Catholic Charities Removes Pro-LGBT Tweets

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 11, 2020   

Questions arise about archbishop's role

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SAN FRANCISCO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholic Charities San Francisco (CCSF) removed various tweets in support of "Pride Month" and sadomasochistic homosexual activities not long after a report on the organization's social media activities surfaced, leading some to wonder where the San Francisco archbishop stands.

On Tuesday, Sons of St. Joseph published a story spotlighting CCSF's recent pro-LGBT social media activity that included six screenshots ranging from late April to this week. All six tweets disappeared by Wednesday.

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Liza Cardinal Hand

"June is #PrideMonth. Catholic Charities would like to wish everyone a happy pride. We continue to be a leader and a champion of our friends in the #LGBTQ+ community," read the first tweet.

"June is #PrideMonth. Catholic Charities would like to wish everyone a happy pride," read the second tweet published on Monday.

Another tweet posted on Friday advertised celebrating Pride Month at home in the wake of the Wuhan virus: "Although Pride Month will look different this year, we are still coming together to celebrate our #LGBTQ community and honor 50 years of #SanFransciscoPride. Festivities start at noon today!"

On the first of this month, CCSF launched its recognition of Pride Month with a retweet of local area website 7X7's article titled, "Pride in Place: 50 Ways to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of San Francisco Pride." Among the 50 ways, the article suggests wandering the leather district, eating a "cookie d**k" and getting "stoned, courtesy of a lesbian-owned cannabis delivery service."

The leather district is the center of Leather and BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism) in San Francisco and the cookies are available at Hot Cookie, which according to its website, is famous for its "notorious penis and Venus cookies" and its "wall of hot customers posing in our signature Hot Cookie underwear."

June is #PrideMonth. Catholic Charities would like to wish everyone a happy pride. We continue to be a leader and a champion of our friends in the #LGBTQ+ community.

Church Militant reached out to the San Francisco archdiocese to learn if Abp. Salvatore Cordileone, who is the chair of the board for CCSF, was aware of the organization's pro-LGBT activity. The media contact for the archdiocese directed Church Militant to contact CCSF's communications and marketing manager. 

Church Militant then reached out to CCSF's communications manager, Liza Cardinal Hand, and received the following statement: "Catholic Charities is committed to the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The posts shared on our social channels were not authorized and posted in error. For more information about Catholic Charities' work in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, please visit www.CatholicCharitiesSF.org."

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The archdiocese later provided the following message: "The post was sent out by a lower-level employee and was unauthorized by Charities' leadership. When leadership became aware the post was immediately taken down."

Church Militant also spoke with Joseph Sciambra, who runs Sons of St. Joseph. 

"The cover-up continues," he said. "I am not surprised that the archdiocese has removed those tweets. This is the fourth time this has happened." 

Other Questionable Incidents

Sciambra recounted three earlier instances in which Sons of St. Joseph reported on pro-LGBT activity in the archdiocese.

The first report involved James Dewan, a candidate for the deaconate at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro district. When so-called same-sex marriage became the law of the land in 2015, Dewan voiced his support on social media, saying, "I personally do not understand why some people object so vehemently to same-sex marriage, aka marriage. It doesn't affect them one iota. Quite frankly we don't [need] approval. God is love, and that love is expressed in so many different ways."

And on the day of the San Francisco Pride Parade that year, Dewan posted an image of a statue of the Virgin Mary draped in colorful beads given away every year at the parade by Most Holy Redeemer parishioners.

The second report involved the parish manager of Most Holy Redeemer, Michael Poma, who also posted pro-LGBT messages on social media and published on Facebook that he was in a relationship with another male in 2014.

The third report involved Most Holy Redeemer's Young Adults Ministry connection to Ish Ruiz, a pro-gay advocate teaching religious studies at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco. On its Facebook page in 2017, the youth group called for "a moment tomorrow to thank Ish Ruiz for the great work he has done and will continue to do representing us in his testimony after each of the Masses this weekend, but also in so many other ways, both at MHR and within the broader Church."

I am not surprised that the archdiocese has removed those tweets. This is the fourth time this has happened.

"When I have informed the archdiocese (specifically Cordileone himself) about the pro-gay (often crude and gross) social media posts by people of authority at Most Holy Redeemer," Sciambra explained, "their accounts are closed, locked-down or scrubbed, while they maintain their place of authority at the parish."

He noted Mike Poma is still the parish manager and James Dewan is still in the San Francisco diaconate program and the Young Adults Group at Most Holy Redeemer. 

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Abp. Salvatore Cordileone

Where Does Abp. Cordileone Stand?

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cordileone the archbishop of San Francisco in 2012. 

At the time, executive director of pro-LGBT New Ways Ministry Francis DeBernardo said, "Bishop Cordileone's record on LGBT issues has not been welcoming. He will have to learn to be more sensitive and pastoral as he takes over in the archdiocese of San Francisco, which has a large LGBT community, and very active and organized groups and parishes of LGBT Catholics."

"Lay Catholics in San Francisco will need to work with Bp. Cordileone to let them know what kind of leadership that they want from him," he continued. "If he does not heed the prayerful requests of faithful Catholics there, the church in San Francisco will be greatly diminished."

Jamie Manson of the National Catholic Reporter was also displeased with the appointment. 

"It's very likely Cordileone's role as the 'Father of Proposition 8' landed him the position in Oakland, the role as chairman of the USCCB's [U.S. Catholic bishops'] subcommittee on the defense of marriage and, ultimately, his elevation to archbishop of San Francisco, a city in which 75% of the population voted against Prop 8," he said.

Proposition 8, originally titled the "California Marriage Protection Act," was a California ballot proposition to add a new section to Article I of the state's constitution to read: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." It passed in 2008 but was ultimately overturned by federal courts. 

For the majority of Catholic laity in this country who support marriage equality, Cordileone's promotion is only further, glaring evidence of the hierarchy's deepening descent into meanness, spitefulness and pastoral insensitivity.

"With this latest appointment, the Vatican solidifies its 'pack mentality' approach to promotions," continued Manson. "Nowadays, a man earns his stripes and proves his loyalty to the hierarchy by attacking a group the hierarchy perceives as a threat to survival, even if the threat is based on nothing more than fear and paranoia." 

Manson went on to say that "for the majority of Catholic laity in this country who support marriage equality, Cordileone's promotion is only further, glaring evidence of the hierarchy's deepening descent into meanness, spitefulness and pastoral insensitivity."

While the archdiocese under Cordileone has a Courage chapter — a Roman Catholic apostolate that offers support for those dealing with same-sex attraction — some Catholics are wondering if these pro-LGBT groups like New Ways Ministry ever had to fear an interruption of their business-as-usual in San Francisco.  

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