Diocese of San Diego promotes LGBT retreat headed by Protestant dissidents

Retreat is given for Catholic parents

Bishop McElroy of San Diego (image from josephsciambra.com)

In the April 22, 2018, Sunday bulletin at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, in the Diocese of San Diego, there appeared an advertisement for a “Q Christian Parents Retreat.” The current “Pastoral Administrator” at St. John’s is Kevin Casey, S.J. The parish also has its own “LGBT Outreach.” In 2017, the parish, located in the center of the San Diego LGBT neighborhood of Hillcrest, hosted a special “gay mass” celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the USCCB document “Always Our Children.” Upon its release in 1996, then Bishop of Lincoln Fabian W. Bruskewitz wrote the following:

“Calamity and frightening disaster” are terms which are not too excessive to describe this document. It is my view that this document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it.

According to the Bulletin at St. John the Evangelist:

The Q Christian Parents’ Retreat is a safe retreat for parents who want to understand their LGBTQIA children’s experience, build a strong community, and feel empowered to connect to their children.

As a Christian parent, when your child comes out as LGBTQIA, you face unique challenges. Where do you find support if your church won’t talk about it, your faith community rejects your child, and your beliefs are now in question?

This event focusing on meeting those needs. Parents will have an opportunity to connect with other parents, to listen and be heard, to choose from breakouts providing education and resources, and to join in worship with other parents of LGBTQIA children.

No matter what questions you have or where you are on this journey, you will be welcomed here! This event is open to all parents and parental figures of LGBTQIA children.

The Q Christian Retreat is organized by the “Q Christian Fellowship” which is a consortium of radical Protestant ministers, theologians and laymen who are advocating for full inclusion of active homosexuals within their various sects.

Theological questions are referred to a companion website titled “Queer Grace.” Concerning the question are – “Are Christians bound by Paul’s condemnation of same-sex relations?”

While Paul may have been condemning same-sex behavior in this passage, it is important to distinguish this from condemnation of a same-sex orientation—a modern concept that would have been foreign to Paul and his contemporaries. Paul’s conception of gender, including sexual behavior, was informed by a deeply misogynistic society with rigidly entrenched gender roles. Some of these remain familiar to modern readers, and others—such as the emphasis on penetration as an expression of masculinity or femininity—are no longer relevant to today’s society. Just as modern Christians may ignore Paul’s belief that women should keep their hair covered, we may also believe that his judgments on sex between people of the same gender were a product of his society, rather than an integral part of a Christian system of belief.

The presenter list at the Q Retreat is composed of Protestant LGBT activists who are even controversial within their own sects.

They include:

Danny Cortez – A former Baptist Minister who was removed in 2014 from his position by the Southern Baptist Convention because of his radical teachings on homosexuality. In 2014, after his own son came out as “gay,” Cortez posted a YouTube video titled “Why I Changed My Mind on Homosexuality.” He went on to found “a new kind of church” in Whittier, California. Cortez argued that the Bible does not condemn the modern concept of homosexual activity, but must be understood within a historical context; he said:

I think part of the problem here in reading Romans 1—in regard to the homosexual passages—is that it’s very natural for us to read it with western eyes, from our own cultural context. We have to understand that Romans was written in the context of their own particular history.

He continued:

The readers of Romans 1, who were very well aware of this evil Roman ruler, would read this passage and think, “We know who you’re talking about.” We know that this is about the excesses. It’s not just homosexual behavior, but it’s the violence of the homoerotic behavior that is occurring in that evil Roman ruler and everyone around him.”…That’s why I think it’s so important for us to not make the mistake of reading Romans 1 and then saying, “Isn’t it clear? Isn’t it clear that God says this?” When, in actuality, the context of the history says so much more.

He concluded with:

Homosexual behavior is not what it was in biblical days, when it was filled with violence and abuse and rape and slavery and temple prostitution. When I go into that world and have to put down the book, and I meet with a lesbian couple who are friends of mine at Starbucks, I think, “What I just came from in my book doesn’t feel like this at all. Because here’s a lesbian Christian couple meeting me for coffee, and they’re praying for me. They’re sharing the words of Christ to me. They’re loving on me.” And I’m like, “This is not what I’m reading about. This is different. This is different.”

