UPDATE: Some people have commented that the above photo misrepresents what actually occurred at St. Joan of Arc (SJA). Here’s a link to the original story with additional photos and content directly from the SJA website.
We recently informed you that St. Joan of Arc (SJA) parish in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis allowed a homosexual couple to address the congregation before Sunday Mass on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda reportedly met with SJA’s pastor and parochial vicar, Fr. Jim DeBruycker and Fr. James Cassidy , shortly after this event took place. Archbishop Hebda reportedly instructed the pastor to issue an apology for allowing this event to take place. Here’s what appears to be an attempt at an apology published in the January 27, 2019 SJA bulletin:
The people of Israel had come back from exile. Their homeland was destroyed and it was time to rebuild their society. Who were they? What were their core beliefs? They not only needed physical rebuilding, but psychological and spiritual rebirth. The priests Ezra and Nehemiah found the source for this rebirth in the Torah, the story of their covenant and laws dictating that covenant with God. It said some people cried, partly out of the reestablishment of their identity, and partly out of their fear to be able to live it.
Dare I say St. Joan’s may be a community of exile? It has been said of St. Joan’s that it is the last place you are a Catholic before you leave the church and the first place you come back to when you rejoin. many of us the are the wounded who have been hurt by the Church for many different reasons. It is the source of our motto, We welcome you wherever you are on your journey. We want to hear your story and not judge; we want to experience who you are. This doesn’t mean we agree with everything you believe or do, but we value you and your experience.
Last week we had a wakeup call as we celebrated with a couple over their child’s Baptism and how important it is to them to have a faith community. What was to us a simple celebration was parsed into a credal statement about every aspect of their life and the St. Joan community. Part of the problem was this was put on social media and went, as they say, viral.
Yes, it happened from the pulpit, but before the Mass. It was not meant to be a dogmatic proclamation or a teaching and I am sorry for any who were offended by it. It was us, SJA, celebrating with our parishioners. Just because the couple is gay does not mean we are promoting a ‘gay agenda,’ – whatever that means – any more than we promote every part of our straight parishioners ‘agenda’. We celebrate their presence with us as we do with all our community.
Many of the online comments were about the issues surrounding surrogacy and in vitro fertilization and what it means in terms of respect for women and life issues. According to the Church’s teaching, these issues are not recognized as acceptable and, as many in the parish are unaware of this teaching and its ethical implications, we will look into remedying this through education. Again, I apologize to any who were offended by this and reiterate this was not a credal stance.
Finally, we met with Archbishop Hebda on Tuesday and had a frank and honest discussion about this event. He accepted our apology and understood we were not purposely at odds with him or the Church. He did request we be more proactive in working with our speakers and he asked us to use this as a teaching moment to better present the Church’s teaching on all the subjects we have been challenged with by this event.. I will be writing an open letter for our website in the next few weeks that will discuss these subjects in greater depth. In the Gospel today, Jesus claims his anointment with a passage from Isaiah: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Our task is to always answer with integrity the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’
Here are some questions to ask yourself after reading the pastor’s statement:
- Does this sound like a heartfelt apology?
- Does the pastor understand what he did was wrong?
- Do you have a reasonable hope that anything will actually change at SJA?
Why Archbishop Hebda has continued to allow this den of dissenters to function as a parish is beyond us. Keep in mind this latest event is but one example of a long and sordid history of dissent (examples provided below):
- 2019 – SJA Gives Pulpit to Radical Activist Group President (learn more about ISAIAH here, here and here)
- 2018 – Gay Men’s Chorus to perform at SJA
- 2018 – Out and Sober AA Meetings for LGBT Persons at St. Joan of Arc
- 2017 – Gay dad to speak at SJA on Father’s Day
- 2014 – SJA Puppets of Doom Liturgy
- 2009 – SJA promotes dissident prayer breakfast
- 2008 – Behold, the Palm Sunday liturgy at SJA
- 2008 – St. Joan of Arc causing trouble once again
- 2008- Archdiocese halts church’s annual gay pride prayers
- 2006 – SJA directed to take down gay pride web pages and stop lay homilies
- 2005 – SJA new pastor appears to be more of the same
- 2005 – SJA, a parish gone ill
- 2004 – St. Joan of Arc determined to change Church teaching on homosexuality
- 2004 – St. Joan of Arc, rebuked by Vatican, still hosts gay event
Let’s face it: SJA has been in schism for years! SJA has been given repeated opportunities to reform their ways.
Archbishop Hebda needs to take decisive action and close the doors of this schismatic parish once and for all.