Such submission only encourages further terrorism.

The U.S. bishops must speak forcefully to condemn this terrorist rhetoric. The time of appeasement has passed. Similarly, the U.S. bishops have to take their blinders off and acknowledge that marriage equality is the law of the land and need to develop a policy that protects married lesbian and gay church workers from employment discrimination, just as the German bishops have done.  The U.S. bishops have to preach and teach church doctrine on respecting LGBT people with the same strength and resources that they used to try to stop marriage equality.  To remain silent at this point will make the bishops complicit in condoning the un-Christian treatment that Aaron Bianco has experienced. Will it take a death before the bishops work to end what McElroy called a “cancer of vilification seeping into the institutional life of the church” ?

Over a year ago, Bishop McElroy said these kind of vicious attacks by conservative websites should be a “wake-up call” to the U.S. bishops.  Why haven’t the bishops become woke?

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, October 20, 2018

 

 

12 replies
  1. Friends
    Friends says:

    So who is possessed by Satan, or at the very least by Satanic influences? Is it the legally married individuals who seek to live in peace, harmony and fellowship with their brother and sister Christians? Or is it the hate-filled self-declared “Protectors Of The Christian Faith” — who profane the teachings of Jesus Himself by engaging in acts of brutal violence and terrorism? Which set of human minds has Satan himself very cunningly colonized? I know my own answer to that fundamental question. What’s yours?

    Reply
  2. Michael Brinkschröder
    Michael Brinkschröder says:

    I am shocked by this dramatic and terrorist turn of Catholic homophobia and want to express my solidarity with Aaron Bianco.

    Just to be precise about the labor conditions in Germany: Pastoral workers and teachers of religious education will be fired if they marry a partner of the same sex (as they work for the proclamation of faith); while all other employees of the church are no longer affected if they enter a same-sex marriage.

    Reply
  3. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    Why indeed hasn’t the USCCB become ” woke” ? The answer appears to be that some bishops like the handy whipping boy of a man like Mr. Bianco. Blame someone. Blame anyone except the spiteful minority of so called Catholics who think that hatred is not only acceptable but justified and “righteous”. Maybe those same people would feel more at home with the Westboro Baptist crowd.

    Reply
  4. Susanne Cassidy
    Susanne Cassidy says:

    I coulfn’t Agree more with this piece today, Where are the Catholic Bishops? I met Aaron a few years back at several meeting when he was working in the Philadelphia area. He is a very gentle person, he has been working for years to make our world a better place for our children who are a part of the LBGT community. The groups mentioned are not Christian groups, they are hate groups. I am sorry Aaron had to step away from work he loved, I wish him well.

    Reply
  5. Tom Bower
    Tom Bower says:

    To those who wonder where is the Catholic Church when such hateful events against members of the LGBT community take place I remind you of the Church’s official teaching – Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1986 letter on the Care of Homosexual – item 10.” It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs…. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered.When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned,or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.” This is each and every Cardinal’s and Bishop’s marching order. Until the Church throws out such hate, their name will not be love.

    Reply
    • John Hilgeman
      John Hilgeman says:

      “But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered.When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

      Tom, this is one of the most repulsive and indefensible statements I have ever seen in recent official RC Church statements. Then Cardinal Ratzinger – in a statement approved for publication by John Paul II – was in effect saying that the LGBT victims of violent actions are to blame for the violence against them. He could not in this document see or understand the reality of love in the relationships between gay people, but he expressed understanding for the victimizers.

      Reply
  6. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    Forget the bishops, direct call to law enforcement to find these criminals and press charges. Further, can’t charges be filed against his diocese for negligence at the very least? In any case, a criminal investigation needs to commence immediately!!!

    Reply
  7. DON E SIEGAL
    DON E SIEGAL says:

    Worst story for 2018

    This account is in strong competition for one of the worst stories in 2018. I believe that the safety of one’s life is threatened it is a disgustingly repugnant act. Since I am a catechist in our Church, I gives me pause about why do I insist to stay connected to this Church; however, if I capitulate then the evil ones have won.

    It seems there have been a lot of similarly worst LGBT news this year.

    Reply

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