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LGBT Mass… Leaves Some San Diego-Area Catholics Thinking People Were Misled

October 18, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

Leadership at the Catholic Diocese of San Diego seriously misled Catholics and others with the way a special Mass for LGBT people was offered at St. John the Evangelist Church in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, some orthodox Catholics who attended the event told The Wanderer.
The Mass was scheduled to observe the 20th anniversary of the Always Our Children letter on same-sex attraction, issued in the name of the U.S. Catholic bishops but never voted on or discussed by them as a body. It was called back for revision the following year, 1998.
A “heavy police presence,” noted by a local television station, was outside the Hillcrest church, reportedly because of threats received, but the time passed peacefully.
The October 7 Mass was celebrated by San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan, who was named to that position last April, and concelebrated by the diocese’s bishop, Robert McElroy, who served as auxiliary bishop of San Francisco before being named to head the San Diego Diocese in 2015, according to a Mass attendee.
Dolan’s homily didn’t mention problems with the Always Our Children letter as it originally was issued.
Local CBS affiliate KFMB-TV, Channel 8, reported on the event, “It was music to the ears of San Diego’s LGBT community: A message from the Catholic Church that ‘you are always welcome here’.”
Prominent local officials attending included San Diego’s pro-homosexual Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer; homosexual activist and Democratic state Assemblyman Todd Gloria, and Catholic-mocking transvestite Nicole Murray Ramirez, a city commissioner.
A spokesman for the Catholic diocese defended the church event when The Wanderer asked him for comment.
Kevin Eckery, vice chancellor for communications and public affairs, said in an email, “I don’t know about any callbacks or revisions that may have taken place in the Always Our Children document 20 years ago, but Always Our Children (in its current form) can be found on the USCCB website.”
He provided a link that is too complex to include here, but the document easily can be found by searching at the USCCB site for Always Our Children. The rest of its full title is, A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers.
(One might note in passing how outdated a simple reference to “homosexual children” in 1997 already sounds today, when gender transformations and permutations are held to be almost limitless.)
Eckery said the document “says quite clearly that to be homosexual is not a choice for most people and to be homosexual, therefore, is not a sin because it wasn’t a conscious choice.
“The document also talks about the need to treat all people with respect and dignity,” Eckery said, “and that it is a sin to mistreat or be prejudiced against people who are gay because of their sexual orientation.
“While some people may disagree with what he (Bishop Dolan) said, nothing he did say contradicts Catholic teaching,” Eckery said.
In a September 22 post at LifeSiteNews.com, orthodox Catholic attorney Charles LiMandri, noting the upcoming LGBT Mass, wrote: “Nicole Murray Ramirez is a male transvestite who has regularly mocked the Catholic Church by dressing up like a nun and calling bingo at a local gay bar.”
After Communion at the Mass, Murray Ramirez went to the lectern and said that after living in San Diego for 50 years, his “prayers were answered by these two bishops (Dolan and McElroy),” who had “spoken out for equality and civil rights,” according to another orthodox Catholic attending, Moira Malley.
Malley said that at the event, the two bishops “received Humanitarian awards from the Community of Hillcrest, which they gratefully accepted. Applause broke out, followed by a standing ovation.”
Hillcrest is, as the area’s largest daily newspaper noted in its coverage, “the historic epicenter of the gay community in San Diego.”
Local Catholics objecting to the event saw it being used to blur distinctions about sexual preferences or even ignore traditional Church teaching about sin and repentance.
Transvestite “Ramirez sees this Mass as an opportunity to promote change in the Church,” attorney LiMandri wrote at LifeSiteNews.com. “This is not the kind of change that means more openness and compassion to those hurting and in need of healing. Rather, what he seeks is a change of the doctrines of the Catholic Church on marriage, family, and human sexuality. . . .
“The gay activist’s view of the purpose of this Mass is to be an instrument of political change and not spiritual renewal. This is not a purpose that Pope Francis would approve,” LiMandri wrote.
The major local daily, The San Diego Union-Tribune, posted on October 7 that one of those attending, Kyle Escobar-Humphries, “is gay and has been married for nearly three years to another man, Snapper Escobar-Humphries. Together they sat near the front of the church with their 8- and 9-year-old children as Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan…celebrated Mass before a crowd of about 300.”
Quoting him, the newspaper wrote of Kyle Escobar-Humphries: “ ‘It’s important because my kids have two gay dads and I would like for them to understand that this church is open for everybody,’ said the 46-year-old, who said he is a lifelong Catholic. ‘I want them to understand how to treat each other equally’.”
Allyson Smith, a local orthodox Catholic who was present, told The Wanderer in an email on October 9:
“The emphasis at this Mass was for parents to love their ‘gay’ children. At no point in his homily did Bishop Dolan provide guidance to parents about how to help their children out of homosexuality, for example, through the help of Courage and EnCourage ministries; he did not restate what the Catechism teaches about homosexual inclinations and acts; and he did not call the active homosexuals in attendance to repentance and conversion.”
