Doug Mainwaring reports for LifeSiteNews — A U.S. prelate appears reluctant to scratch a retreat for “gay” bishops, priests, deacons, and religious brothers scheduled to take place in his archdiocese despite calls for its cancellation from concerned Catholics who see the event as a dangerous affirmation of homosexual identity by those who wear Roman collars.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore is being urged to call off the event, which is sponsored by New Ways Ministries (NWM), a pro-LGBT group condemned by the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It will be led by Father Peter Daly, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. who has a history of advocating for homosexual clergy.

Titled “Love Casts Out Fear: Finding Courage to Speak Our Truth,” the retreat website unselfconsciously proclaims the gathering is designed for the “gay men” who are “disproportionately present in the Catholic clergy.”

The retreat will take place at the Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, Maryland from April 14-16.

A group of concerned Catholics recently reached out to Archbishop Lori imploring him to forbid the retreat from taking place in the archdiocese, saying it is “a scandalous rejection of Church teaching by priests.”

Lori did not respond.

Instead, in an apparent attempt to assuage the group’s concerns, the archdiocese published an article yesterday promoting the work of the Courage apostolate and claiming that it has warned the priests of the archdiocese that NWM “is not recognized by the Catholic Church.” The article contained no statement from Lori condemning the retreat.

The group now plans to hold a protest on March 18, the eve of the Feast Day of St. Joseph, patron saint of true fatherhood, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., outside the Baltimore archdiocesan offices.

“At a time when the Church is reeling from the sex abuse crisis, it is appalling that Archbishop Lori is permitting a retreat for ‘gay bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians’ to be held in his diocese,” Janet Smith, recently retired professor of moral theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, told LifeSiteNews.

According to a just-issued press release, “The protestors are gravely disappointed in Baltimore Archbishop William Lori for his failure to exercise his episcopal authority to prevent this retreat from being led by a Catholic priest and occurring in a Catholic setting. The protest was organized after faithful Catholics were told Archbishop Lori would not comply with these concerns.”

The statement continues:

Protestors respectfully demand that Archbishop Lori (for the sake of the souls leading the NWM Retreat, of those who are considering attending the retreat, and of those who will be scandalized by the retreat) proactively disallow the presenters and attendants from celebrating Mass and/or Reconciliation.

In addition, protestors demand the Blessed Sacrament be removed from the tabernacle at the Bon Secours Retreat Center.

Finally, it is urged that Archbishop Lori exercise his episcopal authority to forbid all priests, deacons, and seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore from attending the event. 

The statement concludes:

Furthermore, by his silence Archbishop Lori is misleading those souls in his Archdiocese, both single and married, who are trying to live out the beautiful, yet challenging, demands of chastity and conjugal love. The eternal destiny of souls under Archbishop Lori’s care lies in the balance.

Kevin Wells, author of the bestselling book The Priests We Need to Save the Church, recently wrote about the planned retreat in a LifeSiteNews commentary.

“Fr. Daly has condemned priestly celibacy in homilies and in his writings,” wrote Wells. “He is an advocate for female and married priests and has conceded to a widespread homosexual culture in the clergy; he has called homosexuality natural and one of God’s gifts.”

“Fr. Daly’s retreat is a blasphemy. It can only be rotten because it excludes God’s grace; in the same way it is impossible for the homosexual act to produce life, it is impossible for a retreat for gay clergy to bear true and lasting fruit,” said Wells. “If a member of the clergy is same-sex attracted, how would attendance act as anything other than an encouragement, consolation, and affirmation? The holy and celibate same-sex attracted priest, who has offered his disposition to God as a lifelong sacrifice, knows to stay far away from retreats such as these.”

“Sacrifice leads to love. And love leads to obedience. So the question must be asked: Why would Archbishop William E. Lori seemingly disobey his calling to lead as a shepherd must when a heterodoxy is set to rear up in his diocese?” asked Wells. “Regardless of whether the sponsoring New Ways Ministry is outside his jurisdiction, true shepherds handle rustlers who’ve made the grave mistake of stepping, uninvited, onto their pastures.”

“And why would Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington permit Fr. Daly, a retired active priest from his diocese, to seemingly poison the minds of an already vulnerable presbyterate?” questioned Wells.

“One phone call from Archbishop Gregory, I imagine, would shut the whole thing down. There is the vow of obedience Fr. Daly can never part from,” he added.

