On April 25 and 26, the Catholic parishes of St. Thomas More in Oceanside and St. Francis of Assisi in Vista, both in the diocese of San Diego, will host an LGBT retreat: “Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God, a Catholic LGBTQ+ retreat and a Day of Ministry Discernment & Visioning.”
The leader of the retreat is JR Zerkowski. He is the “executive director” of Fortunate Families; a dissident pro-gay marriage ministry based in the diocese of Lexington, Kentucky.
St. Thomas More in Oceanside, California, is home to three LGBT ministries:
LGBTQ Persons Support Group
LGBTQ Support Group for Parents & Families
LGBTQ Transgender/Transition Issues Support Group
Regarding the apparent confirmation of a gay man (in his homosexuality) by Pope Francis, Zerkowski stated: “I believe what we are seeing is an evolution of doctrine…” In 2019, Zerkowski joined Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, a same-sex couple who were among the plaintiffs in the 2015 Supreme Court case which legalized gay marriage, in a discussion about the Catholic Church and gay marriage. Also, in 2019, a chapter of Fortunate Families was established at the home Catholic parish (Our Lady of Lourdes) of Bourke and DeLeon, who are active in the group. In an interview, when questioned about why they stay in the Catholic Church, DeLeon said: “We’ve been encouraged by peers to leave…a lot of people wonder why we stay, but you don’t change anything by leaving something. There’s no good reason to leave.”
In 2019, Zerkowski spoke at Jesuit James Martin’s home parish of St. Ignatius in New York City. According to Fortunate Families, Martin is an “honorary member” of their board Of directors.
According to Zerkowski, he has agreed to be a panelist at the “Outreach 2020: Catholic LGBT Ministry Gathering” at Fordham University that will feature Jeannine Gramick (whom James Martin would like to canonize), Bryan Massingale, and Lisa Fullam.
Fortunate Families is a gay-affirmative pro-same-sex marriage advocacy group founded in 2004 by the Catholic parents of a “gay” son, Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata. Inspired by the work of Robert Nugent and Jeannine Gramick (both were silenced by the Vatican in 1999) and their New Ways Ministry, the Lopatas decided to form an outreach specifically targeted to the Catholic parents of LGBT children.
The USCCB: “No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice.”
In 2003, the Lopatas published their book Fortunate Families: Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons. Here is an excerpt detailing their view of Scripture as it relates to homosexuality:
1. There are only six passages generally used to condemn homosexuality.
2. The primary concern of these passages is something other than homogenital activity.
3. There are translation issues suggested by the fact that 1946 was the first time the word “homosexual” appeared in an English translation.
4. The biblical writers had no concept of our modern psychological understanding of homosexual orientation.
5. The prophets, the gospels and Jesus say nothing about homosexuality in the bible.
In 2017, James Martin recommended Fortunate Families. A member of Fortunate Families introduced Martin before his address at the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress….
In 2017, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, who serves as an “ecclesial advisor” to Fortunate Families, spoke at New Way’s Ministry’s eighth national symposium held in Chicago.
A “theological advisor” to Fortunate Families is gay theologian Andy Buechel. Buechel (in his 2015 book, That We Might Become God: The Queerness of Creedal Christianity) described “the erotic and sexual charge of Jesus’ encounter with Thomas…” According to Buechel:
“Strictly, and anachronistically, speaking, this encounter is homosexual: it involves deep erotic intimacy between two people of the same sex….”
The above comes from a Feb. 1 story on the JosephScianbra.com website.