US archbishop appoints pro-gay priest as ‘spiritual guide’ for sex abuse victims

US archbishop appoints pro-gay priest as ‘spiritual guide’ for sex abuse victims

Lisa Bourne

ATLANTA, Georgia, August 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Atlanta’s Catholic archbishop has appointed a pro-gay priest who heads a gay-affirming parish to be diocesan spiritual director for victims of sexual abuse by clergy, LifeSiteNews has learned.

An Atlanta-area Catholic advised LifeSiteNews that Monsignor Henry Gracz, pastor for the pro-LGBT Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, is a “Spiritual Director for Victims” for the archdiocese.

“As a victim of abuse by church personnel you may experience a crisis of faith,” the Atlanta archdiocese’s website states. “Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has appointed a group of priests as spiritual guides to reach out to you as you may be experiencing confusion and hurt in your relationship with the Catholic Church.”

Gracz is one of three spiritual directors for victims of sexual abuse in the Atlanta archdiocese. There are spiritual directors appointed by the archdiocese for both victims of sexual abuse and those accused of abuse.

“In response to this pastoral need to bring ‘outreach’ to victims of sexual abuse,” the website continues, “the archbishop has appointed the following priests to assist alleged victims of sexual abuse,” listing Gracz and two other priests.

The layperson expressed distress to LifeSiteNews that the archdiocese would place someone that oversees a dissident homosexual-affirming parish in the role of spiritual director for victims of clerical sexual abuse when much of the abuse appears to be homosexually motivated.

The appointment takes on relevance in light of the recent revelation of the homosexual predation component of the allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The allegations have caused professor Janet Smith to call for the eradication of “homosexual networks” within Catholic dioceses to fight clerical sexual abuse.

“This is very concerning,” the Catholic said about Gracz’s appointment. “Isn’t this what we’re talking about with McCarrick?”

The Catholic, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said that the Shrine is well known as the “gay parish” of the archdiocese, and said that Msgr. Gracz “gives carte blanche to everything gay in Atlanta.”

LifeSiteNews inquired with the archdiocese about the prudence of appointing the pastor of a gay-affirming parish in the role of spiritual director for sexual abuse victims in light of the clergy sex abuse scandal, but did not hear back from the archdiocese.

The parish of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the first Catholic church built in Atlanta, maintains a “Pride Outreach,” including running a booth at Atlanta’s gay pride week.

“The Shrine has always welcomed all of God’s children. During PRIDE week each year, we celebrate God’s diversity by maintaining a booth in the park,” the parish website states.

It has sent a parish group to march in Atlanta’s Pride parade for years and it is registered to participate in the 2018 Pride parade as well.

The parish also offers GLBT potluck socials to promote “a connectedness within the Shrine GLBT community,” and GLBT couples potluck socials, which are “for GLBT couples who are in committed relationships for couple support by providing a venue for socializing with other GLBT couples,” according to the parish website.

A review on the Trip Advisor travel website rates the Shrine as “very Gay Friendly.”

In 2017, Fortunate and Faithful Families held their fifth annual retreat at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, writes former gay Catholic Joseph Sciambra. The theme of the retreat was “Building Bridges of Love,” a take on the title of the gay-affirming book by homosexual-affirming Jesuit Father James Martin.

The group is “an offshoot of the dissident Catholic pro-gay marriage LGBT ministry Fortunate Families,” Sciambra notes.

Several deacons and priests attended the Fortunate and Faithful Families retreat, and the music director from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception led music for a Mass in conjunction with the event.

“Many thanks to Archbishop Gregory and his phenomenal staff for their care and hospitality!” the group’s website states about the archdiocese’s involvement in hosting its retreat.

“It’s All About Love,” the website says as well. “Fortunate & Faithful Families is a ministry in the Atlanta Archdiocese that fosters mutual understanding, spiritual renewal, and inclusion of all gender and sexually diverse individuals and their families through dialogue, hospitality, education, and support.”

Word of the Atlanta archdiocese’s spiritual advisor appointment comes amid increasing frustration and anger among Catholic laity over what they regard as a deficient response to the crisis from bishops while extensive accounts of clergy abuse in the Church over decades and related systemic cover-up continuing to surface since the McCarrick allegations were released on late June.

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One comment on “US archbishop appoints pro-gay priest as ‘spiritual guide’ for sex abuse victims

  1. Laity petition Atlanta archbishop to remove pro-gay priests from public ministry

    Lisa Bourne

    ATLANTA, Georgia, August 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics are petitioning Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory to remove pro-homosexual priests from public ministry within his archdiocese after news broke last week of the archbishop’s appointment of an LGBT-affirming priest in the role of official diocesan spiritual director for victims of clerical sex abuse.

    “Demand Archbishop Wilton Gregory stop supporting evil in the Archdiocese of Atlanta,” the headline of a Change.org petition states.

    “Demand Archbishop Wilton Gregory remove actively gay priests from public ministry, stop supporting parishes who openly endorse LBGT lifestyles, activities and behaviors that are contrary to Church teaching,” the petition reads, “and stop “looking the other way” from evil in our Archdiocese!”

    The petition, created by Kate Sell of Suwanee, GA, is directed to Archbishop Gregory and the archdiocese.

    LifeSiteNews reported last week on Archbishop Gregory naming Monsignor Henry Gracz, pastor of the pro-LGBT Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, as a “Spiritual Director for Victims” for the archdiocese.

    The Archdiocese of Atlanta website tells abuse victims that, “Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has appointed a group of priests as spiritual guides to reach out to you as you may be experiencing confusion and hurt in your relationship with the Catholic Church.”

    Gracz is one of three archdiocesan spiritual directors for victims of sexual abuse in the Atlanta archdiocese. There are spiritual directors appointed by the archdiocese for both victims of sexual abuse and those accused of abuse.

    The Atlanta archdiocese did not respond to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews about Gracz being appointed to provide spiritual direction for victims of sexual abuse.

    Word of the appointment came amid continued abuse revelations that have again rocked the Church in recent months, first in June against archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and then with the Pennsylvania grand jury report following last week, detailing decades of clergy sex abuse there.

    The U.S. Church’s own studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of abuse in the Church’s sex abuse crisis has generated from homosexual clergy. The data in the Pennsylvania report bears this out as well.

    The Holy See has issued directives more than once prohibiting the ordination of men with deep-seated same-sex attraction.

    In light of this and the statistics, theologians and other experts have begun calling for acknowledgment and abolition of a longtime presumed homosexual network within the Catholic clergy that wields power over priests and seminarians, favoring those who go along and penalizing other who do not.

    Catholics are increasingly frustrated by the scandal and are beginning to call more and more for accountability among Church leaders.

    The Catholic who contacted LifeSiteNews requested anonymity, and said of Gracz’s appointment, “This is very concerning. Isn’t this what we’re talking about with McCarrick?”

    The Shrine parish is well known as the “gay parish” of the archdiocese, according to the local Catholic, who said as well that Msgr. Gracz “gives carte blanche to everything gay in Atlanta.”

    The parish has a “Pride Outreach,” operates a booth at Atlanta’s gay pride week, and sends a parish group to march in Atlanta’s Pride parade each year.

    The parish also hosts GLBT socials and socials specifically for LGBT couples. It is rated as “very gay friendly” on the travel website Trip Advisor.

    The petition can be accessed HERE.

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