When the San Diego Union Tribune announced that "Bishop won't allow funeral for club owner" it was news to keep an eye on. That's because Bishop Robert Brom of San Diego has been duly noted for his wimpiness.
Not that the See of San Diego has always had such problems. His predecessor, Bishop Leo Maher, was the first in the nation in 1989 to deny a politician Communion for openly supporting abortion (see this article I did on the issue). Unfortunately, Bishop Maher was left out in the cold by his fellow California hierarchs and suffered great humiliation on their account. It was not until late 2003 that his legacy was taken up again and that happened 1,500 miles away in La Crosse, Wis.
Bishop Brom certainly didn't follow Bishop Maher's lead. He has continuously allowed all sorts of shenanigans to go on his diocese, particularly at the Jesuit-run University of San Diego. So when that headline came, I wondered how long the bishop's resolve would last.
It appears 31-year-old John McCusker owned a couple of gay bars. If that's not bad enough, they had been used under contract for shooting of pornographic films. So when McCusker died of AIDS and it was announced his funeral would be at a Catholic parish, a number of people who knew of his business dealings contacted the diocese to let them know. Bishop Brom, amazingly, took the right step on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day, of all days) and denied him a funeral in a Catholic church.
But it appears his spine is made of something other than backbone. When the gay groups predictably protested and said they would keep up a bunch of noise, we didn't have to wait too long. Today's headline, "Bishop apologizes for barring Catholic funeral of gay nightclub owner" and the attached brief story say it all.
Well, not quite all. Something like, 'Bishop' apologizes...., would have told a fuller story.