IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL UPDATE BELOW
I responded to a question about a Jewish congregation using a Catholic church in Austin, TX. One of the complications was that the Rabbi of the community was involved with Planned Parenthood and was a pro-abortion advocate. Last year, that community rearranged the church sanctuary in a way that was not in keeping with the nature of a Catholic church’s belief.
There are developments.
LifeSiteNews has a story that through some continuing conversations, it was determined that the Jewish community would not have the use of the church.
The Vicar General of the Diocese of Austin, Msgr. Mike Sis, Vicar General told LSN,
“Now that Bishop Vásquez is aware of the associations of this particular rabbi, he will be in dialogue with his advisers and with Father Larry Covington, pastor of St. Louis, to determine what course of action might be appropriate in future years. Since our Jewish brothers and sisters are presently in the midst of their high holy days, the parish will, for this year, honor its commitment to the community of Temple Beth Shalom and will allow them to use the facilities of St. Louis on Yom Kippur,” Sis concluded.
Read LSN about the dynamics of getting the story.
Also, LSN had photos of the change made to the sanctuary.
When the first such event took place at St. Louis Church last year, the Church was transformed into a non-Catholic worship space. The altar was decked with apparel for the Jewish ritual, the tabernacle was covered, Catholic statues were removed and the Stations of the Cross covered. Before and after photos obtained by LifeSiteNews from last year’s event demonstrate some of the transformation.
LifeSiteNews spoke with someone who attended the Jewish ceremony at the parish last week. The transformation was similar. The cross and statues were removed, the altar decked, and the tabernacle covered; however the Stations of the Cross remained visible.
Before and after:
There remains one last Jewish celebration at the parish which is to take place Friday September 17 and Saturday September 18.
It remains that the Rabbi of that community is deeply involved with Planned Parenthood. I assume that he will be preaching within the walls of that Catholic church.
UPDATE 18 Sept 02:44 GMT
This is on the website of the Diocese of Austin. My emphases.
Temple Beth Shalom to move Yom Kippur services
AUSTIN — The Diocese of Austin has directed that the services of Yom Kippur for the congregation of Temple Beth Shalom not take place as planned at St. Louis Catholic Church on September 17 and 18.
Bishop Joe Vásquez is aware of recent press and Internet reports that have questioned the appropriateness of the invitation having been extended to Temple Beth Shalom by Father Larry Covington, Pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church. In view of the fact that Rabbi Alan Freedman is a member of the board of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, and questions about the suitability of the use of a Catholic sanctuary by a non-Christian community, Father Covington has determined, in consultation with Bishop Vásquez, to withdraw the invitation.
After mutual consultation, Rabbi Freedman and Father Covington have also come to an amicable agreement that it is in the best interests of both communities that the services not be held at St. Louis Church. Rabbi Freedman and Father Covington are both committed to continuing dialogue and building friendship between the local Jewish community and the Catholic Diocese of Austin. Dialogue between the two communities can perhaps include discussions of important moral topics surrounding the sanctity of human life, especially the unborn. We hope that such a dialogue can also allow us to explore together a broad range of life issues.
Bishop Vásquez has invited Rabbi Freedman to join him in this dialogue soon after the conclusion of the Jewish high Holy Days.
The Catholic Diocese of Austin remains united in prayer with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and Bishop Vásquez extends to them his best wishes in this holy season.
WDTPRS applauds Fr. Covington for his effort to find a good solution in discussion with the Bishop and the Rabbi.