The following comes from the San Diego LGBT Weekly:
San Diego Catholic Diocese Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan and Father Lucio Castillo are about to celebrate a historic Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church on the 20th anniversary of a pastoral document offered in 1997 as an “outstretched hand” from the nation’s bishops to “families of the LGBT community.”
“For us as a Catholic Church, [Aux. Bishop Dolan] is a representative of the local head [of the church] and the idea – that symbolism – that the church as an institution is with the people, with all people; that’s the message: that we want to be with all people,” said Laura Spencer-Martin, director of the Diocese’s Office for Family Life and Spirituality.
“As a diocese we want to be with people, with everyone; especially when people have been hurt,” Spencer-Martin continued. “I think he wants to send a message of love, compassion, listening and being with all the people.”
Asked if now, in San Diego, Aux. Bishop Dolan was taking a risk by celebrating a Mass aimed squarely at LGBTQ families and perhaps less directly at LGBTQ individuals, Laura Spencer-Martin was circumspect.
“Is he taking a risk? I don’t know. But I feel inspired by his decision to do this and privileged to be with these families and help with some kind of reconciliation in my own ministries,” Spencer-Martin told San Diego LGBT Weekly. “I know people have been hurt and their relationships with God have been hurt by misunderstandings in the Church.”
“This is a truly historic Mass,” said City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, a longtime national LGBTQ-rights activist based in San Diego and honorary mayor of Hillcrest.
“When you remember that this is the same diocese that 12 years ago refused to give a funeral to John McCusker and just five or six years ago did the same thing again to SRO’s owner, John Sanfilippo, but now this bishop is welcoming LGBTs and our families to celebrate Mass,” Ramirez continued. “There are still people in the church who don’t want us there. I think it’s courageous.”
In 2005, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, John McCusker, owner of now shuttered, but then wildly popular gay dance bar, Club Montage, was pointedly denied a funeral at The Immaculata Church located on the campus of the University of San Diego, a prestigious, private Catholic university.
The 2005 decision to deny McCusker a Catholic funeral ceremony and last rites because of the nature of his “business practices” as a gay bar owner had come straight from the top, from none other than then-Bishop Robert Brom.
However, (now Emeritus) Bishop Brom soon reversed his decision and ultimately presided over McCusker’s ceremony after a group of protestors including LGBTQ Catholics, among them Nicole Murray Ramirez, held a vigil outside the church. Years later, in 2011, when SRO Lounge owner John Sanfilippo died and a Catholic church in Little Italy did likewise, at first denying Sanfilippo a funeral, the situation was similarly corrected, according to the Union-Tribune. The diocese blamed the latter affair on a visiting priest who didn’t know local custom.
But even as the San Diego Catholic Diocese’s Office of Family Life and Spirituality hosts the upcoming Mass marking the 20th anniversary since the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released its pastoral document titled, Always our Children: A Pastoral Message To Parents Of Homosexual Children And Suggestions For Pastoral Ministers, a level of perceptible ambiguity and perhaps even remoteness insulates the diocese from being seen as going too far astray from current Catholic orthodoxy.
As was the case with the 20-year-old document itself, groundbreaking and moving as it is, at a certain level the language of marketing material for the Oct. 7 Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hillcrest keeps queer people at arm’s length.
The Mass’ still warmly written invitation reads, “Join us for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of ‘Always Our Children’ Mass for families of [emphasis added] the LGBT community” – arguably playing it safer in the eyes of church hierarchy than might have been printing verbiage that directly addresses the LGBT community and our families (versus “families of the LGBT community).
Arguable ambiguity of printed material notwithstanding, the director of the Diocese’s Office of Family Life and Spirituality Laura Spencer-Martin was decidedly unambiguous during our interview, passionately and directly urging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and people from all communities to join the celebration of Mass next month with Aux. Bishop Dolan and Fr. Castillo at St. John’s Church.
“We want to be with all people,” she said.
Nicole Murray Ramirez sees no problem with the invitation, no ambiguity in the Mass and least of all no timidity nor ambiguity on the part of Bishop Dolan.
“He is sticking his neck out for our community by celebrating this Mass,” Ramirez said.
When it comes to Christianity’s oldest and longest-enduring institution, the Catholic Church, change comes very slowly, according to theologians and religion experts.
“The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact,” Archbishop Victor Fernández told an Italian newspaper in 2015.
“The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes. He knows there are those hoping that the next pope will turn everything back around. If you go slowly it’s more difficult to turn things back,” Archbishop Fernández, a close confidant of Pope Francis, continued during his interview with Corriere della Seratwo years ago.
“Yes, that’s true,” said Aaron Bianco, pastoral associate and coordinator of LGBT ministry at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hillcrest. “But when the church does evolve – and I know it happens at a frustratingly slow pace – however, it doesn’t go backward.”
