The tears of a mother: The tragedy of pro-gay Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of LA

The tears of a mother: The tragedy of pro-gay Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of LA

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Altar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, Calif.

[Cal Catholic Daily version headline: How many pro-gay Catholic ministries are in LA?]

Joseph Sciambra

LOS ANGELES, California, July 12, 2016 (JosephSciambra) — The real-life experiences of a Catholic mother with a “gay” daughter:

When my oldest daughter was a teenager she had her first same sex relationship.

As a Catholic mother, finding out was very upsetting. Several years afterwards seeing an ad in the Assumption Blessed Virgin parish bulletin for a “Catholic ministry” “for parents of gay and lesbians” I had hope that I had found supportive safe place of likeminded Catholic parents.

The meeting was held in the parish meeting rooms of Holy Family parish in South Pasadena, led by a woman psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Taylor; there was no priest present. I was one of the only new parents that night. Quickly away I realized the way the other parents all agreed that the Catholic Church was “wrong” in their opinion. They openly outright condemned the Church as responsible for making their loved ones “feel bad,” “unwelcome” and called for their children’s relationships with their partners to be recognized as marriage – just like sacramental opposite sex marriages and for those in those relationships to be considered full Catholics able to receive all the sacraments. The message was loud and clear – If I really loved my daughter then I had to join with them in accepting and promoting homosexuality as “how” my child was made. And in advocating for lgbt issues and fighting against the discriminatory ideas the Catholic Church used to teach.

Missing from the meeting was any suggestion that our sons or daughters should not be having sexual relations outside of marriage. Or that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can never be encouraged/supported.

The facilitator passed out articles for me to take home; both were very contrary to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

I was so upset I couldn’t even think of what to say. After the meeting I sat in my car and full of anxiety began to cry.

In Los Angeles, the Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons (the official Archdiocesan outreach to the LGBT community) annually sponsors a special “Pride” Mass to coincide with the LA Pride festivities; they openly support such secular initiatives as the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, healthcare benefits for same-sex couples, and the presence of the Gay-Straight Alliance in Catholic schools; on the theological front, they have advocated for the removal of the term “intrinsically disordered” from the Church lexicon, the inclusion of “…positive language regarding LGBT Catholics, especially for same sex couples in long term relationships,” and celebrated an “indelible moment” at the 2016 LA Religious Education Congress when “…at the closing liturgy on Sunday…a gay couple and their son helped present gifts at the altar to Archbishop Jose Gomez;” they stated that this was a sign that: “Progress for LGBT Catholics is slow and happens in incremental pieces, and often includes setbacks.”

Another gay-affirmative ministry in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is headquartered at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Parish in Pasadena; the name of the “Gay & Lesbian Outreach” is “Always Our Children;” which is taken from the title of a controversial 1997 pastoral message from the USCCB. Besides a “Link” to the Archdiocesan “Gay” Ministry, the only other link listed on the group’s parish website page is to “Fortunate Families.”

Fortunate Families is a pro-gay “Catholic” apostolate for the parents of homosexual children; according to their Mission Statement, Fortunate Families: “serves as a resource and networking ministry with Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children.” Their website and Newsletter is primarily a collection of “stories” written by parents, usually expressing their great dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

Fortunate Families is a strong advocate for the legalization of same-sex marriage:

“Fortunate Families celebrates with our LGBT children the opportunity to share in the same rights as their straight siblings. The Supreme Court decision brings legal stability to our children’s lives and security to our grandchildren. We applaud this decision and continue our work in the Catholic tradition seeking social justice for all our children, and we look forward to the next hurdle, the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” said Deb Word, President of Fortunate Families.

In the February 2016 issue of the Fortunate Families Newsletter “Voices for Justice,” the parents of a “gay” man wrote about attending their son’s wedding: “Now I know that this was not just another wedding. Not just because everyone there truly wanted to be there fully embracing them. Not just because Douglas and Steve married. This wedding was different because I witnessed not just another wedding, but the sacrament of marriage.”

In the May 2015 issue of the same Newsletter the co-founders of Fortunate Families, Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata, published a “Letter” they wrote to Pope Francis, in which they detail their support for same-sex marriage and their experiences related to an ongoing 20-year friendship with a “married” “gay” male couple; the Lopatas are the godparents for the couple’s two adopted children. They describe the two men and their children as “a model Catholic family.” According to the “Letter,” the “married” “gay” couple is very active in their Catholic parish:

“They are very active in parish life: one or the other (or both) has served as president of the parish council, chair of the liturgy committee and on the diocesan liturgical commission, religious education teacher, lector, Eucharistic minister, cantor and choir member.”

The Lopatas continued, with this message to Pope Francis:

“These two gay men have accepted their God-given sexual orientations and are striving to follow God’s will in their lives. Though our two godchildren are not being raised by their biological parents, their gay parents through their complementary (though not in the reproductive sense) and loving relationship have created a family every bit as authentic and holy—and life-giving—as that of any heterosexual relationship we know of including our own.”

In the same “Letter,” the Lopatas erroneously claim that: “Catholic teaching says sexual orientation is a ‘given,’ and a ‘deep-seated dimension of one’s personality’ whether heterosexual or homosexual [Always Our Children, USCCB, 1997];” This is an outright lie; “Always Our Children” was a “pastoral message” from the Bishops of the United States and had no power to interpret, let alone define, the origins of homosexuality for the Universal Church. Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz once boldly stated: “It is my view that this document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it.”

The same dissident movement at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Parish is also present at Holy Family Catholic Parish, also in Pasadena, which has its own “gay” Ministry: “The Holy Family LGBT Ministry.”

For example, in 2014, at Holy Family Catholic Parish, Catholic dissident Phyllis Zagano, the author of the book “Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future,” spoke on the topic “Women in Ministry in the Catholic Church” during which she argued for the ordination of women as deacons. On the issue of “gay” marriage, she wrote: “As far as civil rights is concerned, I’m on the gay side…” Zagano also repeatedly debated the “born gay” theory in her blog for the National Catholic Reporter and argued that: “…if down the road science undeniably proves homosexuality is a status rooted in genetics — or at least is gestational biology — the church will be faced with a game changer.”

In 2016, on their Facebook site for the LA Religious Education Congress, Holy Family Parish highlighted certain progressive speakers with Karla Stephens, Member of the Education/Formation Commission, recommending an address to be given by Arthur Fitzmaurice, Resource Director of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry. He formerly served as Chair for the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons. The previous year, Fitzmaurice spoke at the Congress and had this to say about the Church’s stance on homosexuality:

“The paragraph on homosexuality, which describes it as ‘intrinsically disordered’ while also demanding respect for gays and lesbians, is placed in a section of the catechism paragraphs condemning ‘pornography, prostitution, and rape.’ To keep this abusive language in the Catechism and other Church writings is, in itself, gravely evil.”

In a 2013 video interview for The IN [Ignatian News] Network, made in cooperation with St. Monica’s Catholic Gay and Lesbian Outreach in Santa Monica, Arthur Fitzmaurice said:

“I tried to be directed towards God…How do I be the person that God made me to be; and then it gets converted into a realization that God made me to be this gay person.”

One of the stated Purposes of The Holy Family Parish’s “LGBT Ministry:”

“Dr. Taylor, facilitator, attends parish counsel meetings at other parishes to encourage them to begin formulating their own gay and lesbian ministries.”

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