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By Davis Quinlan
On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, the Holy See Press Office held the daily press briefing for the Ordinary Synod on the Family. Normally, a small group of Synod Fathers are present to give a summary of the morning's efforts. The word on the street is the Synod Fathers are exhausted. They have 10 more days to go.
Rwandan pastoral worker and consecrated laywoman Therese Nyirabukeye and Canadian bio-ethicist Moira McQueen were accompanied by the German abbot Jeremiah Schroeder. Father Federico Lombardi read a prepared text minimizing the importance of a letter sent to Pope Francis by a number of cardinals complaining of the process and ideological bent of the organization of the Synod.
The presentations by the auditors and the abbot were unspectacular. They offered no additional insights, nor drive any point home with vigor. It is interesting that Abbot Schroeder was not as forthright as he has been in the lead-up to the Synod, granting interviews to the German press, suggesting that it is time to bless same-sex unions.
Today, Fr. Lombardi again granted to Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of pro-gay New Ways Ministry, the microphone to ask a question. He presented himself once again as from "Bondings USA," failing to identify himself with the condemned New Ways Ministry. DeBernardo's question was as curious as it was revealing. Referring to a phrase that Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica has been gushing with gusto ("the Church as an accompanying mother"), DeBernardo wanted to know how the Church was going to become more an accompanying mother — and less fatherly.
His question revealed the deep emotional and pathological pain that afflicts active homosexuals. The father-wound and its ravenous hunger for masculine approval makes the active homosexual violently angry with his own father, and painfully connected to his mother. Everything — including the Church — gets tainted with this rage. It is not surprising that the ancient expression of Holy Mother Church would rouse the latent mother issues in the homosexual: Emotionally estranged from his father, he is deeply linked to his mother.
The question is not entirely remarkable for a man who was "mothered" into his role at New Ways Ministry. The organization was founded by a subversive nun, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, who happily played the role of sister when it came to advancing her apostasy.
DeBernardo isn't a journalist. But he does have media credentials at the Synod. Recently DeBernardo told Crux that he wants the Church to do away with language such as "same-sex attraction" and to call people "gay" and "lesbian," essentially reducing people to their sexual acts. What is very interesting is how he carefully did not identify himself with his organization, New Ways Ministry.
Who has so cleverly coached DeBernardo to such media sophistication? Who has shown him how to get around the Church's authority and "make a mess"?
It would seem he has learned well from his maternal mentor. Sister Jeannine Gramick is an American nun who in 1977 co-founded New Ways Ministry with Fr. Robert Nugent. New Ways Ministry is a group committed to the full acceptance of sexual activity between people of the same gender, and promotes an ideology that represents a complete rupture with Church teaching. In 1999, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, condemned the activity and issued a doctrinal note of error on the advocacy of alternative lifestyles that Nugent and Gramick promoted. Nugent returned to parish ministry, but Gramick remained defiant. She left what remained of her religious community of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and transferred to an even more liberal and dying congregation, the Sisters of Loretto.
Even the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, under the leadership of Cdl. Francis George, in 2010 declared the positions of New Ways Ministry contrary to the Catholic faith.
But that has not stopped the vigorious activity of Gramick, who mentored DeBernardo into a leadership position for the nefarious group. In July 2014, Gramick organized a pilgrimage of 50 homosexual members of New Ways Ministry to Rome, with Francis DeBernardo as CEO. They had asked for an audience with Pope Francis, since "with this Pope, one can never know."
The private audience never took place as they had requested, nor did the group gain the special access to the baciamano, the reception that follows the general audience, to which they had secured tickets.
They were able to obtain tickets in what is called a "special section" in St. Peter's Square, close to ecclesiastical authorities. These tickets are available on special request. One has to know the right person to ask, and it helps if one is a religious or a priest. Gramick claimed afterwards that the group had received VIP treatment at the Vatican, and that a new spirit had arrived under Pope Francis.
The incompetance of the Holy See Press Office was revealed again when they admitted that the group had not been admitted to the baciamano, but only to the special section. Interestingly, as poor as the Press Office is for the Holy See, it did reveal that Gramick did not disclose the name of the pilgrim group as New Ways Ministry, but rather as a group of American pilgrims accompanied by a "Sister of Loretto."
All of this reveals the maternal mentoring that DeBernardo has received from Gramick. She has used her status as a nun, concealing her apostate views, in order to obtain acceptance of her condemned positions. DeBerndardo obviously has gained access to the Press Office with the help of someone in the Press Office. Credentials are one thing; to be selected twice in three days to ask a question is more than just luck. Something is going on here, and it is much more than a "gospel of inclusion."
DeBernardo is to be pitied. He has had the misfortune of being mentored by a maternal figure who is an apostate and a heretic: Sr. Jeannine Gramick.