Kim Dent – A Protestant author and blogger, Dent is associated with the pro-gay group “Evangelicals for Social Action” and their “Oriented to Love” dialogue series. After the 2017 “Nashville Statement,” authored by the Southern Baptist Convention, Dent openly criticized the document which sought to affirm traditional Christian teachings regarding prohibitions against homosexual activity. She wrote:

I am saddened that this rigid stance leaves no room for Jesus’ beloved LGBTQ+ people to feel welcome to come to him “just as they are.” I am frustrated that churches that were beginning to find some balance may be knocked off of that hard-won peace. I am gravely concerned that the bridge-builders who actively listen for God’s still, small voice might somehow be bullied away from fruitful dialogue right at the moment that the Lord is working out a breakthrough!

Susan Cottrell – A “Featured Speaker” at the Q retreat. She is the author of the books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith,” “True Colors – Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You” and “Radically Included – The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion.” She is the founder of the Protestant LGBT advocacy group FreedHearts which has been endorsed by the pro-gay marriage Human Right Campaign. In 2013, regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, Cottrell wrote:

Marriage equality is coming. With some 85% of under-thirties in support of gay rights, it seems clear that it’s only a matter of time. So what are Christians doing in the meantime? They are becoming increasingly irrelevant. They are in effect dragging Jesus down with them.

In her book, “Mom, I’m Gay,” Cottrell wrote:

Do not throw your Bible at your child in a blind panic. Instead, take those verses that trouble you, along with what you’ve internalized from church, and ask God about it. Let God reveal God’s heart on this. As I walked through this issue, God addressed my doubts specifically and lovingly, showing me that none of the biblical writers had any concept of a loving same-sex relationship – the Bible addresses only sex with slave boys, rape, and temple idol practices. Remember that the Spirit will lead us in all truth (John 16:13). As you hear truth, you will find yourself filled with love and peace for your child, and for the LGBTQ community as a whole. That is when you know you are hearing the very heart of God.

Isaac Archuleta – The other Featured Speaker is an openly bisexual man and psychotherapist who specializes in counseling LGBT individuals who were raised in conservative religious families. He said, “The problem has been in our conservative churches for decades. It’s in our conservative sanctuaries and its metastasizing violence beyond our walls. The problem is a silent machine producing the willingness to hate our neighbors and our own personhood.

I feel the small seed of hatred at work when you ask me to block you from seeing my kisses. Or when I am welcome in your conservative churches, yet kept from sacraments like communion and marriage.”

Please contact the Diocese of San Diego.

Full story at JosephSciambra.com.


  1. The Pastoral Administrator may be way off base for permitting this event or the bulletin item. Unless I missed the specifics in the details, I see nothing that says the Bishop or a Diocesan official approved the event or the announcement.

  2. So many books and articles written, so many speeches made, so many retreats and conferences and workshops held in an attempt to convince people (and themselves) that 2+2=5. It can never be. Yet they try. Oh, how hard and persistently they try. If sex weren’t pleasurable, if it were painful and arduous to conceive a child, nobody would ever dare propose nor think that homosexual relations were neutral or good because the act is so obviously contrary to purpose.

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    Meanwhile the Kalifornia Legislature is moving forward with plans to Ban Sale of the Bible – at least until it Censors any politically un-good discussion of intrinsically disordered Behaviors so beloved of the Alphabet People.

    • Anonymous says:

      this is not true.

      • Anon – Remember we live in a “Post Fact World.”

      • Counseling Ban Advances – AB 2943 (Evan Low, D-Cupertino) will ban counseling individuals of any age who seek help to change unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity issues, declaring any such efforts fraudulent. Financial transactions trigger the law. Alliance Defending Freedom’s legal analysis indicates that the vague language in the bill could also prohibit book sales and conferences that deal with the topic(s). Read more here. AB 2943 passed the Assembly on April 19. Local assembly member votes: Maienschein (aye), Chavez (no), Waldron (no). The bill now moves to the State Senate on Wednesday, May 2.

  4. This must be part of the authentic conscience formation that the bishop was advocating the other day. Remember, there’s no black and white anymore, only pastoral accompaniment to meet people where they’re at and tell them that where they are is just dandy because they are God’s children. Oh, here’s Communion, by the way.

  5. The Watchman says:

    There is no such thing as marriage equality in the eyes of Almighty God. God right from the beginning of time instituted marriage as between a man and woman or husband and wife. It is not the Catholic Church or biblical scripture or Almighty God that needs to change but modern mankind needs to conform their views on this matter to what is clearly stated throughout the Holy Bible. Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus Christ King of Kings Lord of Lords True God and True Man is coming back soon like a thief in the night. Do not believe the lies of the evil one who is trying to deceive and seduce mankind. Turn to a God of love and mercy before it is too late. Repent and Convert! Pray America Pray. Pray Pray Pray!

