(Pictured above: the sanctuary at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in New York City.)
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis of Assisi LGBT Ministry will host a “weekend of inclusion and prayer” on June 24, 2017. The following day is the official Gay Pride Parade in New York City. The event at St. Francis will include a “Festive Mass.” According to an announcement from St. Francis of Assisi LGBT Ministry:
Identifying as LGBT and Catholic can sometimes be a challenge, however, we affirm you….We’re here for you in returning to celebrate life, love, and God. At St. Francis of Assisi our unconditionally loving LGBT Ministry reassures you that we’re not the church that made you leave.
The LGBT Ministry at St. Francis has a problematic history including:
- The “Drink Pray Love – Can I Be Queer & Catholic?” event which was held at the Stonewall Inn;
- A “Mardi Gras” party at a well-known gay bar;
- A “Cinco de Mayo” celebration at another notorious gay bar;
- The contact person for the St. Francis LGBT Ministry has publicly supported Planned Parenthood;
- Previous “Pride” Masses to coincide with New York City Pride and LGBT retreats.
There are other gay-affirmative events taking place within the Archdiocese of New York in commemoration of “Pride” month including a benefit for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation at The Church of the Blessed Sacrament as well as a Pride Mass at the site of the Stonewall riots and a Pride Week “Vogue” Dance Class sponsored by Out At St. Paul at St. Paul the Apostle Church. On June 28, 2017, James Martin, S.J., will speak about homosexuality and Catholicism at St. Francis Xavier Church; Martin has said of those who experience same-sex attraction: “that’s the way God created you.”
According to the 1986 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” the type of activities that are promoted by these parishes and ministries step way over the line separating viable outreach strategies and open facilitation:
“…this Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programs which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful.”
In fact, ambiguity is not even present within the stated objectives of these groups, their allies, and supporters. James Martin, and other gay-affirmative Catholics, have asked for a change in Church teaching with regards to homosexuality:
Saying that one of the deepest parts of a person—the part that gives and receives love—is “disordered” in itself is needlessly cruel.
In another interview, he stated:
A few weeks ago, I met an Italian theologian who suggested the phrase “differently ordered” might convey that idea more pastorally.
Yet, is homosexuality simply an issue of being “differently ordered,” or is there something inherently unstable about the entire “gay” experiment? In reality, the history of the modern LGBT community is rather short and began in the 1960s with the dawn of the sexual revolution. Whether you begin with the date of 1967 and “The Summer of Love” or the 1969 Stonewall Riots, as described by Randy Shilts in his controversial book “And the Band Played On,” within a decade, there were signs that not all was well:
“At least one-half of the gay men tested at the clinic showed evidence of a past episode of hepatitis B. In San Francisco, two-thirds of gay men had suffered the debilitating disease. It was now proven statistically that gay men had one chance in five of being infected with the hepatitis B virus within twelve months of stepping off the bus into a typical urban gay scene. Within five years, infection was a virtual certainty.”
Since then, while significant scientific advances have prolonged the lifespan of those with HIV, there remain unusually high rates of sexually transmitted infections within the gay male community. The promised bulwark of same-sex marriage in terms of preventing HIV infections and creating a stabilizing force within the gay male community has proven to be a disaster with currently the greatest number of infections occurring in “steady” partnerships. In addition, the lingering crisis of mental illness in the LGBT community, even in nations with a long established history of inclusion, remain largely unaddressed because of the near universal refusal to adequately explore all possibilities as to the causes of the problem.
Homosexuality, as Martin would like to pretend, is not just “differently ordered” but “disordered.” I discovered that firsthand when friends died a grisly and painful death while still in their twenties; I discovered that when I drifted from one relationship to another; I discovered that when I had to have part of my colon removed. While my experiences, or anyone else’s are not meant to represent everyone, there are many like me, as witnessed in the countless brave men and women who seek out the support and truth to be found with Courage, that found life as a homosexual extremely wanting. Many of us have explored the painful realities of our past and of a childhood too often than not that was filled with unwanted anxiety, loneliness, feelings of abandonment, memories of abuse, and the all-consuming need to feel love from someone of the same-sex that we never got when we were young. We refuse to accept the notion of a false god that created us “gay;” that some deity would implant inside our brain the desire to have another man’s penis inside our anus; or a female desire for scissoring with another woman. Although many gay-affirmative Catholic apologists would contend that homosexuality is so much more than the physical, but eventually one must return to the unnatural unsustainability of same-sex intercourse and realize that this is not the way nature nor God intended it to be; to foist a god, who dictates that one must go against the dictates of their own body, upon anyone – that is needlessly cruel.
Contact: Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Contact: Monsignor Edward Weber
Phone: 212-371-1011 Ext. 2931