NEW YORK, December 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A New York parish is hosting openly gay English priest and pro-LGBT theologian Father James Alison on December 15. The Archdiocese of New York has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the event.
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, run by the Paulist fathers, advertised “an evening with James Alison” on its parish email newsletter.
The email described him as a “Catholic theologian, priest and author. His focus is to bring the work of René Girard to a wider public. In addition he is known for his firm but patient insistence on truthfulness in matters gay as an ordinary part of basic Christianity.”
Alison, a former Dominican, does not appear to be incardinated in a particular diocese at the moment; Wikipedia describes him as a “former priest.”
“I have made public a reasoned disagreement with the current third order teaching of the Roman Congregations concerning the ‘objectively disordered’ nature of the ‘homosexual inclination,'” Alison said in an interview he re-printed on his website. “The logical consequences of my view are many, but include the consequence for me personally that my religious vows (since dissolved by the appropriate authority at the conclusion of an amicable process) and my public commitment to celibacy are null. This is because, at the time of my ordination – whose validity a Roman Congregation has confirmed to me – I still believed the Church’s characterisation of who I am (a defective heterosexual with an automatic non-negotiable obligation to celibacy) to be true. Thus I made a public commitment while under what I later discovered to be a falsely bound conscience. Such a commitment would be null, in the same way as a forced marriage is null.”
Alison has criticized the Church’s “hateful language” on homosexuality and said that one of the catalysts for his conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism was falling in love with a straight Catholic peer. He has given numerous interviews and written widely about his homosexuality-related work and disagreement with the Catholic Church’s teaching on it.
In a lengthy pro-gay talk at the University of San Francisco, Alison mentioned his devotion to St. Padre Pio and the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the same talk, after asking people to silence their cell phones, he smirked, “Please turn ’em on to vibrate. If I see lots of happy faces, I’ll know you’re all being contacted.” He and the audience laughed.
After the 2015 Synod on the Family, Alison praised some portions of the bishops’ meeting in a piece for The Tablet titled Love in a changing climate. “LGBT Catholics like myself will be keen to see what paths of engaging truthfulness are opened up by the promised post-synodal exhortation and, even more, by the practical steps taken by the new dicastery, and by dioceses around the world, to enable synodal conversations to continue,” he wrote.
St. Paul the Apostle has a history of pro-LGBT activism. In September, it hosted a speaker from the homosexual lobby group the Human Rights Campaign. The parish also promoted a pro-homosexual “Pilgrimage of Mercy” that culminated in Mass at the church, and the pastor told LifeSiteNews he did not plan to deny any of the pro-LGBT event participants Holy Communion.
The parish recently hosted what its email newsletter described as “Brothers and Sisters: Islamic Art/Christian Space.” The art exhibit, called Openings, was “the first exhibition ever of contemporary Islamic art in a Catholic place of worship,” according to the St. Paul’s newsletter.
“Dr. James Alison is a priest and a theologian. He is offering a reflection on unity — how do we draw people together with respect after a difficult election. It’s not a talk on homosexuality or the church’s teachings,” Father Gilber Martinez, the pastor of St. Paul the Apostle, told LifeSiteNews via email.
“As this is a parish-level event, the Paulist Fathers have no comment,” Paul Snatchko, a spokesman for the Paulist order, told LifeSiteNews via email.
The Archdiocese of New York did not respond to LifeSiteNews’s multiple requests for comment.