On July 3, 2012, CalCatholic reported that Maria Eitz, a member of the liturgy committee at San Francisco’s St. John of God parish, had been ordained a deacon into the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. A follow-up article on May 13, 2013 “Women’s ordinations identify rotten parishes” further explored the issue of women being allowed to serve in important parish ministries while in process of excommunicating themselves from the Catholic Church.

It is difficult to believe that other parishioners of St. John of God, let alone her fellow members of the liturgy committee were unaware of or opposed to Eitz’s affiliations. In 2013, the Vatican sent out a survey to bishops and pastors asking them to sample the opinions of parishioners on issues pertaining to marriage and the family, in preparation for the Synod on the Family, now being held in Rome.  The publication, on the St. John of God website, of the parish’s response to the Vatican’s ‘survey’ on the family proves that Eitz was indeed no outlier at St. John’s—and proves that the appellation “rotten parishes” was no misnomer, at least if the parish is ostensibly Catholic.

St. John of God’s response to the first question of the survey is representative, both in content and tone. The Vatican’s question is in italic, the response in plain text:

a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?

“Humanae Vitae, as it relates to birth control, is a seriously flawed document, ignoring the sense of the faithful. It should be withdrawn and re-written to reflect the significant majority of the committee that studied this matter as part of Vatican II.

“Further, there is a need to re-examine what is meant by ‘family’. The words ‘Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation’ are accepted. The Church will marry a 60-year old man and woman. The emphasis should be on mutual love and support — which applies equally to gay unions, which have proved as committed and enduring as heterosexual ones. In addition, there is a significant number of gay adoptions of children and the statistics indicate results equal to those of heterosexual adoptions. If we have rejected ancient Hebrew views regarding polygamy, slavery and stoning for adultery and heresy, isn’t it also time to reject ancient views concerning homosexuality?

“Also, the words ‘Women must be affirmed as participants in cultural life, and they ought not to be denied the right to cultural benefits equal to those of men’ are hollow until such time as women have full equality for all church positions and an equal say in the distribution of power. ‘Separate’ is not ‘equal’. To cite “tradition” as an excuse ignores the role of Mary Magdalene and other specifically named women in the New Testament. If tradition were all that important, then why is a tradition established directly by Jesus — namely, choosing a married person as Pope — disregarded?”

St. John of God’s full reponse to the survey may be found by clicking here.