  6. Wow! Not too long ago Fr. Dillard ran this parish, and it was completely solid. What a mess!

  7. Faithful and True says:

    BINGO!!! Give the Bishop a prize. We knew that it was just a mattter of this bishop feeling acclimated enough before the screws came lose on this door. Now the Bishop is unhinged. Let the games begin. You better believe he knows how to play THIS game! This parish event goes directly against Pope Francis who directed those in leadership to liove all but not support those who advocate for the active gay lifestyle. All the feel good words cannot hide what this is all about. Bishop McElroy has come out of the closet and into the light of day to reveal his vision for the Diocese: “God made the gay person this way. Chastity is not a virtue which when not being practiced is used to restrict heterosexuals from being included or not, and everyone…

    • Faithful and True says:

      Continued: and everyone who expresses their God-given gay state should be lived, welcomed and blessed in their unions.”

    • Anonymous says:

      This has nothing to do with the bishop. The headline and picture are very misleading. This is a announcement in a parish bulletin. It should not be in a Catholic bulletin because it teaches things contrary to the Catholic faith.
      It is not a parish event. It is being held at a nondenominational church.

  8. Bohemond says:

    Yes at this retreat you commingle with heretics, love sodomy and pretend your catholic, you will go to heaven anyway because you are good person

  9. Anonymous says:

    Parents know their children are “I” before they do so there would no need for them to come out to their parents.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think that this kind of propaganda is appropriate at a Catholic Church, in a Catholic bulletin or on a Catholic website.

  11. It is a shame when parents of children who identify as LGBTQIA and are looking for answers and help in understanding their sons and daughters and how best to interact with them, are led astray, given false hope and even told that actively living this lifestyle is no longer considered sinful. St. John the Evangelist Parish and the Catholic Diocese of San Diego should be ashamed for allowing this “Retreat” to take place. The parents and others who attend will be sold a pack of lies with the manipulation of scripture to suit the presenters. How much better for everyone if COURAGE and ENCOURAGE were to be invited to give a weekend presentation of their programs that are in keeping with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. If the…

  12. If the Diocese of San Diego will not sponsor a presentation of COURAGE AND ENCOURAGE, I implore everyone interested in learning about these programs – COURAGE for the person who identifies as LGBTQA, and ENCOURAGE for parents, other family members, and friends of an LGBTQA person., to find out about these programs for yourselves. After all, immortal souls are at stake. But don’t just take it from me – read the testimonies from people who have found hope, peace, and happiness.

  13. Jay S. says:

    The Courage/EnCourage apostolates never really took-off in San Diego, did it? I remember seeing it advertised in THE SOUTHERN CROSS for many years, but whenever I talked to it’s members they would tell me that it remained very small, with hardly any new recruits.

  14. Bob One says:

    Is it a sin to be gay? If a parent learns that a child is gay, should they not have opportunities to learn how to process this information? To learn from others? The Church teaches that we should treat all people, gay or heterosexual, with dignity and acceptance. Too many of us treat LGBT people with disdain, when we should treat them with respect. Even if one does not approve of same-sex marriage, we should treat people with respect. and love, because we know that God treats them with His love. It isn’t a sin to be gay. Only false science says it is a choice.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This has nothing to do with the bishop or the diocese. It was a bulletin announcement in one parish. The story is from Joseph Sciambra blog. Mr Sciambra is a former gay porn star who means well but he used this opportunity to spread false teaching. If you click the links, you end up on pro gay websites, some of which promote organizations like New Ways Ministry which have been condemned by the Church.
    Why promote this stuff? Why take people there?
    If the only point was this parish had something in the bulletin that should not have been there and you want people to call and complain to the diocese, just print that. Don’t promote false teaching and interpretations of Scripture. Don’t link to websites that are not Catholic and not…

  16. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering if possibly the persons responsible at the parish may not have known the type of retreat this was, but the contact person for the bulletin seems to be the same person who is an Outreach Director for Call To Action, another dissident Catholic group.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Also, the retreat includes this breakout session:
    This is one of the breakout sessions that a Catholic really should not participate in as we do not believe in individual interpretations of Scripture:
    Understanding Scripture
    Danny Cortez
    Some people use Scripture to condemn LGBTQ+ relationships and others see Scripture as blessing those same relationships. Are we reading a different Bible or are we coming to Scripture through a different hermeneutical lens? This session will look at the underlying reasons for the different interpretations. Afterwards, I will give some reasons why I believe God affirms same sex relationships and gender identities.

    • What the speaker really means is that at the end of his workshop he will give some reasons why he rejects the clear teaching of Scripture that homosexual relations are contrary to God’s will.

  18. helen wheels says:

    Good Grief !!!

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