St. Louis King of France Catholic Church in Austin, TX, has hosted Temple Beth Shalom for two years–including its High Holy Day services. This isn’t common, but isn’t unheard of. St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Goleta, CA, the Catholic campus ministry at UCSB, hosted the High Holy Day services for the local Hillel Center. Yom Kippur services generally overwhelm synagogues with the large numbers of people who attend.
But some members of St. Louis were upset–especially when they found out Rabbi Alan Freedman is on the Planned Parenthood board. Now, he’s been on the board for some time, and the church has been hosting the temple for some time, so this timing seems suspicious. So is their methodology. Instead of bringing their concerns to the pastor’s attention, or to the parish pastoral council, or even writing to the bishop, they complained to EWTN news. As a result of the firestorm this ignited, the agreement was revoked the day before Yom Kippur. Rabbi Freedman explains to his congregation, and tries to take some pressure off Bishop Joe Vasquez by suggesting the decision was mutual. Fox News reports, as does the Statesman, and both say the decision was Vasquez’s. The diocesan webpage starts off by accepting full responsibility … but then vacillates. I would think an apology would be in order for this disruption of the most holy services of the year … but, sadly, Joe didn’t offer one. He does say he’ll happily talk with the rabbi–after the High Holy Days are over.