St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in San Diego welcomed out gay employee Aaron Bianco, who was leading an LGBTQ ministry there as a pastoral associate. Even the diocese’s bishop, Robert McElroy, supported his work. But right-wing Catholic websites, including Church Militant and LifeSiteNews, mounted campaigns against him leading to constant harassment including death threats against him, slashed tires, and hundreds of harassing calls and emails.
The National Catholic Reporter wrote, “The harassment increased ‘to another level’ overnight Oct. 14-15,” according to Bianco, “when assailants ‘broke into the office/ rectory’” of the church “‘and spray-painted ‘no fags’ on the conference room wall. The ‘final straw,’ he said, was an Oct. 17 Internet posting of ‘pictures of my family, including a photo of my deceased mother’ and revealing ‘where I live.’” —tactics that organized crime and drug lords use to get their way with people.
Bianco got a standing ovation from the parish as he bade them farewell — a departure from Catholic institutions that have fired gay employees for getting married to same-sex partners or simply coming out.