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LA VERNE, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) - An openly gay priest lied to Church Militant about being put in charge of an all-boys Catholic high school.
In November, Church Militant was tipped off that Fr. Richard Danyluk, an openly gay priest, was slated to take over as president of the prestigious all-boys Damien High School in La Verne, California.
A source, concerned for the direction the school is heading, explained that a phone message was sent to all school families explaining that their current president, Fr. Peadar Cronin, was leaving and Fr. Danyluk was taking over as interim president.
Church Militant reached out to the school, the order that runs the school and the archdiocese of Los Angeles to confirm the appointment back in November. None of the people we contacted could or would confirm Fr. Danyluk's appointment.
Church Militant contacted Fr. Danyluk directly, who replied via email, saying, "No I do not have a new assignment, I have enough here at Holy Name of Mary."
Over the weekend, Church Militant obtained an email from the director of advancement, marketing and outreach at Damien High School, Stephen Quintero, confirming the new leadership team includes Fr. Danyluk fulfilling the role as the interim president.
The email said, "In November 2018, Fr. Richard Danyluk, SS.CC., Pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church (San Dimas, CA), was named as the Interim President of Damien High School."
Church Militant reached out to the diocese of Los Angeles, both the director of media and the Office for Catholic Schools in late November. Media relations didn't respond to our request, and the Office for Catholic Schools said, since the school was run by a religious order, they could not confirm any changes to the leadership.
Church Militant then contacted the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who also could not confirm any change to the leadership.
Multiple calls were placed to the school, and eventually, we spoke with the vice principal, Jeff Coray, who refused to comment and told us to "never call here again."
Father Danyluk has been the pastor of Holy Name of Mary parish and the administrator of Holy Name of Mary School for nine years. Archbishop Jose Gomez, the ordinary of the diocese of Los Angeles, has allowed his pastorship and has not publicly commented on Fr. Danyluk's openness about his sexuality.
In 2005, Fr. Danyluk "came out" to his parishioners at St. Joseph Basilica in Almeda, in the diocese of Oakland, California. Angered by Pope Benedict's XVI 2005 proposed guidelines to ban gay seminarians, he decided to speak out.
In an article in the San Francisco Gate that has been recently removed from the site, Fr. Danyluk admitted to being an active homosexual while he was in the seminary. He later came to feel it was "sick" that he was using his fellow seminarians and claimed, "It was the acting out."
To avoid the internal conflict caused by his illicit sexual relations, he said he began drinking heavily. "It gave me a little more freedom to do things that I knew were wrong," he said.
This continued until he was arrested a second time for drunk driving in 1999. His last homily before he left for a rehab center in Minnesota was an apology for his alcoholism — not his active homosexual lifestyle.
He admitted feeling at odds with the Church's teachings on homosexuality that he would hear growing up. He said the Scripture passage where God told Jesus, "You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" struck him one day as meaning God was saying that to everyone.
"I don't need a priest or a bishop or a pope to tell me who I am. I want everyone else to have that same right," he said.
Holy Name of Mary has 90 ministries, including Boundless Compassion and No Barriers to Christ, a ministry for LGBT people and their families.
LGBT-affirming programs have not been shown to help with suicide rates. It has also been shown that transgenders who have gone through with sex-reassignment surgeries are 19 times more likely to die from suicide.
Boundless Compassion was written by Joyce Rupp and has been used extensively by the dissident priest Fr. Greg Boyle and praised by Fr. James Martin. Both Boyle and Martin have spoken favorably of gay marriage.
The six-week retreat teaches, "The seeds of compassion are symbols of the four main spiritual qualities necessary for compassion growth: nonjudgment, nonviolence, forgiveness and a mindfulness." It quotes from the Dalai Lama, ancient Chinese proverbs and teaches centering prayers.
"The techniques of centering prayer is neither Christian nor prayer," Fr. John Dreher wrote for Catholic Answers. "They are at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God." He said the technique originated with Hinduism and the effects are like a "self-hypnosis — a sleep-like state where participants' consciousnesses are focused inwardly and highly susceptible to suggestion."
Father Dreher noted centering prayers are dangerous, especially when done in large groups and can lead to "the delusion that one has found and pleased God," self-absorption and opening oneself to demonic influence.
The email from Damien High School states that Fr. Cronin "has taken a leave of absence from his role as President at Damien High School to deal with some personal health issues." Quintero asks for prayers for his "speedy recovery and we look forward to his future return to the school."
Father Cronin's swift departure is reminiscent of the previous president's forced retirement.
Prior to Fr. Cronin's tenure as president of the school, Fr. Patrick Travers served as the president and pastor for 49 years. In 2011, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary abruptly removed him.
In an exclusive interview with La Verne Online, Father Travers explained he didn't know he was being removed or why until it happened.
"It was a hurtful, devastating thing," Travers said.
The official statement on Damien High School's website stated:
Recently, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts considered it appropriate and timely — at the imminent approach of his 75th birthday — that Fr. Pat be allowed to take a respite from his lengthy labor of love to enjoy a much deserved and long overdue sabbatical.
Father Travers said he wasn't privy to any of the conversations about the decision to replace him, saying neither the archdiocese of Los Angeles or the order talked to him. He said he never even got a phone call and only learned of his termination when he was called in and told by his replacement, Fr. Cronin.
Church Militant again reached out to the archdiocese of Los Angeles, Damien High School and Fr. Danyluk for comments but they didn't respond to our request.