On March 1, 2016, The Catholic Ministry for Lesbian and Gay Ministries (CMLGP), the official outreach to the LGBT community for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, posted a video (for an edited version watch here) to their Facebook account from the closing liturgy at the 2016 Religious Education Congress; they included 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 with Fr. Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries presiding. 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…
One of the men part of the aforementioned “gay couple and their son” is Merrick Siebenaler (McMahon). Siebenaler is an openly partnered “gay” man who currently serves as Director of Communications & Marketing at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, CA. He is also Associate Director at LAMP SoCal, an educational program for “high school students in liturgy, music and the liturgical arts.” LAMP SoCal offers a summer camp: “with leading Catholic pastoral, liturgical and music leaders from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and beyond. The program is designed to mentor and form the next generation of leaders in our Catholic communities.” Siebenaler formerly served as Director of Music and Evangelization at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Westlake Village.
St. Monica’s parish also hosts St. Monica Catholic Community Gay and Lesbian Outreach (GLO) where member Arthur Fitzmaurice served as the the former Chair of CMLGP. At the 2015 LA Religious Education Congress, which repeatedly features Fitzmaurice as a speaker on LGBT issues, including at the 2017 Congress, he openly criticized “The Catechism of the Catholic Church:”
“The paragraph [in the Catechism] 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 June 24, 2016, Fitzmaurice signed an on-line petition created by the pro-gay and pro-female ordination group Call To Action which asked for changes in The Catechism regarding teachings on homosexuality; Frank McKown, the current co-Chair of CMLGP did the same thing the following day.
In 2010, concerning same-sex marriage propositions in California, Fitzmaurice said: “I know how the Church catechism falls on the issue I just wish they would stay out of it and embrace the separation of church and state.”
GLO maintains a closed Facebook group with Siebenaler as one of its three current administrators.
The Pastor of St. Monica’s is Msgr. LLoyd Torgerson, he has been in residence at St. Monica’s for over thirty years and has served as pastor for over twenty-five. In his spare time he serves as the Vicar for Ministerial Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Also in residence at St. Monica’s is Fr. David Guffey, CSC. Guffey is the National Director of Family Theater Productions where he has worked since 2008.
On April 6, 2016, Torgerson delivered the eulogy for Bill Rosendahl at St. Monica’s. Rosendahl was the first openly gay man elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Shorty after his election in 2005, Rosendahl asked the Council to publicly support a proposed California State Assembly bill which would recognize equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Following the June 16, 2008 decision by the Supreme Court of California, when the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Rosendahl officiated at same-sex weddings in Los Angeles. After the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8 in California, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, Rosendahl criticized efforts by the Catholic and LDS Church in support of Prop 8, Rosendahl said: “We’re not going to let a perversion of Christianity stop us.” Rosendahl’s longtime partner of fourteen years died of AIDS in 1995. In 2013, he registered as a domestic partner with his partner of seventeen years. During his eulogy for Rosendahl, Torgerson said:
Bill paid attention to what God wanted him to do. Francis, our Holy Father, he doesn’t care what people think. He’s got incredible courage. He has a new vision for a billion people…and I think Bill had that same strength and courage and inner harmony and peace. There are four Gospels in our tradition: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I would suggest today there is a fifth Gospel: Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, and Bill.
There are also problematic LGBT ministries throughout the Archdiocese headed by individuals who have publicly criticized Catholic teachings on homosexuality. (See here, here, here, here, and here.)
Author’s postscript: My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone that have been effected by the LGBT “ministries” within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The CMLGP claims that “progress for LGBT Catholics is slow and happens in incremental pieces.” If they are implying that this so-called “progress” will eventually lead to the Church condoning same-sex marriage, you have been lied to. Certainly, such faithful groups as Courage have worked tirelessly to welcome those with same-sex attraction back to the Church by proclaiming both the Love and Truth taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ, but the Church will never change its teachings on the unacceptability of homosexual acts. Anyone claiming otherwise is engaged in the worst sort of deception.
Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Office of the Archbishop of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Great article. As Always.
Thank you Joseph for your brave witness to the faith taught to us by Jesus himself.