(Above: I personally attended the 2017 LA Religious Education Congress where Massingale, Trujillo, and Fitzmaurice spoke; there were no speakers from Courage and no one who unequivocally upholds Catholic teachings with regards to homosexual activity and chastity. I met Archbishop Gomez and handed him a flyer which contained much of the information that is listed below.)
Featured speakers for the 2018 Religious Education Congress on LGBT issues, include: James Martin, SJ, Bryan Massingale, STD, Yunuen Trujillo, and Arthur Fitzmaurice.
Concerning homosexuality and those who experience same-sex attraction, James Martin has made the following statements:
During a June 16, 2017 Jesuitical podcast, Martin said:
God made you this way. You are wonderfully made, just like Psalm 139 says. You were knit together in your mother’s womb this way, you know, it’s a mystery why you were made this way, but this is part of your identity.
In a August 24, 2017 interview with the pro-gay San Francisco periodical “The Bay Area Reporter,” Martin stated:
Most of the vicious stuff has been from the far right. I think there are five reasons for this: 1) fear of the LGBT person as the ‘other,’ 2) hatred of LGBT people, 3) visceral disgust at same-sex relations, 4) theological opposition to welcoming LGBT people because that means church teaching might be changed, which is terrifying to them, and 5) most importantly is discomfort with their own sexuality, especially because a few of the critics from the far right are self-professed former gays.
“The idea that someone can come-out and be honest and transparent and open about the way that God created them, I think is terrific – it’s something the Catholic Church can support.” (see video.)
Martin has also recommended the dissident pro-same sex marriage ministry Fortunate Families, said that it should be okay for “gay” couples to kiss in church, he has also suggested that wording in the Catechism referring to homosexuality could be changed from “objectively disordered” to “differently ordered.”
While James Martin and his recent statements concerning homosexuality are relatively well known, some of the other speakers are not; here is a brief synopsis of each:
Bryan Massingale is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and a professor of theology at Marquette University. Of his experiences at the 2016 LA Congress, where he participated in a panel on transgender Catholics called “Transgender in the Church: One Bread, One Body,” Massingale wrote:
“I was struck by their heartfelt conviction that accepting their true gender identities led them to a deeper and more authentic relationship with God. Hearing their stories of pain and triumph was one of the most privileged moments I have had in 33 years of being a priest.”
Massingale disagreed with bishops in Wisconsin, who in 2006 supported a bill that would make gay marriage unconstitutional: “I thought (the bill) opened up an opportunity for more discrimination.”
In 2011, Massingale spoke at a Washington D.C. event, along with representatives from Call To Action, that was sponsored by the pro-gay marriage group “Equally Blessed.” Following the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, “Equally Blessed” released the following statement:
Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic organizations committed to LGBT equality in the church and civil society, applauds the US Supreme Court’s ruling that states same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry.
Bryan Massingale said at the progressive Pax Christi Conference in 2013:
“For the young people I teach, equality for gays and lesbians is their civil rights issue…For young people, the litmus test of the credibility of a religious institution is their stances on LGBT rights.”
In 2017, Massingale spoke at New Ways Ministry’s Eight National Symposium. In 1999, the co-founders of New Ways Ministry were officially silenced by the Vatican. Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, after same-sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court in 2015, stated:
New Ways Ministry rejoices with millions of U.S. Catholics that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided in favor of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples! On this historic day, we pray in thanksgiving that justice and mercy have prevailed and that the prayers and efforts of so many have combined to move our nation one step closer to fairness and equality for all.
The National Catholic Reporter offered further details Massingale’s talk to New Ways Ministry:
“Those who came to the Chicago symposium brought with them both ‘hope and frustration,’ Massingale said: hope that more understanding and acceptance of gays and lesbians was on its way into the church and frustration because that time has not yet arrived.
“The priest, who left Marquette last year to teach theology at Fordham University, pointed to a new tone in the church toward gays, a tone he characterized as ‘cautious, tentative, tense, at times ambiguous and contradictory, and yet nevertheless real.’”
At the homepage for the “Gay & Lesbian Outreach” (Always Our Children) located at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Parish in Pasadena (in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) there are two links: one to Fortunate Families and the other to something labeled as “Ministry with Lesbian & Gay Catholics.”
The link for The Ministry with Lesbian & Gay Catholics, connects to a site titled: “LGBT Catholics: Building Bridges of Ministry in Our Catholic Church” (www.lgbtcatholics.org). On their homepage, under the tab “Church Doctrine & Pastoral Care,” is a video featuring a speaker named Yunuen Trujillo. According to her Twitter and Facebook accounts, Trujillo is a “Regional Coordinator with the Archdiocesan Young Adult Ministry.” She has also been a speaker at the LA Religious Education Congress (2016), is a “Catholic” radio host with PJLA-Radio TV, and is active with the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Persons (CMLGP).
In her video for The Ministry with Lesbian & Gay Catholics, Trujillo stated:
“…Not all stories are the same. You are going to hear stories about people who have chosen to remain chaste, you will find stories of people who have partners, and you WILL find that they can be equally holy and it is going to be absolutely mind-blowing, and you’re not going to understand why at the beginning. But you are going to be able to see stuff that you may not be able to see right now, when you get to actually listen to stories.”
Arthur Fitzmaurice, currently (since 2010) serves as Resource Director for the dissident Catholic Association of Lesbian and Gay Ministries (CALGM.) Concerning the Catechism and the statement that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” Fitzmaurice wrote: “The language certainly still needs to change. It is gravely evil language.” In 2012, board members of CALGM, including Fitzmaurice, refused to sign an “oath of personal integrity” to Catholic teaching. On June 24, 2016, Fitzmaurice signed an on-line petition created by the pro-gay and pro-female ordination group Call To Action which asks for changes in The Catechism regarding teachings on homosexuality.
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.”
Arthur Fitzmaurice, is also the former Chair of the CMLGP; a group founded by former Archbishop Roger Mahony. In response to questions concerning several US Bishop’s responses to the Supreme Court Decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the CMLGP posted the following:
“…we seek to dialogue with hierarchy to make LGBT Catholics more welcomed in church life and to also reduce the hateful speech coming from some church officials. It’s a long road.”
Following the 2016 Congress, after a same-sex couple and their son presented the gifts to Archbishop Gomez at the “Margins” Mass, the CMLGP released the following statement:
Progress for LGBT Catholics is slow and happens in incremental pieces, and often includes setbacks. I saw much progress this past weekend at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. Our ministry was honored to participate in the Church on the Margins liturgy…Four sold out LGBT-affirming sessions were presented including first time session in Spanish and one with a transgender topic. But if there was one indelible moment, it may have come at the closing liturgy on Sunday when a gay couple and their son helped present gifts at the altar to Archbishop Jose Gomez.
In 2015, Fitzmaurice castigated the Catholic Bishops of the US for their opposition to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage; printed in “The National Catholic Reporter,” Fitzmaurice demanded the voices of LGBT Catholics be heard – if they refuse, the Bishops, according to Fitzmaurice, “cannot hear the voice of God:”
If the Church hierarchy wants to understand the Spirit alive in the world, it needs to listen to our stories of finding new life—and deeper relationship with God—even in the midst of confusion and suffering. Until they listen, they cannot hear the voice of God speaking through us.
At an interview during the 2015 LA Congress, Fitzmaurice repeated this same sentiment:
…the spirit is alive in the hearts of LGBT people and it’s the slow movement of the spirit within us that’s creating community, that’s teaching us – the message of love is what’s at the core, it’s not about a few words in The Catechism.
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