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thesisters.orgEaster Sunday  San Francisco 1999 Related Events

"This group has been notorious in its mockery, ridicule and denegration of the church,'' archdiocese spokesman Maurice Healy said Wednesday. "While we are offended by what they do, we're simply asking 'Please don't do it on Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian year."

The sisters say they're not backing down. The party -- with its picnic baskets, performances and bonnet contest -- will go on, Sister Ann R. Key said Wednesday. ``Not everyone doesSisters Risque & Penny Coastal exactly what the Catholic Church does or says to do on Easter Sunday,'' she said. ``And it's fine by us if other people want to celebrate Easter that day.''

The archdiocese, in an editorial dated March 26, 1999 in the newspaper Catholic San Francisco, is calling for "calm and clear thinking.'' "We should resist the tendency to condemn those who disagree with us and avoid the temptation to demonize one another, " the editorial says, reiterating the archdiocese's hope that the sisters will choose another day. "Indeed, the current issue should not be allowed to become a test of wills between the Catholic and gay communities.''

The group has about 30 who paint their faces and take aliases such as Sister Hellen Wheels, Sister Penny Costal, Sister Missionary Position, Dana Vaniquity and Reyna Terror. They are known for headline-grabbing antics such as an "exorcism'' of the pope during his 1987 visit and the Condom Savior Mass, which celebrates "the Latex Host.''

Mayor comes out against drag nuns Easter Party
03/24/1999 - 
Mayor Willie Brown and the Black and Latin elected officials backtracked, asking fellow supervisors to reconsider. '

Supervisor Alicia Becerril proposed another date: April 11. But it turns out that's when the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Easter

Supervisor Amos Brown, a Baptist minister, said he had been under the impression that the sisters performed only charitable work, and later learned that "poking fun at the rituals of the Christian church'' is the group's "standard order.'' "That particular day is extraordinarily symbolic to Catholics,'' Brown said. "I would hope that the sisters could select some other day on which to do their thing."

But Board of Supervisor President Tom Ammiano said changing the date would be "an empty gesture to appease inappropriate pressure on the democratic process. I'm very concerned about the very cherished value of separation of church and state.''

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Letters to the Editor

03/23/1999 - San Francisco Examiner
"We of the gay community should never allow ourselves to fall victim to the practice of ignoring the sensitivities and sincere values of others. The concept of "do unto others" is very important to the success of our community over the past decade in relationships with others who previously shunned our company. "
Kevin Wadsworth Johnson Concord

03/24/1999 - San Francisco Chronicle


"To compare the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to neo- Nazis, as the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese has done, or to the KKK or men parading in black face, as other San Francisco residents have done, not only trivializes the horrific actions of hate groups, but is offensive to all Jews and African Americans."
Assistant Director
Associate Director Anti-Defamation League San Francisco


"Kent Carthey misstates my comment. The accurate comparison is this: The offensiveness to Catholics of the Supervisors' approving a street closure to the abusive and anti- church Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Easter Sunday is comparable to the offensiveness that would be felt by any religious, racial or ethnic group were the Supervisors to grant a street closure to abusive groups anathema to them on an equally significant day.

Moreover, the issue is not one of free speech. People are simply asking that the event not take place on Easter Day, the holiest day of the Christian year. If the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence do not want to offend, they would voluntarily change the date. There is no evidence the group was founded on April 4. "
Director of Communications Archdiocese of San Francisco

03/23/1999 - San Francisco Chronicle

Though the Sisters are critical of hypocritical and oppressive religious structures of every sort, they also embody the best values of the religion that Jesus embodied. They help feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the poor and homeless. Easter is a great day to celebrate resurrection and hope which the Sisters help bring.
Rev. JIM MITULSKI Metropolitan Community Church San Francisco

03/22/1999 - San Francisco Chronicle

As a former SPI who has kicked the habit, I can also be very critical. I think they have lost the wit and spiritual focus that the "order" once had, but that may just be an elder grumping about "kids today.'' The fact is, the kids do raise a fair amount for local charities.

baytime.JPG (257499 bytes)I cannot speak for the Sisters of today, but back in my wimpled youth, we never sought to offend Catholics. (Many of us were Catholics or later converted to Catholicism.) Of course we knew we would offend some Catholics while amusing others. Well, the church often offends Queer people -- including many of its own flock -- and other folks as well. Being occasionally offended is the price we pay for freedom of speech.

Archdiocesan spokesman Maurice Healy's comparison of the Sisters to neo-Nazis is especially self-defeating. Any historian knows that the Nazis rose from a Catholic political base in Bavaria and put homosexuals into concentration camps. His attempt to silence the Sisters is more like the Nazis' suppression of different views than anything that the Sisters have ever done.

The Sisters are only guilty of bad taste, but as Diana Vreeland remarked, a little bad taste now and then is necessary. Much worse is no taste at all.
JACK FERTIG San Francisco

Christians gather in Holy Land awaiting 2000
03/21/1999 - San Francisco Examiner
Authentic Victorian Easter Display  in Hayward
03/24/1999 - San Francisco Chronicle
What's Your Opinion: Did you know that Carnival got its name from the Catholic Church and Easter got its name from a Spring Pagan Goddess and their moving annual dates relate to each other. Send a postcard