HOBOKEN, N.J. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Newark's Cdl. Joseph Tobin is allowing the third-annual so-called LGBT Pride Mass to occur again at the same parish in his archdiocese.
More than two dozen faithful Catholics, including Christ Falciano, protested the event last year.
"All didn't feel welcome, that was for sure," said Falciano.
Falciano related that various parishioners told him they were not pleased about the direction Fr. Santora was taking the parish. One woman wrote to Tobin complaining about the Pride Mass and the cardinal responded, "What can I do about it?"
According to Santora, however, Tobin not only knows about the Pride Mass but also gives it his blessing. During his homily at the gay pride Mass last year, Santora thanked Tobin for allowing the Mass and praised him for welcoming in 2017 a pro-LGBT pilgrimage to Newark's Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
The first so-called Pride Mass occurred at Our Lady of Grace in June 2018. During that Mass, Santora used his homily to claim people were born gay and that theology needed to account for this so-called fact.
The Church has to move in a new direction. First, we need to understand that one's orientation is given. It's not a choice. What's given and what's possible are two different things. And so, oppressing one's orientation is not healthy or good. But somehow our theology has to catch up with where the world is.
In a 2015 op-ed for The Jersey Journal, Santora praised the late, Jesuit, ex-priest Fr. John McNeill, who pushed pro-gay theological dissent in the U.S. Catholic Church. McNeill abandoned the priesthood in 2008 and "married" his homosexual partner.
Writing for the same journal in 2018, Santora rolled out his proposals on how the archdiocese should respond to the sex abuse scandal that was following the downfall of Theodore McCarrick. Part of his proposal included allowing for married clergy and a "greater acceptance for gay clergy."
Santora is only one proponent of Newark's gay subculture that has tentacles dating back to when McCarrick was its archbishop from 1986–2000.
In 2018, Catholic News Agency (CNA) broke the story of open homosexual activity taking place between priests and seminarians in the archdiocese. Multiple priests, most of them speaking anonymously, told CNA that McCarrick was a known to be homosexual predator at Newark's seminary and that the former cardinal was part of a broader subculture of homosexual predation among archdiocesan clergy. Several of these sources told CNA about cocktail parties at which gay priests would groom good-looking seminarians for sex.
Tobin responded to CNA's report by denying any knowledge of such activities.
In a letter to his priests that year, Tobin declared, "No one — including the anonymous 'sources' cited in the article — has ever spoken to me about a 'gay subculture' in the archdiocese of Newark."
The cardinal also raised eyebrows in 2019 when he hired a known LGBTQ leader, Sean Ryan, as head of operations for the archdiocese. Ryan describes himself on his LinkedIn profile as an "[a]ctive leader in McKinsey's LGBTQ network, GLAM, with national-level leadership in LGBTQ and other diversity recruiting."
Tobin also made headlines in February 2018 for sending a tweet, "Nighty-night baby. I love you." The cardinal claimed the tweet was to his sister but offered no proof. The tweet reportedly occurred, however, while Tobin was housing a homosexual actor named Francesco Castiglione at his rectory.
It remains to be seen whether concerned Catholics will again be protesting the event at the parish in Hoboken. Following last year's protest, Falciano said his group felt the urge to protect the Blessed Sacrament. To that end, they gathered outside the church and recited the Rosary.
"We came, we prayed, we were a witness and we left," he related.