(Above: Bishop “P.J.” McGrath of San Jose with Fr. Jon Pedigo (left) in the background.)
Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath, during his tenure as Bishop in the fifth-largest Diocese in California, the Diocese of San Jose (home to over 600,000 Catholics) has become one of the most gay-affirmative dioceses in the United States. Installed in 1999, although Bishop McGrath has a long history of gay-affirmation, in 2017 he was widely lauded by LGBT activists when he publicly criticized a decree given by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield – which stated that individuals involved in a same-sex marriage should not present themselves for the reception of certain Sacraments; for instance, the Eucharist. It should be noted that the decree of Bishop Paprocki did not deny anyone the Sacrament of Confession.
In the official “guidelines” from the Diocese of San Jose, with regards to “pastoral” considerations when counseling someone with same-sex attraction, priests are instructed to inform the person that they were essentially born gay. According to the document, “Diocese of San Jose Guidelines for The Catholic LGBT Ministry Council,” Catholics priests within the Diocese should “not presume any particular social or psychological analysis of sexuality in our society, except for a generally accepted premise that individuals do not choose and cannot change their sexual orientation but must understand it and integrate it into their life of faith and conscience.”
Dr. Simon LeVay, a neurobiologist at both Harvard Medical School and the Salk Institute, who is also a “gay” man, has spent most of his career trying to locate a gay genetic determinate for homosexuality, he wrote:
“There are probably very few people who have not felt, at some time or another, some sexual attraction to both men and women…A person’s sexual orientation is not necessarily a fixed, life-long attribute. Sexual orientation can change: for example a woman may be predominantly attracted to men for many years, and perhaps have a happy marriage and children during that time, and then become increasingly aware of same-sex attraction in her thirties, forties, or later. This does not mean that she was concealing or repressing her homosexuality during that early period. To argue that she was really homosexual all the time would be to change the definition of sexual orientation into something murky and inaccessible.”
Courage founder Fr. John Harvey, in his landmark book “The Homosexual Person,” made the definitive Catholic statement on this topic:
“Since in more recent years there is more evidence that persons can change their sexual orientation…it seems that the spiritual counselor or confessor should at least keep his mind open to the possibility that the person, particularly the young person, can change sexual orientation and that counselors should encourage homosexual persons to look into the possibility of changing from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation.”
In the very colorful “official” brochure for the “Catholic LGBT Ministry Council” of the Archdiocese of San Jose – chastity is never mentioned. Even under a section marked “Church Teaching” – there is not one word from “The Catechism of the Catholic Church;” instead they include a passage from the USCCB document “Always Our Children” and a quote from the Archdiocese of San Jose’s “Pastoral Guidelines.” None of these documents qualify as “Church Teaching.” “Always Our Children” was a “pastoral message” from the Bishops of the United States and had no power to interpret, let alone define, Catholic teachings for the Universal Church.
From 2014 to 2017, John Huân Vũ served as LGBT Ministry Leader in the Diocese of San Jose. In 2014, Vũ married his same-sex partner, Greg Ripa. In 2015, both Vũ and Ripa recorded testimony videos of the “gay” affirming project “Owning You Faith,” which is sponsored by the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York City. The first film in the series, featured a “married” same-sex couple – Matt and Rick Vidal; in that video, Matt Vidal said:
“If we leave it, if we abandon the Church then it’s never going to change. So we have to continue living here, being an example and encouraging other people to be that example because that’s what’s going to change the Church.”
Vũ is also an “Ordained Minister” with American Marriage Ministries (AMM); according to AMM: “American Marriage Ministries is proud that the Supreme Court has recognized the equal right of all people to marry. We support the rights of our ministers to perform same sex marriage for members of their community!”
In 2015, a local TV news-station reported on the LGBT ministry at Saint Julie Billiart; the Diocese of San Jose posted the completed segment to their official Facebook page; here is part of the transcript:
“Nothing the Church teaches has changed,” Vu said. “The tone has changed.”
Deacon Ruben Solorio with the Diocese of San Jose agrees.
“I think Pope Francis has been that prophetic voice that we have needed to hear in a society that is changing,” Solorio said.
It won’t be easy to change hundreds of years of church doctrine, but this could be a first step…
In a 2015 homily, Pedigo said:
When I hear from the people from the LGBT Catholic community I am struck by their faith and resilience. They believe that there is no such thing as a “disorder” in their lives. They do not see any “grave evil” in their love. In fact, if there is any “disorder” it is the disorder of the lack of self-acceptance. The LGBT Catholic community has a story to tell and their story affirms for us what we should experience within our own lives: that God made us and what God made is good.
In 2014, Fr. John Curran, OMI, a frequent presenter at the Diocese’s yearly “Faith Formation Conference,” offered a “workshop” in San Jose for “Ministers and Parents of Homosexuals.” Citing “Always Our Children,” Curran stated that: “One of its main messages is to say to parents…Their children, and their sexuality, are gifts from God.” He also said: “Primacy of personal conscience is very important. The Church is not your conscience.”
At the 2018 “Faith Formation Conference,” speaking on the LGBT issue will be gay activist and Call to Action member Aaron Bianco from the Diocese of San Diego.