HELENA, Montana (ChurchMilitant.com) - A controversial U.S. bishop, known for promoting the gay agenda, has died. Retired Abp. Raymond Hunthausen died at the age of 96 on Sunday among his family in Helena, Montana, where he was bishop from 1962–75 and archbishop of Seattle from 1975–91.
In Seattle, he came to loggerheads with the faithful over his liberal, dissident policies. In the 1980s, a Vatican investigation into the Seattle archdiocese concluded that Hunthausen was a morally weak leader, demonstrating laxity and even heterodoxy regarding divorce, homosexuality and other issues.
The investigation noted that he was permitting intercommunion with Protestants, calling for broad usage of general absolution in lieu of hearing confessions, using "listening sessions" to present the idea of female ordination and allowing pro-gay groups to have events on Church property — including condemned Dignity Masses.
After the investigation, Vatican officials assigned then-Bishop Donald Wuerl as an auxiliary bishop in Seattle to help keep Hunthausen in check. Wuerl is currently a cardinal heading the archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Involved in the investigation was Abp. James Hickey of Washington, D.C., who retired in 2000 and died in 2004.
Prior to his passing, Hunthausen was the only living bishop who had attended all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council. Liberals triumphed him as embodying the so-called "Spirit of Vatican II."
In 1980, Hunthausen led the bishops of Washington to publish a statement called "On the Morality of Being a Single-Issue Voter." The document downplayed the importance of abortion in comparison to other issues and accused pro-lifers of being single-issue voters, saying, "A Catholic Church which thinks in terms of only one issue has given up its birthright."
A piece in the October 2015 issue of America lauded Abp. Hunthausen as a committed anti-war activist. Likewise, the dissident-run National Catholic Reporter has repeatedly praised Abp. Hunthausen's vocal opposition to war and nuclear weapons.
Dissidents and liberals in the Church propped up Abp. Hunthausen as a champion of their cause and a martyr persecuted by the institutional Church. Some claim the archbishop's anti-nuclear activism, a cause loosely associated with the Left in America, was what really drew the ire of more conservative-leaning Catholic leaders.