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ATLANTA (Churchmilitant.com) - Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the archdiocese of Atlanta will be saying Mass Sunday afternoon for a group promoting the acceptance and legitimization of homosexual acts and transgenderism.
Fortunate and Faithful Families is one of several groups claiming to be Catholic, yet who are in open disagreement with Catholic teaching on homosexuality. It associates with dissident groups DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and other Catholics openly criticical of Church doctrine.
Fortunate Families' second annual retreat will be held at the chancery of the Atlanta archdiocese, with Abp. Gregory saying Mass and delivering the homily. The archbishop did the same last year at Fortunate Families' first retreat in the diocese. The Georgia Bulletin, a publication of the archdiocese, describes the event as being about "loving and accepting our LGBT children, strengthening families in faith and encouraging welcoming environments within our Catholic churches."
Fortunate Families was cofounded in 1992 as the Catholic Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry by Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata. They had input and assistance from the homosexualist Bp. Matthew Clark, retired bishop of Rochester, New York, who has promoted controversial positions on homosexuality; Sr. Jeannine Gramick, a Catholic sister and LGBT activist censured by the Vatican, who has advocated for the ordination of women to the priesthood; and Fr. Robert Nugent, also a LGBT activist and cofounder of the dissident New Ways Ministry with Sr. Gramick. New Ways Ministry has been admonished by the USCCB for holding beliefs contrary to Catholic doctrine.
Fortunate Families basically maintains that God created people to be be heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual or transgendered. If He created them that way, they argue, then they can and must act on their sexual orientation, no matter what the Catholic Church says. They believe they can hold this to be true and still be able to call themselves Catholic.
Casey Lopata recently wrote of his experience having a "gay" son and what he learned in his journey towards accepting it:
I simply "knew" homosexuality was wrong. Period. No sin was worse than homosexuality. ... In hindsight, I realized I thought like this because of osmosis: negative Church and societal messages, overt and/or subliminal ... had seeped into my mind. ...
He then goes on, incredibly, to claim that gay sex acts are not always sinful, and indeed may in some cases be required.
[H]omosexual acts are not necessarily a sin (even if considered objectively wrong by the Church, an act is not a sin for a person who honestly believes it's not wrong (for him or her)). ... [If] Jim believes physically expressing his orientation is right for him (even if considered objectively wrong) he not only has a right to do so, but he risks condemnation if he doesn't follow his conscience.
The Atlanta chapter of Fortunate Families claims to have members who are Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, sacristans, RCIA catechists, CCD instructors, and others who work actively in local parishes.
None of this is surprising, considering Abp. Wilton Gregory is a long-standing advocate of the gay agenda in the archdiocese.
He has given New Ways Ministry and DignityUSA a permanent home at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, despite their censure by many Catholic bishops for open opposition to Church teaching. He has done nothing to prevent representatives and parishioners from the Shrine to host a booth and march in Atlanta's Gay Pride parade.
In a letter in The Georgia Bulletin last year, Abp. Gregory gives his reflections on his first meeting with Fortunate Families in September 2013:
The language that the Church uses in speaking of their [children's] sexual orientation is often unwelcoming and condemnatory. These parents said repeatedly that their children do not feel welcome in the faith of the Church in which they were raised.
I assured them that the Church must welcome all of her sons and daughters — no matter what their sexual orientation or life situation might be — and that we have not always done so with a spirit of compassion and understanding. ... The severity of some of our moral language occasionally suggests that certain members of the Church are superior to others.
Archbishop Gregory was instrumental in withholding a Vatican memo from the U.S. bishops in 2004 that clearly directed them to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians. As a result, the bishops voted against a universal application of canon 915, contrary to the clear language of the text, which mandates denial of Communion to manifest public sinners.
ChurchMilitant.com reached out to the archdiocese to get their comment on the upcoming LGBT retreat, but as of press time we've received no response.