A California Catholic Daily exclusive.
The Los Angeles archdiocese website has no resources for those with homosexual inclinations who wish to live according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Instead, the LA archdiocese has a Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons,” which links to multiple dissident Catholic groups and organizations.
On Sunday, June 26th, St. Matthew Church in Long Beach will host the ministry’s 30th anniversary celebration. “This year our Annual Pride Mass has a special significance since it celebrates our 30 Anniversary as a Catholic LGBT outreach group. The Mass follows Los Angeles County’s two major gay pride festivals.
This year’s mass will be held in the church sanctuary and will be followed with a reception in the parish hall, which will include food, drinks, and an opportunity to celebrate our 30 years together as a community that openly and happily includes all of God’s people—gay and straight alike,” reads the website for Comunidad, the “Lesbian and Gay Ministry” at St. Matthew’s. One of the “two major gay pride festivals,” the Long Beach Pride Parade, which occurred on May 22, included a free group marriage ceremony for homosexual couples. St. Matthew sends a contingent to the parade annually and hosts a booth. The archdiocese gay ministry invites people to attend the 30th anniversary mass via a post on their Facebook page.
In a letter approved by St. John Paul II, the Vatican calls homosexual inclinations an “objective disorder” and emphasizes that “special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.”
At the 25th anniversary mass in 2011 hosted by Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, Father Brian Doran identified himself as “gay” during his homily. “We gay people are not weak. We are not soft. The process of “coming out,” although unique to each person, demands courage and strength… But then comes the best part: joy when we meet other gay and lesbian people. Joy when we find out there is a whole community to embrace us. That we can be gay and Catholic. We are experiencing that joy this evening…In this archdiocese there are 287 parishes in 120 cities. Most of them
had baptisms today. That’s makes for a lot of infant Catholics. How many of those little ones are gay or will grow up to be gay? A lot! Have we been gay longer than we have been baptized? Could be! There is a whole new generation right behind us. Twenty-five years from now some of them will be here enjoying their lives as full and active members of our church. And undoubtedly they will be thanking God for this evening, for your efforts.” Fr. Doran will again be the homilist at this year’s 30th anniversary mass.
Arthur Fitzmaurice, then co-chair of the archdiocese ministry and currently resource director for the Oakland-based Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry also spoke at the 25th anniversary mass, describing how Cardinal Mahony founded the gay ministry in the midst of the AIDS crisis.
Fitzmaurice made news in March of this year at an annual conference for religious educators in Los Angeles when he denounced Church teaching on homosexuality as “abusive” and “gravely evil.” The gay ministry has a history of conflict with Church teaching. In 2012, the ministry’s board members defied their bishop, then Salvatore Cordileone, and refused to sign an oath which would bind them to “strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness” and “profess personally to hold and believe, and practice all that the holy Catholic church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, whether from the natural moral law or by way revelation from God through Scripture and tradition.”
The L.A. ministry lists the Oakland group as a resource despite its obvious opposition to Church teachings.
The Oakland diocese website does not list the ministry as a resource and instead refers people to Courage, an international apostolate which is endorsed by the USCCB. Courage calls its members to “ live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.” The gay ministry does not list Courage as a resource.
On its page for parents of those with homosexual inclinations, the ministry says that “Catholic parents typically experience a lack of knowledge about Church teachings and base their beliefs on outdated Church teachings, stereotypes, misconceptions, and ignorance.”
The gay ministry is heavily represented at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. This year, according to the CMLGP Facebook page, there were “four sold-out LGBT-affirming sessions… and one with a transgender topic.” The gay ministry was particularly pleased by the “special moment… at the closing liturgy on Sunday when a gay couple and their son helped present gifts at the altar to Archbishop Jose Gomez.”
To communicate respectfully, contact:
Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Office of the Archbishop of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Phone: (213) 637-7534
Fax: (213) 637-6510