According to Funk’s “Letter of Welcome from Gay+,” he wrote:
All are welcome here.
As a gay Catholic, I fall short in trying to explain what those words mean. It cannot be put to paper because it is a feeling so profound as to give pause to time itself, if only for the span of a heartbeat, to think, “Does that mean me?” It’s a moment of reckoning that I experience specifically because I am a gay Catholic; a moment in which I experienced the voice of God in a way uniquely my own.
Gay+ hosts a monthly meeting at Old St. Patrick’s called “That Thursday Thing.”
My life journey brought me to Chicago. Searching for a parish community, I typed into my Internet search engine “LGBT friendly Catholic churches.” Sure enough, Old St. Pat’s was listed among the few results. When attending Mass, I noticed the spot in the bulletin for the Gay and Lesbian, Friends and Family Outreach. For those of you who may not know, this group hosts social events, programs, and acts of service within our community and beyond.
In 2016, the parish bulletin at St. Patrick’s included an advertisement for an event taking place at The 8th Day Center for Justice; the topic of the discussion: “LGBTQ+ Justice in Faith- Based Communities: Understanding the Evolving Story of Gender.” In the Old St. Patrick’s Church description for the event, it states that the various speakers “were all raised Catholic and will discuss how their LGBTQ+ identities relate to their faith lives.”
The 8th Day Center is a far-left advocacy group that, according to their Mission Statement, comprises “a coalition founded by Catholic religious congregations, acts as a critical alternative voice to oppressive systems and works to change those systems.”
They have openly supported the ordination of women through their signing of a statement: “A Church For Our Daughters.” Other signatories include such dissident groups as: Call To Action, DignityUSA, and the Women’s Ordination Conference.
The 8th Day Center also publicly disagrees (now removed from website) with the Church’s teachings on homosexuality:
The 8th Day Center for Justice does not believe the official teachings on homosexuality reflect the Catholic values and beliefs that call each of us “to promote justice, equality and human dignity among all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, abilities, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic class.” Each person’s sexuality is a gift. Any structure that allows contrary opinion to exist let alone impact the physical or emotional safety of any person needs transformation.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has a long history of gay-affirmation, predominantly through the group AGLO (Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach of Chicago).
AGLO was founded by the late Cardinal Bernadin and Jerry McEnany, the leader of Dignity Chicago. After the 1987 “Letter to the Catholics Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” which plainly demanded that Bishops remove gay-affirmative ministries from their parishes. According to gay-activist Rick Garcia, AGLO was a compromise between Dignity and the Archdiocese:
Cardinal Bernardin, along with as other Catholic bishops, was under great pressure from Rome to get rid of Dignity chapters on church property. Jerry and the board of directors of Dignity were meeting with the archdiocese to find a way to have it both ways—Mass on Church property for gay people and the archdiocese wanting to alleviate pressure from Rome and right-wing Catholics.
During the “Pride” month of June, 2017, AGLO sponsored outings to the “She Fest” – “a variety show celebrating queer, female-identified artists,” as well as the “Queer Bits Film Festival,” featuring short films, some which contained: “adult themes, nudity, and strong language.”
The “Archdiocesan Liaison” to AGLO is Fr. Patrick J. Lee. Lee is currently the Pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish where AGLO hosts their meetings and liturgies. In 2003, Lee was one of several Chicago area priests who signed “An Open Letter to the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church Regarding the Pastoral Care of Gay and Lesbian Persons.” The “Letter” judged certain language in “The Catechism of the Catholic Church,” pertaining to homosexual activity, as “vile and toxic.”
In 2017, AGLO hosted a “Night at the Theater.” At the Pride Arts Center, attended a performance of the play “The Nance.” The play, about the tumultuous romantic and sexual relationships of a “gay” burlesque performer in the 1930s, originally opened on Broadway in 2013 starring Nathan Lane. During its original run, the play was somewhat controversial because of a full frontal scene of male nudity.
On July 10, 2017, the Archdiocese of Chicago launched “a revitalized Theology on Tap for Summer 2017” which featured Thomas Rosica and gay journalist Michael O’Loughlin. Here is a excerpt from an article by O’Loughlin:
Here’s how the bishops could change the public’s perception of them as being “anti-gay.”…drop the opposition to marriage equality. It’s here to stay, and young Catholics support it at overwhelming numbers. To be against marriage equality is equated with bigotry and being out of the mainstream. To lose a generation of Catholics on this issue is shortsighted and will hinder social justice efforts to alleviate poverty, prevent war and strengthen the common good. This will be a tragedy that will take many years to overcome.
Cardinal Cupich was one of the few Catholic prelates to publicly praise Jesuit James Martin’s controversial book “Building a Bridge.”
Contact Cardinal Cupich:
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago
PO Box 1979
Chicago, IL 60690-1979
or by email