San Diego

Hate Crimes Force Gay Pastoral Associate From San Diego to Resign From Local Catholic Church

Making threats and throwing Molotov cocktails into the church are some attacks he says he endured

A gay pastoral associate at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church on Polk Avenue in San Diego is resigning his post after threats of violence got to be too much. 

Aaron Bianco had been with the church since 2016. He said the attacks happened almost immediately on him and his husband of 10 years. 

"It's heartbreaking to be resigning," said Bianco. "I've dedicated my life to the church." 

In October, the inside walls in an office of the church were vandalized with a  homophobic slur. Bianco said there have also been dozens of hateful emails sent to him in the last two years. 

"A year ago they slashed my tires," Bianco recalled. "One guy attacked me after mass." 

Bianco said the decision to resign his post came after his personal information was leaked on a conservative Catholic website. It included pictures of his family and his home address.  

"They put photos of my deceased mother as well," said Bianco. "I knew at that time my family and my safety were more important. I submitted my resignation." 

Since the news of the threats went public, Bianco's colleagues have come forward to voice support for him. 

San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy emphasized his support for Pastoral Associate Aaron Bianco, who resigned last weekend, and called the threats made towards the parishioner, "reprehensible."

St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church considers themselves welcoming and inclusive and has an LGBT outreach ministry program.

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