|Bishop Michael Barber, S.J.|
"The bishop hasn't responded to any inquiries or letters or phone calls," said Matt Werner, a longtime East Bay resident and Newman Hall parishioner since 1998. He wrote to Bishop Michael Barber, S.J. last month, requesting that he reconsider the dismissals. "He's been completely silent on the topic." Without any explanation from the diocese, Werner and others are left wondering whether the progressive ways of Newman Hall, which serves East Bay residents, including the UC Berkeley community, may be a contributing factor. "All are welcome here," Werner explained. "Gays, lesbians, people who may not find a home at other Catholic churches. We want to make it a home for everyone." For this reason, some are questioning whether Barber might be uncomfortable with Edens' admission that he is gay, Werner said. But at this point, he said, "We're in the dark. There are a lot of different theories and rumors and one of them is that [it is because] Father Bill Edens is an openly gay priest ... and the new bishop is arguably very conservative."
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