Bad Habits

How Did San Francisco’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence End Up on the Papal List of Heretics?

Even though the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence‘s mission is “to promulgate universal joy and to expiate stigmatic guilt,” not everyone has taken to their provocative tactics to bring attention to worthy causes (like their AIDS activism).

After this year’s annual Hunky Jesus contest, which is hosted by the Sisters every Easter at Dolores Park in San Francisco, Andrew Sullivan typed away from his new home at The Daily Beast that the event was a “smug, cheap and unfunny shots at the faith of other people” in a blog post, “The Tired, Lame Bigotry of Some Homosexuals.” Not ones to swallow a wafer not dipped in red wine, the Sisters then took to the SFist to respond:

Honey, we’re not out to prove we have balls. The point of Hunky Jesus is to have fun and chip away at those hardened walls between sex and spirit so often reinforced by the bigotry of so-called Christians who deny the embodied, fleshy reality of Jesus the man who no doubt sported a woody or two in his lifetime here on earth and most definitely came with his own set of balls.

Rail against the supposed grief we cause believers and wrap yourself in self-righteous anger if it makes you feel good–it’s your shtick and in these tough times I know you need a paycheck.

This isn’t the first time the Sisters have ruffled some Catholic feathers. Take a look back at our nun-errific retrospective.

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  • Cam

    Well at least Andrew Sullivan has written about something else other than his constant clamoring to outlaw circumcision and his Sara Palin conspiracy theories.

    Good for you Andy! Next week write a cranky letter to the post office about the long lines, THAT’LL show em!

  • AxelDC

    Gee! No one ever makes fun of nuns. Just Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, and Sally Fields, to name a few.

  • St. Pope Liza the Great

    Andrew Sullivan proves yet again what a humorless skank he is, and what a good reason to avoid The Daily Beast. Bless you, sisters.

  • Pete n SFO

    Is the contest likely offensive to Catholics?

    Sure it is!!!

    Are the Catholics beyond comprehension in their bigotry & discrimination & their willingness to take their ‘faith’ into politics?

    Yep… they sure as hell are.

    You don’t get to have it both ways, Katholics. Your club is nothing more than bigotry masquerading as faith. Get on your knees and think about that for a while.

  • Jack Fertig

    Andrew was never the sharpest sponge in the drawer, but to be parroting talking points from notorious homophobes is stupid even for him.

  • Mark Kraft

    Well, you know… that good Catholic Andrew Sullivan doesn’t like people joking about his religion, and he frowns on those who advocate for safe sex, and, y’know… help educate people and save lives.

    It seems odd to see Sullivan, who is known for posting online personals, waxing poetically about his love of bareback sex with his “killer muscle ass that loves to milk loads” and his lack of concern about HIV — and, apparently, about infecting his partners — complaining about The Sisters, who, unlike Sullivan, have actually improved other people’s lives.

    Catholics have killed and discriminated against gays for centuries, including during the Inquisition… but they can’t handle being mocked on the Castro?!

    Well, given that a friend of mine committed suicide because he couldn’t go to his oh so Catholic parents for help after contracting HIV, and his parents did their level best to try keeping all of his real friends and his lover from attending his funeral, well… damn. So sorry to hear that they can’t take a joke on the Castro. But the last I heard, it wasn’t fatal.

  • Mark Kraft

    Andrew Sullivan is the Mr. Garrison of the LGBT community. Self-hating and straight outta South Park.

  • David Ehrenstein

    Who cares what Patient Less Than Zero thinks?

  • TomMc

    I remember the first time I laid eyes on the Sisters many years ago. At the time I found them weird. Now, I think they’re brilliant, and totally fabulous.

    If anything, it’s Bareback Andy who’s really weird: That sanctimonious, hypocritical asshat makes all gay people look bad.

  • ewe

    The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been doing great things for people for decades.

  • ewe

    @Jack Fertig: Jack Fertig: YOU ROCK.

  • Isaac

    So drag is worse than betraying Christ… LOL

  • Joe

    I loved the homophobe spewing angrily “The archbishop gave Jesus to sinners!!!” Um… dude… isn’t that what your whole theology is based on?

  • Robbie K

    Andrew who?? Really someone needs to double their Bran in the morning because his shit is piling up

  • Drake

    Andrew Sullivan has too many opinions about waaaaaay too many things.