Courage is a Catholic apostolate to assist people “with same-sex attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth, and love” according to traditional Church teaching, the organization’s website says. EnCourage is an apostolate for their parents, friends, and family members.
Smith, who describes herself as “a pro-life and pro-family orthodox Catholic activist concerned about the modernist trends in the San Diego Diocese under our current bishop, Robert McElroy,” said she asked McElroy after the Mass about reactivating Courage and EnCourage chapters locally.
As McElroy was about to depart in his SUV, she said, “I went up to his passenger-side window and told him that we’d like to see Courage and EnCourage reinstituted in the diocese. He said Fr. Richard Huston used to lead it but died, so he’d have to find another chaplain.
“I asked, ‘What if we found a chaplain who’s willing to do it?’ but he shucked that idea, saying he would have to see/assign a chaplain. I said that I was afraid that with him, it wouldn’t happen. Then he drove off,” Smith said.
Fr. Huston, an orthodox Catholic, was a widower who was ordained a priest at a healthy age 69 and died last May shortly before his 91st birthday.
At the Mass, Dolan began in his prepared text: “Parents and family members of LGBT children — God’s children — and to all of you gathered today: It is a joy to be with you this morning as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document, Always Our Children. This document was written then as ‘an outstretched hand of the bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family to parents and other family members’ of LGBT children.”
A July 1998 article in the National Catholic Register said: “When first released last October, the document generated strongly opposing sentiments. Warmly received by some, including homosexual advocacy groups such as Dignity, which rejects aspects of Catholic teaching on sexuality, Always Our Children was criticized by other groups supportive of Church teaching, such as Courage.
“Even many American bishops appeared divided,” the Register article continued. “Some bishops praised the statement as a compassionate approach to homosexuality; others criticized it as insufficiently Catholic, with one prominent bishop even asking people to ignore or oppose it. . . .
“The revisions are modest in number — three substitutions, a deletion, an added paragraph, and two additional footnotes — but nonetheless substantive,” the Register article said. “Some modifications seem to address critics’ concerns, though other criticized sections of the document are unaltered.”
Smith, the orthodox Catholic who attended the Mass, told The Wanderer it’s notable that local media coverage omitted mentioning the original document had to be revised.
“I think this omission is very significant, because the Mass was held to celebrate the 20th publication anniversary of the original, badly flawed version of Always Our Children, not the revised version (even though that version, too, is problematic),” she emailed.
“This might give people the false impression that the original document was theologically sound and approved by the majority of bishops, which is untrue,” Smith added.
She said the program distributed for the October 7 Mass had readings that “were entirely different from the official USCCB readings for the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. The responsorial psalm chosen for the Mass, for example, was Psalm 139: I Praise You, by Holz, where the refrain is ‘I praise You, I praise You, for I am wonderfully made’ (an obvious play into the ‘born that way’ mantra of homosexual activists).”
Larry Greenbank, another orthodox Catholic present, said the Mass was a staged media event that featured a disproportionate-seeming number of police in the area. A small number of orthodox Catholics were there to pray and hand out fliers, not protest, he said.
“I was alarmed to find five police vans in the church parking lot,” Greenbank said. “They met with a church official. Half the police were in camouflage, at least two had full packs. . . .”
One member of the police team “deployed on the roof of the church building” Greenbank said, adding later in an email, “…I assumed that they were there because of the VIPs, and were ready for a protest. San Diego has a policy to meet any (planned) protest with overwhelming numbers.”

“Accompany”

Malley, another of the orthodox Catholics present, said she originally was encouraged when homilist Dolan mentioned the day’s October 7 feast, but she soon was disappointed.
“He also mentioned that it was the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which gave me hope, because I fully expected him to ignore it completely,” she said. “However, my heart sank when, instead of educating those present” about aspects of this devotion, “he . . . made Our Blessed Lady a party to all this madness by saying that she ‘accompanies with her prayers the parents and families of LGBT people.’
“ ‘Accompany,’ as we know, is a favorite term of Bishop McElroy, which does not entail repentance and a firm purpose of amendment,” Malley said.
She also noted that no reminder was given about restrictions on receiving the Eucharist at this liturgy, although a number of ineligible people presumably attended.
“In Masses where non-Catholics or lapsed Catholics are in attendance, some priests announce that only baptized Catholics in a state of grace should take Holy Communion,” Malley said. “Sadly, but predictably, Bishop Dolan made no such statement, so practically everyone in the church lined up to receive the Eucharist.”

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