“This is clearly not a retreat designed to underscore the Church’s teaching concerning sexuality and to help the attendees to grow in chastity,” continued Smith. “I commend the laity of Baltimore who, for the sake of souls, have urged Archbishop Lori to use his powers to prevent the retreat from taking place and to make a strong public statement against it. Laity do not like to oppose their leaders; we revere them, but it is long past time that the lavender mafia cease to have influence in the Church.”

Concerned Catholics are being urged to:

  1. Consider participating in the protest planned for March 18 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Archdiocese of Baltimore offices, 320 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
  2. Contact Baltimore Archbishop Lori and ask him to exercise his authority to shut down the event: 410-547-5437 or archbishop@archbalt.org
  3. Contact Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory and ask him to forbid Fr. Peter Daly from leading the retreat: 301-853-4500
  4. Contact the Bon Secours Retreat Center and ask them to decline to host the retreat: 410-442-3120

This story will be updated as events unfold.

Below is the full text of the press release:

FAITHFUL CATHOLICS PROTEST RETREAT FOR “GAY” CLERGY by NEW WAYS MINISTRIES (NWM)

Baltimore, MD, March 11, 2020 – On the eve of the Feast Day of St. Joseph (Patron Saint of True Fatherhood) March 18 from 4–6 pm Catholics are holding a demonstration at the Archdiocesan Offices, 320 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD, against a NWM-sponsored retreat for “gay priests, bishops, deacons, and brothers” taking place in the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the Bon Secours Retreat Center on April 14-16. The protestors are gravely disappointed in Baltimore Archbishop William Lori for his failure to exercise his episcopal authority to prevent this retreat from being led by a Catholic priest and occurring in a Catholic setting. The protest was organized after faithful Catholics were told Archbishop Lori would not comply with these concerns.

NWM has been condemned by the Vatican (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19990531_gramick-nugent-notification_en.html ) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org/news/2010/10-028.cfm).

The protestors are in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church, which states those persons with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (CCC #2358). Archdiocese of Washington retired priest, Fr. Peter Daly, will lead the NWM retreat. In his homilies and writings Fr. Daly has repeatedly advocated the homosexual lifestyle of the laity and the clergy.

In juxtaposition to NWM, active homosexuality in the priesthood is contrary to the nature of the priestly ministry and the human person for several reasons:

  1. The John Jay Report discovered that 80% of the abuse involved males abusing males. Thus some protestors will be holding signs with the figure “80%” on it.
  2. Rev. Dr. Paul Sullins’ analysis of various studies showed that “Extrapolating to all reported abuse, we can estimate that if the concentration of homosexual men in the Catholic priesthood had remained at its relatively low level of the early 1950s, abuse would have been about 85% lower, sparing an estimated 12,594 children, mostly boys, from sexual victimization” (Paul Sullins, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests?” p. 4; online at http://www.ruthinstitute.org/clergy-sex-abuse-statistical-analysis .) Thus, some protestors will be holding signs with the figure “12,594” on it.
  3. In addition, it is not unusual for young men who have confessed same sex attraction and behavior, to have been told by priests that God made them gay and they should try to find a steady partner. This advice endangers immortal souls.

Protestors are not accusing those interested in this retreat of being abusers or of being homosexually active, but are claiming that those who experience same-sex attraction should fully embrace the Church’s teaching that all homosexual sexual acts are not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality as they strive to attain the virtue of chastity.

Contrary to NWM, the protestors advocate a retreat in Sterling, VA, April 27–29 which will offer pastoral guidance on the topics of homosexuality and sexual identity to clergy, religious, pastoral ministers, and lay professionals in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church (https://truthandlove.com/conference2020/).

Protestors respectfully demand that Archbishop Lori (for the sake of the souls leading the NWM Retreat, of those who are considering attending the retreat, and of those who will be scandalized by the retreat) proactively disallow the presenters and attendants from celebrating Mass and/or Reconciliation. In addition, protestors demand the Blessed Sacrament be removed from the tabernacle at the Bon Secours Retreat Center. Finally, it is urged that Archbishop Lori exercise his episcopal authority to forbid all priests, deacons, and seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore from attending the event.

Furthermore, by his silence Archbishop Lori is misleading those souls in his Archdiocese, both single and married, who are trying to live out the beautiful, yet challenging, demands of chastity and conjugal love. The eternal destiny of souls under Archbishop Lori’s care lies in the balance.

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