Bishop William Weigand, of Sacramento will be retiring November 30 of this year. I have been a fan of Bishop Weigand's for some time... I think it started when he backed a local priest that had refused then Governor and liberal pro-abort supporter Gray Davis' annual visit to come to the local Catholic orphanage to distribute toys and other gifts at Christmas time. He further caused waves when he informed Davis that he should refrain from Holy Communion until he changed his stance on the abortion issue, as it was causing confusion and controversy to what the Church has always taught. It was the first time EVER that the Governors office was refused access to the orphanage, and contrary to much local outcry, Bishop Weigand held his ground.
I have also heard of him from time to time on our local Catholic Radio Station that broadcasts "The Bishops Radio Hour" weekdays, from Sacramento. So, I was more than a little sad when I heard that he would be retiring and more than a little skeptical about WHO would be replacing such a good, holy and orthodox man. The answer was/is Bishop Soto.
Praise be Jesus in His infinite wisdom! According to this recent article, Bishop Soto made MUCH more than just an appearance at the recent NACDLGM (National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries) conference held in Long Beach California on September 18.
Now, at first glance I would have raised my eyebrows, having attended several of the Anaheim Religious Education Congresses held in Anaheim CA, hosted by Roger Cardinal Mahoney every year, under the guise of being a "Catholic conference" but really isn't... That particular conference has a mix of Catholic and non-Catholic speakers ALL of which will speak on any number of "educational" topics from liturgical artsy-fartsy fan fare, to homosexuality acceptance and New Age theology.... And apparently, the coordinators of the NACDLGM, in accepting Bishop Soto's offer to attend and speak were under the same expectation. They must have figured that he was "one of those" Bishops that will bend and move around all the rules in order to justify the sinful behavior of homosexuality and somehow "justify" their lifestyles. But the good Bishop apparently had other plans and the NACDLGM surely DID NOT expect what he DID say, or they wouldn't have felt it necessary to APOLOGIZE to the assembly for the Bishops words after he was done. Just a few excerpts from Bishop Soto's address:
We can easily give in to the temptation to go along in order to get along.
We can easily be duped by the popular ideas and trends that surround us.
“Everybody does it” can become reason enough to think it or do it ourselves.
Like Peter we can think that what Jesus teaches us is too unrealistic, too
unreasonable. Like Peter we can convince ourselves that we know better than the
Lord. We may even try to negotiate with Jesus, like Peter does, for easier
We see this especially in the area of sexuality. So much of what we see and
hear every day can lead us to a distorted sense of our sexuality. Sexuality has
been reduced to a matter of personal preference and personal pleasure without
responsibility and with little respect for others. We can lose sight of the
profound dignity of the human person who shares in God’s love and creative work
through the chaste expression of one’s sexuality proper to one’s calling in
We are surrounded by a “contraceptive culture” that has reduced the
procreative act to simple recreation absolved of any responsibility.
The deceptive language of “pro-choice” ignores the consequences of the
choice for abortion that does violence to the most innocent and leaves traumatic
scars on many young women.
What is a particular concern and alarm for us in California as well as
others across the country is the bold judicial challenge to the longstanding
cultural and moral understanding of marriage as a sacred covenant between a
woman and a man. Our own efforts to restore common sense through the ballot
initiative, Proposition 8, are portrayed as bigoted and out-of-touch. The irony
is that what we propose is most in touch with the nature of families and what is
good for the welfare of all.
That we find ourselves at this time, reasserting the basic moral and
reasonable understanding of marriage, means that much has changed in the popular
perceptions of sexuality and common notions about marriage. While we work to
pass Proposition 8 this coming November, it is important to remember why we do
this. Like Jesus, in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew that I cited, we are
saying a strong “no” to the California courts and to many who support the
court’s wrong-headed decision. This “no” is not rooted in bigotry or bias. It is
firmly rooted in a greater “yes” to a truer, more authentic appreciation of
love’s calling and love’s design for the human heart.
The nature of love has been distorted. Many popular notions have deviated
from its true destiny. Love for many has come to mean having sex. If you cannot
have sex than you cannot love. This is the message. Even more destructive is the
prevailing notion that sex is not an expression of love. Sex is love. This
reductio ad absurdam deprives sexuality of its true meaning and robs the human
person of the possibility of ever knowing real love.
Sexual intercourse is a beautiful expression of love, but this is so when
intercourse is understood as a unique expression intended to share in the
creative, faithful love of God."
You can read the entirety of Bishop Soto's address here.
And for a follow-up report on the reactions to Bishop Soto's address at the September 18 conference you can go here.