(Pictured above: Frank McKown, center, at the 2016 LA Religious Education Congress.)
Frank McKown is the Co-Chair of the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons (CMLGP). In a June 25, 2016 Facebook post, McKown recommended that Catholics sign a petition, originating with the dissident group Call To Action, requesting that certain words and terms be removed from both “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and from the 1986 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Person.”
The Catholic community of Call To Action continues to stand in solidarity with those horrifically attacked in Orlando on June 12, 2016. We feel it is imperative for us to boldly speak out against Catholic Church officials’ continued insistence on calling the LGBTQ community’s “inclinations” as “objectively disordered” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358), or even worse, “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Person, 1986).
The hierarchical Catholic Church’s hurtful and inflammatory language to describe our LGBTQ brothers and sisters makes the institutional Church complicit in fanning the flames of hatred and violence. Under the guise of religion and faith, the Church models intolerance, breeds prejudice, and attempts to justify discrimination.
We cannot be silent.
Call To Action calls on officials within the institutional Catholic Church to open up conversations with LGBTQ communities in order to move the Church beyond words and teachings that are openly hostile, arouse anger, and engender deep animosity and pain.
We call for change in the Catholic Church’s official language and teaching on our LGBTQ siblings.
We call on officials to, instead, embody paths of greater dialogue and understanding, tolerance and affirmation, healing and reconciliation.
Until we come together and expunge the hateful rhetoric and discriminatory teachings coming from and in the name of our Church, we contribute to the strife and violence directed towards LGBTQ communities.
In the section “Reasons for Signing” the Call To Action petition, McKown wrote:
“I have worked for years within the Church to change the catechism as proposed in this petition drive. Every bit of pressure on the hierarchy is helpful.”
In 2006, the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, wrote to then Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz concerning Call To Action, stating: “…to be a member of this association or to support it is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic faith.”
Yet, this sort of complaint is nothing new within the world of gay-affirmative Catholic ministries. For instance, after a lengthy investigation by the Vatican into the highly questionable pastoral work of Fr. Robert Nugent and Sister Jeannine Gramick, of note was the refusal by Nugent to uphold Catholic teachings as described in The Catechism:
In particular, he would not state that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and he added a section which calls into question the definitive and unchangeable nature of Catholic doctrine in this area.
Because of their flagrant disobedience, Nugent and Gramick were “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons.”
Yet, this theology has continued to trickle down into gay-affirmative parishes; in 2013, the pastor at the predominantly “gay” parish of Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco, was told to remove a picture of then Pope Benedict XVI:
They explained that the feeling was while he was Pope, as well as his time as a Cardinal, Pope Benedict had made hurtful and hateful statements regarding the LGBT Community and thus, his picture should not be placed on the altar of MHR. I was also warned, many parishioners would walk out of Sunday Mass if the picture was not removed.
Later, in 2016, Most Holy Redeemer posted the following message to their official Facebook page:
Our congregation is 65 – 75% LGBTQ. Many of our parishioners are married to their same-sex partners and have adopted children which are baptized at our parish. BTW, none of the parishioners feel that we are “intrinsically disordered” and we have told that to the Archbishop.
The former CMLGP Co-Chair, Arthur Fitzmaurice, who is a frequent presenter at the LA Religious Education Congress, said this at the 2015 Congress:
“The paragraph on homosexuality, which describes it as ‘intrinsically disordered’ while also demanding respect for gays and lesbians, is placed in a section of the catechism paragraphs condemning ‘pornography, prostitution, and rape.’ To keep this abusive language in the Catechism and other Church writings is, in itself, gravely evil.”
On his Facebook page, McKown displayed his pride in same-sex marriage by posting the marriage-equality logo from The Human Right Campaign (HRC); according to the HRC:
In late March 2013, as the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments in two marriage equality cases, HRC shared a red version of its logo – selected because the color is synonymous with love – on Facebook and Twitter and asked supporters to change their profile photos to show their support.
He also posted a picture of The White House, following the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, lighted in the rainbow colors.
As recently as September 17, 2016, McKown spoke in an official capacity within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The reason behind the constant obsession with the word “disordered” is that gay-affirmative ministries and parishes completely subscribe to the “born gay” or “God made me gay” theory; In a 2013 video interview for The IN [Ignatian News] Network, made in cooperation with St. Monica’s Catholic Gay and Lesbian Outreach in Santa Monica, Arthur Fitzmaurice said: “I tried to be directed towards God…How do I be the person that God made me to be; and then it gets converted into a realization that God made me to be this gay person.” Consequently, they must reject The Catechism which explicitly states that the homosexual inclination is disordered. Because, they are honest enough to realize that only a hate-filled and vengeful god would purposefully create someone disordered. Therefore, The Catechism is only the result of institutionalized bigotry and homophobia, not the inspired word of God; as the god-father of Catholic gay affirmation, John J. McNeill, once stated:
The Vatican is right, I believe, in claiming that we are dealing with an “objective disorder”. But that objective disorder has nothing to do with homosexuality but with the Vatican itself.
Later, repeated by gay apologist priest Fr. Tony Ryan who wrote:
The Catholic hierarchy thinks that gay sex is wrong. This is where the stand against gay marriage begins.