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WINNIPEG, August 27, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archdiocese of Winnipeg has appointed a publicly pro-gay religious to a local parish.
Stated in a memorandum released by the archdiocese on May 27, 2015, Brother Thomas Novak, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), will join Rev. Nicanor Sarmiento, OMI and Br. Rusty Gardiner, OMI at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Winnipeg, effective October 1.
Brother Novak simultaneously acts as the national chaplain of the Canadian chapter of Dignity, a gay activist group that pushes for blanket acceptance of homosexuality within the Catholic Church.
According to their website, Dignity Canada "celebrates [their] sexuality as a gift of God" in addition to believing that their "loving relationships are intrinsically good, and worthy of recognition as marriage in civil law as well as in the eyes of God."
Originally founded in San Diego in 1969 by Fr. Patrick Nidorf, an Augustinian priest and psychologist, the organization was created in response to a belief that the Church was not "meeting the needs of the gay community."
"The Catholic gay people whom I had met were frequently bothered by ethical problems and identity with the Church," claimed Fr. Nidorf. "In counseling gay Catholics, there always seemed to be an excessive and unreal problem of guilt that was sometimes reinforced in the confessional instead of being resolved."
Dignity Canada's mission statement reveals that they "work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings," despite the fact that the teachings in question are dogmatic in nature and therefore immutable.
According to their website, Br. Novak's association with the group is wholly public, no holds barred.
The website contains photographs of him participating in Winnipeg Pride celebrations, and he is listed in several different areas as national chaplain of Dignity Winnipeg.
Brother Novak's move is authorized by Abp. Richard Gagnon, appointed to head the Winnipeg archdiocese by Pope Francis in 2013. In 2003 then Father Gagnon was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul II.
The archdiocese of Winnipeg made headlines in 2007 when anti-Catholic gay activist James Loney was invited to speak at the Winnipeg Catholic Social Justice Conference. The invitation was eventually rescinded on the basis of Loney's criticism of the Catholic Church and not on account of his open homosexuality.
When ChurchMilitant.com contacted St. Kateri parish for a statement regarding the appointment of Br. Novak, the secretary asserted they had no comment and hung up.
ChurchMilitant.com also reached out to the Winnipeg archdiocese for comment but received no response as of press time.
Those who wish to contact the archdiocese can do so here.