On February 1, St. Rita’s Catholic parish in Fairfax, CA took out a large color ad in Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper of the archdiocese of San Francisco. The ad was promoting the parish’s Lenten lecture series. The series will consist of six lectures on the subject “Pacem in Terris.” The first, on February 12, will be given by retired Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.
According to his Wikipedia page, Bishop Gumbleton is a member of Call to Action. In 2006, Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, then prefect of the congregation of Bishops, wrote of Call to Action: “The judgment of the Holy See is that the activities of ‘Call to Action’ in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic faith….”
Bishop Gumbleton is also listed as a member of New Ways Ministry and the Triangle Foundation, now known as “Equality Michigan.” In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, writing on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: “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 2009, Bishop Alex Sample, then-ordinary of the diocese of Marquette, Michigan, prevented Bishop Gumbleton from speaking at a Lutheran Church in his diocese. “As the bishop of the diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility.”
The second lecture, on February 19, will be given by Lisa Fullam, associate professor of moral theology, Santa Clara University. Fullam is an advocate for same-sex marriage. As CalCatholic reported, following the November 2012 elections when same-sex “marriage” was legalized in three states, Fullam wrote in Commonweal magazine that same-sex “marriage” is actually in line with Catholic teaching.
“Magisterial teaching against same-sex CIVIL marriage hinges on the category of procreation, seemingly asserting that the institution only has social value because children might result. But our own teaching on marriage is richer than that–marriage has value that includes procreation (or not), but also reaches beyond that important but ultimately merely biological category to encompass all the richness of living in committed relationships. Perhaps this is a moment when Catholics voting for marriage equality are showing that they have indeed learned the lessons of Catholic teaching, both the social teaching of the equal dignity of all people and our own rich heritage on marriage.”
Father Robert Araujo, SJ, denied the fidelity of Fullam’s interpretation, and noted “For the most part at many institutions that claim the moniker ‘Catholic,’ students are being exposed to a shadow magisterium which is a corruption of rather than intellectual fidelity to Church teachings on the neuralgic issues of the day including marriage. While these young may be receiving a great deal of education, they are not receiving the wisdom of the Church….”
The pastor of St. Rita’s church is Father Kenneth Weare. The webpage of St. Rita’s Church list him as Father Kenneth Weare, PhD. His biography, published on the parish’s website is a listing of academic accomplishments and postings. The words “God” “Jesus” “church” “faith” or even “community” or “pastoral” do not appear. The biography closes with the sentence “Presently he serves as a theological advisor to various Catholic bishops in the United States and other countries.”