But change does come to the Catholic Church, both on the world stage and here in San Diego. Aaron Bianco was quoted in the Wall Street Journal in 2015 about his having been told by the bishop who replaced Emeritus Bishop Brom, the man who once denied a local gay bar owner the last rites, not to worry about losing his job with the church for being openly gay.
From the Wall Street Journal:
But the new bishop assured Mr. Bianco that he wouldn’t lose his job because he is gay. Bishop [Robert] McElroy “let me know that [being gay] should not hinder me from participating fully in the life of the church,” said Mr. Bianco, who has since taken another position outside the church.
The Church is in schism.
Schism is neither Catholic nor a Catholic concept. Schism is the language of the Evil One.
Building up the Church and rebuilding the Church, on the other hand, is Catholic and what we’re called to do as Christians (e.g. St. Francis of Assisi).
It is not that people don’t want them in Church; it is that we don’t want the sin celebrated and approved in out churches. Did Bishop Brom actually deny the man the Last Rites, or did he deny him a Christian burial because he showed no signs of repentance for serious sin. There is a big difference. A priest cannot absolve our serious sins if we are not sorry and willing to amend our lives.
Anne, it’s my understanding that Catholic tradition is that we don’t know but accept the possibility that the deceased may have repented any sins at the hour of their death. Sort of like the line form the opening of the Magnificent Seven: I never knew you had to be anything but a corpse to get up on Boot Hill.”
I do not know canon law on this one. It is certainly right to pray for people, but funerals where people who have lived bad lives according to church teaching are “canonized” have got to go as far as I am concerned. Bring back the requiem, in Latin or the vernacular, but bring it back, so there is no need for “barf bags” at funerals.
Can. 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.
§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.
Can. 1185 Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals.
Thank you Anonymous.
It is okay for people to tell at a short eulogy the good things the deceased did, but when they are praised for the bad things, it is very wrong. I have been to two such funerals, and they were very uncomfortable. I no longer go if I think that will be the case. I pray, send a card and let it go.
By the way, C&H, both those funerals were for heterosexuals, so I am not picking on people with homosexual tendencies. There is a Catholic prayer, that I cannot find now, where we ask God’s forgiveness for any sins we might have committed with a deceased person. The prayer also includes asking God’s forgiveness for the deceased for any sins that person committed with us. It is a prayer we all should say at times no matter the type of sin committed.
In my last post I of course meant while the deceased person was still alive. There is not enough words allowed sometimes in these posts to completely explain ones self at times.
The actual title of the never-Vatican-approved US bishops’ document was “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message”. The USCCB Committee on Marriage and Family crafted it excluding orthodox-thinking members. Now-disgraced former Phoenix bishop Thomas O’Brien was committee chairman—a man who always turned a blind eye to wrongdoing in his diocese.
The danger of looking back at all this now is that we unavoidably see that the formal acceptance of homosexual activity in the Catholic church was long planned by powerful internal and external secular forces… very similar to Vatican II.
To be more specific about the document “Always Our Children” – it was put together by a *sub-committee* of the USCCB. The bishops *did not* vote on this document for the approval of its publication and use for ministry. Thus it would not have been approved by the Vatican.
How it is brought out over and over for “pastoral ministry” for those who struggle with SS sins, without it ever being voted on for approval by the U.S. bishops, is beyond me.
God bless you,
Agreed. Brevity for 750 characters.
Another interesting note was now-disgraced Bp. Obrien, shortly after the pastoral letter was released in 1997, trying to subdue the conyrovecontroversy, in a Catholic Sun interview to have spoken with “someone”–unnamed of course—“from the Vatican”, whom he said had approved of “Always…”
However, he could produce no written documentation of a letter or note, in fact, from any Vatican authority when requested to do so.
Bp. Obrien was an interesting fellow.
Oremus pro invicem, Kev.
How do you love a sinner but not the sin? How does one accept their own sinful inclinations yet continue to seek God?
We have very weak priests these days – weak, and afraid to say, “come to Christ who is merciful and forgiving but turn away from your sins, and desire to know and do God’s Will. It is a lifelong struggle but it is what Christ asks of us.”
Where is the strong priest or bishop? Very few are left.
If this Mass doesn’t include a POWERFUL and CLEAR sermon on the beauty of surrender to God and His holy precepts ABOVE ALL, then this event should not be happening. Jesus gave HIS LIFE TO SET US FREE. We should be willing to do the same. To imply, teach, or otherwise attempt to change this truth, is heretical. NO SIN is worth losing a soul. NO sex or supposed desire in this life is greater than the promise of Eternal life. Those who are participating in this event who think to show “compassion” by accepting or promoting homosexual sin will be held accountable for the sins of all who are confused or led astray by lack of truth. The greatest compassion we can ever give to another is to lead them to conversion. Everything else is fleeting.
Amen! Elizabeth. You said it far better than I.