  • Chris

    There are a billion Catholics in the world. We don’t get them to realize the errors of their bigotry and invite them to our way of thinking by making fun of them and slapping them in the face with something they hold dear. We’re better than that – we should not meet their bigotry with more of our own.

  • declanto

    @Chris: Better to meet them with hoots and laughter.

  • Sister Shelby Hellbound

    @Chris: The Sisters are not bigots – and I don’t think you’d meet very many Sisters who feel they are outright “mocking” Nuns. We ARE Nuns – we take vows just as they do and serve our communities, just as they do. We are Nuns for those who wouldn’t step into a church, but still need love and support. If anything is being mocked it’s religious intolerance. But what do I know, I just dedicate my life to this work! LOL!

  • Grevin

    I have to say Andrew has a serious talent for fitting an incredible amount of Uncle Tom B.S. into such a short post.

    Nothing like a supposed voice for the gay community telling the rest of us censor ourselves based-upon the reactions of those working tirelessly to take away our rights.

  • Jim in St Louis

    Soooo….. then its OK for me to burn the Koran?

  • Brian Miller

    @Jim in St Louis:

    Uh, yeah, that’s exactly the same.


  • Jim in St Louis

    Just trying to figure out what the rules are today Brian. You half wit Queerty folks seem to make it up as you go along.

  • David B.

    This is the problem in our country. Discrimination, intolerance and insensitivity are OK as long as my group is doing it, not receiving it. Being bigoted against people of faith is just as reprehensible as being bigoted against homosexuals, but like homophobes, religion-bashers have a million justifications for their bigotry. I hate to break it to you, but two wrong DO NOT make a right.

  • AxelDC

    @David B.: The Catholic Church has been one of the biggest hate groups in history. They slaughtered Muslims in the Crusades, Jews in the Inquisition, Protestants in the 30 years war and St. Bartholomew Day Massacre, and gays throughout history. Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty recognizing Mussolini and told Italians to obey him. Pius XII sat by and watched the Holocaust without condemning Hitler.

    Ratzinger, a former Nazi himself, has called gays “Nazis” and blamed gays for his priests raping boys. He called gay marriage “evil” and told Spanish civil servants to lose their jobs refusing to issue marriage licenses, because “No sacrifice is too great to stand up to evil.” Apparently, he didn’t consider joining Hitler’s Youth or the Wehrmacht as a gunner shooting Allied planes “evil” enough.

    I’m sorry if we offended your sensibilities, but Catholics have perpetuated so many atrocities in history that I have little respect for their leadership. Being religious is a choice, and it’s your choice to be offended when your church’s former victims rebel.

  • B

    Re “And this time the Sisters were just being good Catholics,” … shortly after that incident, I ran into one of those particular Sisters on the street, recognized the name tag from the newspaper article mentioning the name, and asked what really happened.

    Turns out that this particular Sister was a devote Catholic (and a Republican). It was the same day as the Castro Street Fair, and they were collecting donations for non-profits during the fair. There simply wasn’t enough time to go to church, head home, get dressed (including all that makeup), and get back in time. So they went to church dressed for work. They really went to the church to be “good Catholics.”

    Re No 26, “Ratzinger, a former Nazi himself…” Ratzinger, for all his faults, was a teenage boy during World War II, claims that all German boys were at the age of 14 were required to be members of the “Hitler Youth” in 1941, when he joined it upon reaching that age. He was apparently a reluctant member and missed all or most of the meetings. No one in his family was a member of the Nazi party (see which is actually a bit critical of Ratzinger). mentions that Ratzinger was a liberal who turned conservative as a reaction to 1968 student rebellions. Curiously, the town he lived in under the Nazis has been described by his biographer as “an over-populated lunatic asylum of hopeless inhabitants,” which conceivably could have had a traumatic effect on him – see the link above for details.

  • AxelDC

    Ratzinger also served in the Wehrmacht, where he shot at Allied planes attempting to liberate Ratzinger’s homeland from Nazi rule.

    I don’t deny that Ratzinger was coerced into joining, but lots of youth took more principled stances and paid with their lives. That’s why I cringe when he calls gays and others who disagree with him “Nazis”. He called upon Spanish Civil Servants to lose their jobs rather than process gay marriage certificates since, “no sacrifice is too great to stand up to evil”. Apparently, Hitler and the Wehrmacht were not significant enough evils for Ratzinger to stand up to, but gay marriage in Spain is.

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