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Gay-friendly clergy disinvited from SF church

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Otis CharlesMost Holy Redeemer Church, a Catholic parish in the middle of the Castro, is in trouble again with church leaders over how best to minister to its heavily gay and lesbian congregation.

In the latest incident, Archbishop George Niederauer had the church's pastor, the Rev. Steve Meriwether, rescind invitations to a trio of gay-friendly clergy scheduled to speak at a series of pre-Christmas evening services.

"The archbishop felt the speakers were inappropriate for the season of Advent, which should be a time to reflect on the coming of Christ," said George Wesolek, a spokesman for the archdiocese. There was no comment from the parish, where a church secretary said Meriwether was out on medical leave.

The action disappointed, but did not surprise the Rev. Roland Stringfellow, a minister for the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Church, who had been scheduled to speak Wednesday.

"It's ironic and hypocritical that the Catholic Church has a 'Come home' ad campaign going on right now," he said. "Clearly, not everyone is welcome within the Catholic Church."

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