ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) - A layperson has written to the archdiocese of Atlanta voicing concerns about a pro-LGBT retreat happening in the chancery.
Church Militant has received a copy of the letter, which is addressed to Bp. Joel Konzen, the auxiliary bishop and diocesan administrator, and Bp. Bernard Shlesinger III, another auxiliary bishop. The author of the letter has asked to remain unnamed.
The letter complains about an upcoming retreat at the archdiocese's chancery, offered by dissident pro-gay group Fortunate and Faithful Families (also known as simply "Fortunate Families"). The pro-gay retreat is scheduled for Sunday, March 1.
The author of the letter argued, "This brand of secular truth-twisting must simply stop in the Catholic Church, and as the heads of our diocese you are the most responsible to stop it and the most culpable if it does not. It is destroying families and souls."
She asked the bishops rhetorically, "Why is this group being excluded from this truth? Why is this group not welcome to the authentic Church teaching that gets them to Heaven too?"
"Please, stop this group from doing any more harm to themselves and their families," she exhorted. "If they want to help their family members, which I truly believe they do, then have them work with the Courage or EnCourage groups." (Courage is a Catholic apostolate that helps those who experience same-sex attraction but strive to live as faithful Catholics, while EnCourage is an apostolate for the loved ones of those struggling with same-sex attraction.)
Atlanta's most recent archbishop, Wilton Gregory, was tapped to head the Washington, D.C. archdiocese last year after Cdl. Donald Wuerl resigned in disgrace.
Prior to his installment in the D.C. archdiocese, Abp. Gregory had a scandalous pro-gay history in Atlanta.
In 2013, he welcomed Fortunate Families into the archdiocese. In 2015, he offered Mass for a theologically dissident pro-LGBT retreat that took place at the chancery — similar to the one scheduled for March 1 this year.
When Gregory was installed as new head of the Washington, D.C. archdiocese last May, Fortunate Families in Atlanta paid for a rainbow-colored advertisement in the Atlanta archdiocese's newspaper thanking their former archbishop and wishing him well in his new post.
In September 2018, Abp. Gregory invited notorious pro-gay Jesuit Fr. James Martin to give talks at two parishes in the archdiocese.
Archbishop Gregory gave the keynote address at the 2017 assembly for the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, a dissident group of clergy that promotes a loosening of Catholic teaching on sexual morality.
Parishioners at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta marched in the Atlanta gay pride parade year after year, and Abp. Gregory did nothing publicly to stop them.
Full Text of Layperson's Letter:
Dear [Bp. Konzen and Bp. Shlesinger],
Yesterday, my parish bulletin had an announcement of a retreat to be held at the chancery from the group Fortunate and Faithful Families. I clicked on the link provided in the bulletin and found these two items:
What philosophy does FFF subscribe to regarding LGBTQ persons?
• We believe God intentionally created LGBTQ people and wants them to live a full life. We believe the Church should be a home for LGBTQ persons exactly as they are and that a culture of shaming LGBTQ individuals is counter to both God's will and Church teaching.
Will you have any special resources for parents/family members of transgender and gender non-conforming persons?
• YES. While most of our attendees are the parents of LGBT persons, we are always blessed with a small but wonderful group of parents with transgender children (including on our leadership team).
This group was advertised as an archdiocesan-approved ministry, which begs the question, are you approving these two, very misguided statements? I am requesting a simple yes or no to my question.
This brand of secular truth-twisting must simply stop in the Catholic Church, and as the heads of our diocese you are the most responsible to stop it and the most culpable if it does not. It is destroying families and souls.
Yes, the Catholic Church is home to all, but no one can stay exactly as they are (unless we are talking male and female), for this will never get anyone to their real home, Heaven. Can those of us struggling with pornography, adultery, drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating, greed, abusive tendencies, fornication, contraception, modesty, etc. not have to change either? If so, why did Christ come to die for us if everyone is good just the way we are? This is simply an illogical possibility.
The exact reason Christ died for each of us and the sole purpose He established His Church, is to transform us to His truth and for His glory — to overcome concupiscence and to make saints of all of us. The Church was not established for secular appeasement, political posturing or for indulging any group of laity's desires of what they want to be true based on current cultural trends or personal circumstances.
Do we think and authentically love so little of the group many today label LGBTQ that we as Catholics are unwilling to proclaim and guide them to the 2,000-year truth that produces saints? Why is this group being excluded from this truth? Why is this group not welcome to the authentic Church teaching that gets them to Heaven too?
The real shame, or to use the words from the group above — the real "culture of shaming" — is that we are allowing these people who need our help to be deceived. We need to lead them to divine help, which is the only help that will truly transform their lives so that they can conform to the authentic will of God and His Church.
Please, stop this group from doing any more harm to themselves and their families. If they want to help their family members, which I truly believe they do, then have them work with the Courage or EnCourage groups. Bring these groups together, so working within proper Church teaching, these families can get the help, the truth they need and deserve. Stop promoting and sponsoring groups and retreats that only retreat from the truth.
Thank you. I continue to pray for you.--- Campaign 31540 ---