The Jesuit-run St. Agnes Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, like Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro, has a long history of pro-gay dissent. The former pastor of St. Agnes was Fr. Cameron Ayers, SJ. Ayers personally marched in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade and in 2006 he sponsored a conference at St. Agnes entitled: “Alienated Catholics: Establishing the Groundwork for Dialog.” One of the presenters was pro-gay “Celtic” priest and USF Professor Vincent Pizzuto, who said at the event:
“Thus, despite coming up against Magisterial teachings to the contrary, the alienation which homosexual catholics experience is not rooted in that which they believe to be intrinsic to Christian tradition itself, but rather, is associated with an erroneous interpretation of tradition imposed by the teaching authorities of the church. To put it plainly, we simply disagree with the church’s interpretation of Scripture and Tradition which we otherwise experience as affirming. I suspect that many of us are able to finally endure this dichotomy because we are convinced that at its very roots Christianity is most essentially relational and thus ultimately rejects nothing which bears the fruit of loving relationship.”
An ex-Catholic, Pizzuto performs same-sex wedding ceremonies in the Celtic Christian Church which is under the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church, the Diocese of California. Earlier this year (2016), Pizzuto spoke at Most Holy Redeemer.
In 2008, Ayers, donated to the “No on Proposition 8” campaign that sought to overturn the California proposition which sought to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Ayers finally left the Catholic Church and since 2011 has served as an Episcopal priest.
In the June 5, 2016 Parish Bulletin from St. Agnes, there appeared an announcement for a LGBTQ Retreat at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center in Eureka, MO. The Retreat “Presenter” will be Fr. Paul Francis Morrissey. Paul F. Morrissey, OSA, is an ordained Roman Catholic priest (47 years) who serves as a chaplain in the Philadelphia Prison System (2006 to the present). From 1977-90, he was the editor of an international spirituality newsletter for gay priests and religious. Morrissey has a very long history of pro-gay statements. In a “USA Today” (June 26, 2015) article titled “Flashback: Ireland is for gay marriage because it is Catholic,” Morrissey wrote:
“Ireland, the source of Catholic missionaries throughout the word for hundreds of years, has suffered a drastic exodus of people from its church-going ranks since the sexual abuse scandal broke into public view during the past decade. The majority of Irish men and women may still call themselves Catholic, but they no longer accept the hierarchy as believable, particularly in matters of sexual morality. Thus, the stunning rejection of the Church’s view of gay marriage as an invalid relationship in the eyes of God and the Church. What the Church teaches about sexuality is rejected almost as a duty. The Church has no credibility in matters of sexuality in Ireland.
Because the Irish have been brought up by the Catholic Church to view marriage as a sacrament is the reason they can shift sideways to see a same-sex relationship in the same God-blessed way. Because marriage is a beautiful commitment of love, taught to them by the Church, is why the Irish can make the connection to two people of the same sex loving each other with a similar commitment. It is the love commitment they value, and have come to see in their friends and family members who are gay and lesbian as well. Love conquers. The Irish are lovers. It doesn’t matter who the partners are…”
Also on June 26, 2016, which was coincidentally the day of the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States, Morrissey celebrated on his personal web-page with this blog entry:
“I am happy for the LGBT Community on this historic day when the Supreme Court of the country legalized same-sex marriage. It is a stunning victory for the long and difficult struggle by gay and lesbian Americans for equal rights, and will allow them many benefits that are taken for granted by heterosexual couples (to name only one, visitation rights in hospitals when a partner is ill or dying). The deeper meaning must be stated though: this decisions makes GLBT people equal in our country. That is why many are celebrating tonight with such joy. The Catholic Community will need to regroup–the bishops at least–as the Irish bishops are doing in the wake of the Irish vote by the people to do the same a few weeks ago. Apparently many Catholics in the United States and across the world are supportive of this new law that legalizes civil marriages. The Supreme Court cannot decide what a sacrament of marriage is, but the bishops have not made this clear to help our people understand. Of course, marriage will stand. This decision takes nothing away from the God-given meaning of marriage for heterosexual couples. What it does do is ask us a question we need to discuss: Since a married heterosexual couple bless us (including the priest-celebrant of their wedding) by their commitment of love, how does the love-commitment of two people of the same sex bless us–or not? I want to be part of this discussion, don’t you? If the Catholic Church is not willing to discuss this, we sever ourselves from a whole segment of society, especially the young. Is that what we want for our future?”
In an article (July 18, 2015) for the “National Catholic Reporter,” Morrissey posed the question: “Can God surprise us?” Here, Morrissey wants to “offer two reasons to understand LGBT people as intended by God.”
#1. “It takes a village. It takes a parish. It takes a rainbow of colors. It takes the single and married gay and lesbian people to assist the rest of us in this incredible task of raising our families, and now even their own, into the future that God intends for all of us together.”
#2. “The second reason I would suggest that LGBT people are God’s intention is a different understanding of God. Do we think that God created the world in a flash — in seven days? As male and female? In ‘his’ own image?”
Throughout the article, Morrissey compares the “surprise” parents may feel when they discover that their child is born for instance with down-syndrome and that of a child who is supposedly born a homosexual:
“What will we allow God’s creative imagination to unfold before us and with us? Is there room for surprise? For a child with Down syndrome to draw out of us love we never knew we had? For a gay or lesbian person to help us realize God’s playfulness, mercy and revelation of ‘his’ own incomprehensible mystery? For transgender people?”