Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Come for Pride, Stay for Dignity"

The June 21 Most Holy Redeemer parish bulletin published an announcement promoting DignityUSA’s 2009 National Convention. The convention will be held in San Francisco from July 2 through July 5. Because one of their stated aims is to “reform (the Catholic Church’s) teachings and practices regarding human sexuality”, Dignity is not allowed to meet in any Catholic Church or Catholic church property within the Archdiocese of San Francisco. But, no surprise, Most Holy Redeemer and the University of San Francisco will be represented at the convention. We ask: why would a Catholic Church promote such an event? Let’s look at the convention’s webpage:

One of the two Keynote speakers will be radio and television commentator Richard Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez is a parishioner of Most Holy Redeemer. Immediately, on the convention’s “Keynote” webpage, Mr. Rodriguez attempts to confuse issues:
“The institutional Roman Catholic Church promulgates its teaching and guidelines for pastoral ministry to homosexual persons admonishing Thou Shalt Not Love Same Gender Persons.”
That’s a gross misstatement of Catholic doctrine, and Mr. Rodriguez knows it. I can’t count the number of same gender persons that I love. Or hug, for that matter,-- a “physical expression” of love.

But back to our question: why would a Catholic Church promote such an event?

On November 25, 2008 Salon online magazine interviewed Mr. Rodriguez on the subject "Why Churches Fear Gay Marriage.” In the interview Mr. Rodriguez described his church:

"I belong to a Catholic parish in San Francisco (Most Holy Redeemer), where my partner and I are acknowledged by the other people in the parish as a couple. We take communion together, the priests know who we are, they're supportive of who we are, and what we are, and they see us in various roles -- giving eulogies to dead friends but also helping to baptize little babies. We're very much a part of that community. That's why I'm not prepared to lose it because some archbishop in Colorado or cardinal in Los Angeles is behind Proposition 8. It is not my church that they're talking about, it's not even my experience of love."
In a July 21, 2006 interview with PBS host Bill Moyers, Mr. Rodriguez was equally clear:

“Well, the question is is my Catholic Church closer to Protestant Christianity, and I think it is.”

Why would a Catholic Church promote such an event? Convention “workshop” presenters include:

Rosemary Ananis: An “ordained bishop” of the American Catholic Church of New England. Lives with her partner of more than 20 years.

Bob Butts and Dick Young : Life partners since 1987. Young is a former National Board member of DignityUSA. Some years ago, Butts worked with DignityUSA’s then national president, Mark Matson, to establish the Ohio chapter of the “Defenders.” The “Defenders” are a group that "takes a stand for the sacredness of our leather sexuality and explores practical ways of integrating sexuality and spirituality." The Defenders have been frequent guests at MHR's parish hall.

Fr. Donal Godfrey, SJ, the executive director of Campus Ministry at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. ‘Nuff said.

Sr. Jeannine Gramick: Co-founded New Ways of Ministry, and a number of Dignity USA chapters. Two of her books were the subject of a Vatican investigation and were judged to be dangerous and erroneous. In a 1999 decree signed by Pope John Paul II, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prohibited her from pastoral work with lesbian and gay persons.

John McNeill: Jesuit priest expelled from the order in 1987 by the Vatican for publicly challenging the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality. Co-founder of the New York City chapter of Dignity.

Victoria Rue: A “Roman Catholic ‘woman priest‘” who was ordained in July 2005 by three women “bishops." Lives with her partner of twenty years.

Nicole Sotelo: Former member Dignity San Francisco Board of Directiors. Coordinator at Call to Action/USA. Ms. Sotelo made news earlier this month with a column “Don’t Tell the Pope” in the National Catholic Reporter, in which she basically denied the existence of the priesthood.


We asked: why would a Catholic Church promote such an event?

We answer: a Catholic Church wouldn’t. We answer: Most Holy Redeemer is no longer a Catholic Church. Back on August 28, 2007 we reviewed Fr. Donal Godfrey’s book “Gay and Grays: the Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish.” At that time we wrote:
“…the authentic community-forming experience at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco is not Catholicism, but homosexuality. Existentially, Most Holy Redeemer is not a Catholic parish. It is not a Christian parish. It is a gay parish.”
This can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. All one need do is to look at any occasion in which the teaching of the Catholic Church comes into conflict with the celebration of homosexuality. Having openly homosexual “married” persons serving on the altar as lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, or Acolytes at the Mass, is not seen as blasphemous, or even objectionable at MHR.

No, what is seen as blasphemous at MHR is anything that challenges the celebration of homosexuality. Our review of Fr. Godfrey’s book has some examples, which could be multiplied just about endlessly.

Or just look at the recent column by MHR Pastoral Council member Matt Dorsey attacking Archbishop Niederauer for his support of natural marriage and the family. Three times in that column, Mr Dorsey used the phrase “our community,” e.g. “We owe it to our community to Pink Brick Archbishop George Niederauer.” Not once does the phrase “our community” refer to the Catholic Church--he is always refering to same-sex attracted persons.

Why does our Archdiocese ignore this issue? I hope it is because they want to encourage same-sex attracted people to come into the Church, and they fear that asserting Church teaching on homosexuality would discourage them. But if that is indeed the approach, it must be termed a failure. After 25+ years we don’t have same-sex attracted persons coming into the Church, but rather an entire parish church that has come out as gay. But much worse than that, the victims are those scandalized same-sex attracted persons struggling to live a chaste life. A commentator to “A Shepherd’s Voice” has written:

"I was active in the gay community including co-habitating with "boyfriends" for almost a decade... The fatigue of watching friends die and one night stands, alcohol and recreational drugs... all the stereotypes - I did them.

One day I could not take it anymore and after hearing an MP3 of a sermon given by a pretty traditional priest, I found myself making a good confession for the first time in 8 or 9 years.

What frustrates me to no end is that in catering and cajoling these folks this opportunity this call to conversion may never come. It is also rather a slap in the face to those of us who seek to grow in chastity and holiness and have turned from this."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

1 comment:

Catechism on Call said...

Thank your Father for your extensive post on DignityUSA and Holy Redeemer. I have been blogging a lot on DignityUSA and Fr. Geoff Farrow who left the Church over Prop. 8, and will speak at the DignityUSA event. In the case of DignityUSA, they have made their sexual lives an idol. That don't have Jesus Christ and Holy Mother Church at the center any more, but their "sexuality." DignityUSA actually has a "Leather Ministry" which reveals how much they have tried to cloak their gay lifestyle with Christianity. The Church still has the term heresy defined in the Catechism, and I think we need to make people aware that heresy is still a "real condition." Thank you.