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SAN DIEGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - The diocese of San Diego is celebrating the 20th anniversary of a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) document promoting homosexuality, called a "calamity and frightening disaster" by another bishop.
San Diego Auxiliary Bp. John Dolan is scheduled to have a "Mass for families of the LGBT community" on October 7 at St. John the Evangelist parish to commemorate "Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message To Parents Of Homosexual Children And Suggestions For Pastoral Ministers," which it calls "an outstretched hand ... to parents and other family members, offering them a fresh look at the grace present in family life and the unfailing mercy of Christ our Lord."
The document, however, was slammed by Bp. Fabian Bruskewitz, then bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, who called it "very flawed and defective" and asserting it was "founded on bad advice, mistaken theology, erroneous science and skewed sociology."
"Always Our Children" was released in October 1997 by the USCCB but in July 1998 the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith forced certain doctrinally troublesome passages to be revised.
The original document asserted childhood homosexual experimentation was a "process of coming to terms with sexual identity," claiming, "isolated acts do not make someone homosexual," and adding, "Sometimes the best approach may be a 'wait and see' attitude."
It also claimed, "It seems appropriate to understand sexual orientation (homosexual or heterosexual) as a fundamental dimension of one's personality." It was later rewritten as "a deep-seated dimension of one's personality"
While those and other passages were changed to conform to Church teaching, the document has faced harsh criticism from Catholic bishops. The three main consultants for the document, Fr. James Schexnayder, Fr. Robert Nugent and Fr. Peter Liuzzi were self-professed homosexual priests who didn't want its contents available to all but a few people in the USCCB, claiming that certain influential bishops would block its publication.
Bruskewitz noted that "the illusion is given, perhaps deliberately and carried forth by the media, to the effect that this is something the U.S. bishops have published," adding that it was "composed without any input from the majority of the American Catholic bishops, who were given no opportunity whatever to comment on its pastoral usefulness or on its contents."
It is pastorally helpful in no perceptible way. Does this committee intend to issue documents to parents of drug addicts, promiscuous teenagers, adult children involved in canonically invalid marriages and the like? These are far more numerous than parents of homosexuals. The occasion and the motivation for this document's birth remain hidden in the murky arrangements which brought it forth.
Regarding the upcoming commemoration, Laura Spencer-Martin, the director for the San Diego Diocese Office for Family Life and Spirituality, comments,"As a diocese we want to be with people, with everyone; especially when people have been hurt. I think he wants to send a message of love, compassion, listening and being with all the people."
She continues, "For us as a Catholic Church, [Dolan] is a representative of the local head [of the church] and the idea – that symbolism – that the Church as an institution is with the people, with all people; that's the message: that we want to be with all people."
The head of the San Diego diocese, Bp. Robert McElroy has come out in support of homosexuality, endorsing the book of prominent homosexualist Jesuit, Fr. James Martin.
Bruskewitz finished his scathing censure of "Always Our Children," asserting, "'Calamity and frightening disaster' are terms which are not too excessive to describe this document," and adding, "It is my view that this document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it."