The Rev. Joe Nassal (pictured above) is provincial director of the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. In the August 2012 issue of “Communion: The Monthly Newsletter of Catholics for Marriage Equality in California,” a periodical published by Dignity, Nassal wrote:
From a spiritual/theological viewpoint, it all depends on where we begin. Do we begin with the belief that we are created flawed (original sin) or do we begin with the premise that we are made in the image and likeness of God? I believe it is the latter which is why DIGNITY is such a powerful and appropriate name. We are made in God’s image!
Dave Matz and I were able to attend the Dignity Mass on Sunday and it was a prayerful and spirit-filled liturgy. The priest gave a wonderful reflection on “the other” as “the beloved.”
Dignity is a discredited organization that promotes a gay-affirmative agenda within the Catholic Church. One of their statements of position and purpose affirms the following:
We believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons can express their sexuality in a manner that is consonant with Christ’s teaching. We believe that we can express our sexuality physically, in a unitive manner that is loving, life-giving, and life-affirming.
One of the stated goals of Dignity is to: “work for the development of sexual theology leading to the reform of its teachings and practices regarding human sexuality, and for the acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender peoples as full and equal members of the one Christ.”
On December 11, 2010, Nassal and Matz sponsored a “Day of Reflection” for Dignity at the Missionaries’ residence, Sonnino House, in Berkeley.
According to the 2012 “Appendix to the Acta of the XX General Assembly of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood:”
“In 2008, Father David Matz proposed new ministry with and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.”
In 2013, Matz and the Missionaries sponsored a presentation to The Heart of America Men’s Chorus, a “gay” male choral from Kansas City; the theme was:
Homosexuality is one of God’s most significant gifts to humanity. To be gay or lesbian is to have received a special blessing from God. All humans receive their own special graces from their creator, but God has chosen some to be gay and lesbian as a way of revealing something about God-self that heterosexuals do not.
David Matz also serves on the Board of Directors, having the title “Director-at-Large,” of the Berkeley-based dissident group the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM.) One of the co-founders of CALGM is retired Diocese of Oakland priest James A. Schexnayder. In his 2011 book “Setting the Table: Preparing Catholic Parishes to Welcome Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender People and Their Families, Schexnayder stated that the use of the term “objective disorder” in the 1986 document on homosexuality from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, should be merely “understood in a philosophical manner and not as a moral judgment.”
Arthur Fitzmaurice, currently (since 2010) serves as Resource Director for 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 June of 2014, the Missionaries hosted the Board of CALGM at Sonnino House.
In 2014, the Archdiocese of San Francisco assigned two priests, Frs. Jack McClure and Matthew Link, from the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, to the predominantly “gay” parish of Most Holy Redeemer. The previous Pastor, Fr. Brian Costello, had requested a transfer although he just arrived at the Parish in 2012. Costello said: “It just didn’t work out. I did the best I could. My best was just not good enough for a lot of people here…There are real challenges here.” In his book “Setting the Table,” Schexnayder praised Most Holy Redeemer as “a true spiritual home” for those gay and lesbian people who live in the neighborhood. David Matz had spoken at the Parish in 2006.
In 2016, the Missionaries hosted an event on “LGBT Life in the Church,” which included the participation of New Ways Ministry co-founder Sister Jeanine Gramick and their current Executive Director Francis DeBernardo. In 1999, after a lengthy Vatican investigation, the Holy See found that the positions advanced by Gramick were “doctrinally unacceptable” and she was “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons.” After the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, Bernardo wrote:
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.
In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I, Archbishop of Chicago and then-President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the status of the organization “New Ways Ministry;” here is an excerpt:
“No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.”
On his blog, Father Jeffrey Keyes, who was ordained in 1991 to the priesthood with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, wrote:
As more and more the Missionaries of the Precious Blood are known as the gay friendly congregation in California, and after living in a rectory for several years with members who believe in woman’s ordination and same-sex marriage and who question all the moral teachings of the church, it was time to go. I did not leave my community. My community left me.
The March 31, 2013 issue of “Amici, C.PP.S.,” a periodical published for the lay associates of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, included an article “LGBT and a New Pope” by Rich Mickley. At the beginning of the article, Mickley lambasted Pope Benedict XVI for his supposed ill-treatment of dissident priest John J. McNeill, S.J.:
Cardinal Ratzinger, inflicted public, world-wide humiliation and denunciation upon a very holy and beloved LGBT man, an outspoken advocate for LGBT people. He worked to provide recognition of God’s love for and the inherent birth right of LGBT as children of God and blessed by God in their life and love.
Common sense tells us, and we don’t need a pope to confirm or deny it. Common sense tells us Jesus would say, “Love the person you love,” and he would not add, “if the church approves.“ He says, Love love love.
So, when we who are victims of a tangential sex-negative theology — tangential because it’s a tangent from the apostles Creed and Nicene Creed — ponder our connection to history, we look to Jesus. And sadly, we know, that whatever cardinal appointed by John Paul II or Benedict XVI is not likely to bring common sense to the Vatican regarding equality for women or LGBT people.
John J. McNeill was an open and active homosexual who authored the influential book “The Church and the Homosexual,” published in 1976; ordained in 1959, McNeill received a doctorate in philosophy from Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium in 1965; that same year he met Charles Chiarelli in a New York “gay” bar. They became lovers and the couple eventually married in Canada in 2008.
After the publication of his book, McNeill was silenced by the Vatican; for nine years, McNeill kept a somewhat lower profile, but continued his ministry with homosexual men and women: giving lectures, workshops and retreats. Then, in reaction to the Vatican’s 1986 Letter which referred to homosexuality as an “objective disorder;” McNeill spoke out publicly against the teaching; of the now famous Letter, McNeill wrote:
“Rome took a giant step backward when it asserted that homosexual orientation was not a natural condition but represented an ‘objective disorder’ and was an ‘orientation to evil.’ Since most gay people experience their homosexual orientation as a part of creation, if they accept this Church teaching, they must see God as sadistically creating them with an intrinsic orientation to evil. Most gays would prefer to see the Church teaching as wrong, rather than believe God is sadistic.”
Finally, in 1987, McNeill was again instructed to give-up all ministries with gays and lesbians – this time, he disobeyed the order and this led to his expulsion from the Jesuits. Still a priest, but barred from performing most priestly functions, he called himself “a Jesuit in exile.” In a final show of defiance, that same year, McNeill was the grand marshal of the New York City gay Pride parade. This official break from the Church began a rather sad and pathetic last slide into hardcore sexual apologetics by McNeill. In his writings, McNeill began to expound the most scurrilous of theories, including what he interpreted as the miraculous healing of the Centurion’s “gay” lover by Christ, that Mary Magdalene and Martha were actually lesbians and that Lazarus was a “gay” man; and, finally that Christ Himself and the Apostle John were lovers: “Any one of you who have a gay sensibility will be keenly aware of the special nature of the relationship of love that reunites Jesus and John.”