As their new shepherd, I pray that he will show the courage to call them to conversion and assure them that God’s grace can help them overcome behaviors contrary to chastity. In welcoming them to God’s family, that he not neglect this excerpt from the very document being commemorated: “First, it is God’s plan that sexual intercourse occur only within marriage between a man and a woman. Second, every act of intercourse must be open to the possible creation of human life. Homosexual intercourse cannot fulfill these two conditions. Therefore, the Church teaches that homogenital behavior is objectively immoral, while making the important distinction between this behavior and a homosexual orientation, which is not immoral in itself.”
Not to be too much of a stickler, but let’s get the history correct. Bishop Flores replaced Bishop Brom. However Bishop Flores died [within two years?]. Bishop McElroy replaced Bishop Flores. So the chronology goes Brom, then Flores, then McElroy.
This is beyond shameful, but then not unexpected in San Diego. Why pretend; the devil is happy there. Nope, no special Mass for LGBTQXYZ people, who should never, ever, be parents, under any circumstances.
The Catholic Church is about salvation of Mankind, not about forcing — through scandal — a level of recognition and acceptance of the unacceptable, the vileness of sodomy. Go ahead and love that Son of Perdition, Fr. Martin if you wish, but what they are doing in SD is beyond reprehensible. Still, the Vatican loves this stuff, so pray, and pray some more ( and withhold all your money to these liars and theives).
SADLY “All Our Children” so often Censors the Homosex Ephebophile Infiltration of the Priesthood targeting Adolescent Boys
Those who warned about and resisted this Evil have been thrown under the bus & trashed repeatedly, while its enablers praised and promoted as gaily happy on the Pander or Perish Parish SEE
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions. These were described as deprived of their essential and indispensable finality, as being “intrinsically…
The Iron Fist inside the Velvet Glove will see ever increasing numbers of people Imprisoned by the Pronoun Police for failure to pander to this agenda
Health workers today, the rest of the population soon, and no Religious Facility exemptions!
Will any of these ‘Leaders’ visit Thought Crime Perps in Jail, or would that interfere with the pander or perish agenda gaily pushed through Parishes?
California Legislature Passes Bill To Punish Elder-Care Workers Who Don’t Use Trans Pronouns
SB 219 – proposes to fine or jail employees of long-term or intermediate care facilities who repeatedly and willfully refuse to…
Bishop Blair of San Diego is a piece of work. The Church seems unmoved by all the sodomy of youngsters that has taken place. The Jesuit Pope and Amoris Letitia may seem a great protector now but these mortal sins will have to be given account of to the Heavenly Father. So you better be good, you better watch out…
Gratis, don’t you mean Bp. McElroy of San Diego? Bp. Stephen Blaire of unhappy memory is the eventually “past bishop” of Stockton, which is down to about 54 active priests and scarce seminarians.
But I could see how their mutual leftist irrational types could be confused.
I remember ‘Always our Children’ as a flawed document put out by a handful of bishops who insulted and hurt parents like myself, insinuating that we didn’t love our children if they had homosexual tendencies. It was a big hurtful slap in the face to families trying to help their children remain faithful to the Church and a betrayal by the leaders who are supposed to tell the whole Truth to the flock. Bringing attention once again to this document tells all i need to know about the priests who are doing this. May God forgive and help them, and the people they continue to hurt.
God bless you, Rose. “Stick a geranium in your hat and be happy.” If you do not know what I mean, It was a book written by an evangelical who wrote it after she found out her son was a practicing homosexual. She loved her son, but refused to condone homosexual acts because she knew it would destroy him.
Maybe I should not have mentioned this book as the author’s ideas were completely different later on, and I do not really know if her son was “practicing”. She passed away quite awhile back; may she rest in peace. Just keep loving and praying for your family member, Rose, without giving approval to anything that would harm your son or daughter or others. That is all one can do. Now I have said enough about this article.
“Always Our Children” was meant to help parents of gay and lesbian children going through the rough time described in the essay above. The essay is Christian but has a lot to offer Catholics.
It was not meant to hurt or to say that you did not love your child.
Maybe you misunderstood it. Maybe you wanted something else. Maybe your reaction was not considered and your needs not met in it.
God bless you and your family.
Bishop Bruskewitz denounces the controversial document, Always Our Children, which was published by the Committee on Marriage & the Family with very little input from the US Bishops, and seems to urge parents to accept their children’s homosexual behavior.
I pray they were instructed that if they were not in sanctifying grace they MUST NOT receive Holy Communion!!!!!!
McCusker wasn’t denied a Catholic burial for being gay or running a gay dance club (which Montage was not). The issue as I understood it at the time was with using his venue to film gay porn. But then Ramirez’ indignation would be more obviously silly.
Notre Dame High School, Belmont had their students study this document as part of Women in Relationships Studies. It was their justification for pushing the homosexual agenda. Very deceptive.
“Celebrate All Our Children” is a scandalous event. The Holy Mass is not a forum for ‘celebrating” those with personal sexual issues. Did Jesus “celebrate” the sins of the people? No, He told them they were sinning, held them to account, and told them to repent. Guess that’s too judgemental for the diocese of San Diego.