Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell Wholeheartedly Endorses Highly Problematic, Scripture Denying “Always Our Children” for “Gay” Ministry
It has been reported to me via disparate sources that at the most recent convocation of priests for the Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Kevin Farrell gave strong support to the ministry “Always Our Children,” and encouraged its spread throughout the Diocese. “Always Our Children” is a group which purports to be a support entity for the families of individuals who act out in profound ways on their same sex attraction. Always our Children is a renaming of the group’s previous title, “Outstretched Hands,” and according to some has links to the heterodox New Ways Ministry and Dignity “gay” lobby front groups.
Before I get into the details, I’ll simply state I’m not talking about intent. The intent behind this may be pure as the driven snow, but the effect I fear will be quite the opposite. In fact, the evidence already demonstrates that is already the case.
Some history: 6 years ago, I became aware of what was then called Outstretched Hands at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Plano. I wrote several blog posts on this subject, the two most principal of which are here and here. As I stated, the problems with “Outstretched Hands/Always Our Children” are manifold, including:
Undermining or attempting to refute the plain condemnations of both the inclination towards, and especially the commission of, sexual acts committed between people of the same sex as outlined repeatedly in Sacred Scripture. In doing so, they adopt the language and diabolically erroneous interpretations of Scripture emanating from false, pro-gay sects like the Metropolitan “church.”
Basing much of their outlook, and even their name, on an erroneous document produced by a sub-committee of the USCCB in 1997 and never approved by the full body of bishops: “Always Our Children.” This document was so full of error and false moral equivalence, the CDF under then Cardinal Ratzinger demanded it being rewritten and recast under a new title, which document was approved by the USCCB in full in 2006. The “Always Our Children” website makes no mention of this later, much more faithful document, which condemned the acts of Sodom and Gomorrah in much clearer terms, nor the fact that since the “Always Our Children” document was never approved by the full body of US bishops, it has essentially zero doctrinal or moral authority. The bias of the Always Our Children website is readily apparent from the short list of documents they use for reference, all of which were problematic to one degree or another and all of which are distinguished by their unusual degree of acceptance/support for the arguments of the “gay” lobby.
Referencing the problematic 1990/94 version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which erred towards softness on the subject of sodomy and its associated sins. One has to dig far down to find any mention of the revisions made to the 1997 Catechism on the same subject, correcting what many felt was a far too tolerant approach to these sins which cry out to Heaven for vengeance. The 1997 version of the Catechism is the only “authoritative” version at present, having superseded the earlier versions.
Routinely serving as an advocacy group for the LGBT agenda
Violently attacking anyone who shows up at an “Always Our Children” group meeting who speaks of chastity, self-denial, living in accord with the Doctrine of the Faith, etc. I have received numerous reports to this effect, and can attest to this truth by personal experience. In fact, those who present a faithful Catholic perspective at local Always Our Children meetings are routinely told to leave
A bit more history: when I first reported on this matter in 2010, there was a bit of a flap and a number of complaints sent to the Diocese. Bishop Farrell’s response was not to investigate the problems with the offending group with an eye towards removing them from local parishes, not to counteract their potentially (likely?) harmful influence by supporting the only Vatican-approved outreach ministry for same sex attracted individuals and their families, Courage/Encourage, but to order the deletion of the offending (contrary to doctrine) materials on the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton website! In other words, a cover up of sorts. And yet now those same materials have returned!
But that’s not even the half of it. I can also report to you that this isn’t the case of a bad memory. Numerous attempts have been made in recent weeks/months by well meaning souls to explain to the Diocese/Bishop Farrell the continuing problems with Always Our Children. There have also been a number of attempts to garner support for the far more faithful and morally satisfactory Courage group. Those efforts have met with the usual stonewalling and delay tactics.
It is also reported that most diocesan priests are strongly hostile towards Courage, to the extent that for nearly 3 years, from the departure of former auxiliary Bishop Seitz until very recently, the local Courage ministry could find no priest to serve as spiritual advisor/mentor in either the Dallas or Fort Worth dioceses (that sad situation has now, to my knowledge, been rectified). I’m sure you can imagine why so many priests might be hostile towards a faithful Catholic ministry that teaches chastity, the denial of sinful urges, and living in accord with the Doctrine of the Faith.
The truly devastating part is that Bishop Farrell’s support has now caused Always Our Children to spread throughout the Diocese. From being based at only St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 2010, it is now in four parishes in the north deanery alone: Seton, St. Mark, St. Francis of Assisi (Frisco), and Prince of Peace. Three of the four are of course in Plano.
It does seem that some “Always Our Children” groups are better than others, but the information I have garnered informs me that the groups in the Diocese of Dallas are quite strongly on the liberal/unquestioning acceptance side of this matter. Again, I have some experience of this myself, though it is several years old, but I have recent testimony of folks who tried to represent an orthodox Catholic viewpoint in the local Always Our Children groups who met with a distinctly hostile reaction. This is not surprising to me, given the long time and overwhelmingly left-liberal influence of the lay ministers who oversee the operation of AOC at the local parishes in question. The family and adult ministries at three of the four parishes above have long been dominated by women who hold quite heterodox views regarding the Doctrine of the Faith, and whose advice in practical situation is highly questionable.
But at root, what is most upsetting to me, and others, is Bishop Farrell’s choice to so strongly endorse Always Our Children, when an alternative of much more robust orthodoxy, and a far more successful pastoral approach, exists in Courage/Encourage (Courage being the ministry for those with SSA, Encoruage for the families/loved ones of those with SSA). There are priests in the Diocese of Dallas who would like to see Courage get more support, but they are unfortunately in the distinct minority. As I mentioned above, many priests, quite possibly the majority, are reported to be quite hostile towards Courage and its approach. I would not be surprised in the least if this hostility did not influence Bishop Farrell’s decision. Again, I do not think ignorance can be cited as a defense, as I know problems with the current “gay outreach ministries” and the alternative of Courage have been presented to the chancery for years.
I’m not terribly surprised at all this, though I do find it disappointing. While the Bishop Farrell may be acting with the best of intentions, given the history and the criticism I know these groups have received, it’s pretty upsetting that he decided to go this route.