Bad groups within and without and knowing who our friends are

Remember distinctions of ad intra and ad extra when it comes to matters that concern the Church?

Remember my posts about the “Magisterium of Nuns”?

Remember how the “Catholic” Health Association gave cover against the local bishop to a “Catholic” hospital in Phoenix which performed a direct abortion?

The Cardinal Archbishop of Washington DC has some strong words about New Ways Ministry, founded by Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Fr. Robert Nugent.

New Ways Ministry dissents from Catholic teaching, defends unnatural sex, objectively sinful behavior, between members of the same sex.

Card. Wuerl has made it clear that New Ways Ministries is not Catholic, the stuff they peddle isn’t Catholic, and that they shouldn’t use the word Catholic for what they do.

CNA has a write up about this.

US bishops emphasize booklet on ‘marriage equality’ is not Catholic

Washington D.C., Mar 16, 2011 / 02:46 am (CNA).- The U.S. bishops have said that a new booklet advocating “marriage equality” for same-sex couples by a self-identified Catholic group strongly contradicts Church teaching.

In “no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. said March 11, The cardinal was specifically referring to a new pamphlet released by the controversial New Ways Ministry – an organization that claims Catholic support for homosexual “marriage.”

The booklet titled “Marriage Equality: a positive Catholic approach” [Therein lies a problem: this approach is not Catholic.] was authored and released this month by New Ways Ministry’s executive director Francis DeBernardo.

DeBernardo argued that the “full” Catholic position on same-sex “marriage” is not represented solely by bishops within the Church. [Therein lies another problem.  I hope the US bishops are getting what is going on here, the bigger arc.]

“When dealing with lesbian and gay issues, a relatively new area of Church discussion on which there is so much debate,” DeBernardo wrote, “the bishops may not yet be able to discern what the Catholic community believes.” [And so they align themselves with the Magisterium of Nuns.  They are working not just to justify deviancy, but also to supplant the bishops as the Church’s teachers.]

The booklet also claimed that “Catholic tradition” allows for laity and theologians within the Church – some of whom support allowing marriage for same-sex couples – to have equal say and authority on the issue. [New Ways Ministry LIED.]

Cardinal Wuerl, who heads the Committee on Doctrine for the U.S bishops’ conference, reacted to the pamphlet by stating that New Ways Ministry is not “in conformity” with Catholic teaching and that the group should refrain from even identifying itself as Catholic.

Cardinal Wuerl also reiterated his support for the position of the previous U.S. bishops’ conference president Cardinal Francis George, who stated in February of 2010 that the organization is not Catholic and does not speak for the Church.

New Ways Ministry, based in Mount Rainier, Maryland, describes itself as a “gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice.” Cardinal George noted in his Feb. 12 statement last year that since its founding in 1977, “serious questions” have been raised about the group’s adherence to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

In 1984, New Way’s founders – Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Fr. Robert Nugent – were barred from continuing their activities in the Archdiocese of Washington.  [There are a lot of problems these days in the Church.  There are groups such as New Ways Ministry trying to subvert the authority of the bishops on a lot of fronts.  I submit that the last thing prelates of Holy Catholic Church need to worry about are groups which desire to make use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  As a matter of fact, these groups would go to the wall in support of, defense of Card. Wuerl and other residential bishops everywhere, were they embraced rather than shoved to the margins.]

That same year, their superiors ordered them to separate themselves from the organization. The two resigned from leadership posts but continued their involvement until 1999, when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that because of “errors and ambiguities” in their approach, Sr. Gramick and Fr. Nugent are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual individuals. [But their legacy lives on.]

Cardinal George said New Ways Ministry’s “lack of adherence” to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts was the “central issue” in the censure of its founders and continues to be its “crucial defect.

Tom Peters has a good write up on the situation entitled: “Who is funding the coordinated attempt to subvert the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage?”  Be sure to check it out.  T. Peters points to the role of the anti-Catholic pro-homosexual Arcus Foundation:

New Ways Ministry received almost $100,000 from the Arcus Foundation in 2009. (Anyone who works for a small non-profit will appreciate how far $100k goes.) The Arcus foundation was founded by Jon Stryker, a friend of Tim Gill, a gay billionaire from Colorado who has promised to spend the entirety of his vast fortune on redefining marriage in the United States.

Arcus Foundation is funding anti-Catholic pro-homosexual groups within the sphere of the Church.  By the way, arcus in Latin for “rainbow”.

Consider the triangulation that is taking place.  There are dissident groups within the Church.  Some of them are puppets and ridiculous, though they muddy the waters.  Others are pernicious and they want to take power away from the Church’s true pastors.  There are bad groups outside the Church which desire to destroy the authority of the Church’s pastors.

I think that, as time passes, our bishops will figure out who their friends are.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ad Abolendam says:

    Given everything that’s transpired with this group over the years, I cannot wrap my mind around how there are still priests serving on its boards of directors and advisors. Both, I would hasten to add, are from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

  2. JARay says:

    I would like to repeat the clinching phrase which that excellent blog “The Sensible Bond” posited with regard to the discussion between the SSPX and the Vatican. The argument revolved around the matter of whose theologians represented the Magisterium. Ches posited that the Magisterium resides within Rome and nowhere else. If Rome has spoken then there is no contrary position possible. In the matters which are raised here, Rome has spoken. There is NO contrary position possible.

  3. FrCharles says:

    It’s tough times. Just yesterday I received an invitation to a prayer service to be presented by the ‘gay, lesbian, and bisexual’ student group at a Catholic school of theology.

  4. Tina in Ashburn says:

    For anyone who is confused about why the Church teaches what it does, the underlying problem with homosexuality is that of CHASTITY.

    Here in this pernicious environment, these waters are stirred with disobedience and lying.

    I am happy to see Cardinal Wuerl speaking out against this group. I too wish he was more supportive of the pious crowds that want the fuller expression of the Catholic Faith in the Tridentine Mass.

  5. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z wrote, “There are dissident groups within the Church. Some of them are puppets and ridiculous, though they muddy the waters. ”

    Indeed. While New Ways Ministry has always been an organization that has clearly been “outside the Church” despite Sister Jeanne Grammik’s and Father Robert Nugent’s involvement with them, many official diocesan groups that “minister” to “gays and lesbians” (their usage) are truly not friends of the bishops either, despite the fact that they have the blessings of their diocesan bishops and are under the moderation of priests who serves as their “spiritual directors.” Moreover, there is an increasing number of colleges and universities who have established an organization called the “Gay Straight Alliance” in their schools which acts as an advocate for college students who want their lifestyles to be accepted and even celebrated on Catholic college campuses. Of course, this doesn’t even take into account the “Queer Studies” minor at De Paul University and the myriad other pro-homosexual organizations and “academic” studies at Catholic universities across the nation that are allowed to continue right under the noses of the bishops.

    While I applaud Cardinal Wuerl’s response to the errors of New Ways Ministry , I believe that groups that continue operate within the Church’s structures are even more dangerous and need to be dealt with as well. After all, they are operating within a diocesan structure where a bishop has not only the power but also the obligation to do something about them.

  6. albizzi says:

    “presented by the ‘gay, lesbian, and bisexual’ student group at a Catholic school of theology.”

    I wonder which kind of “theology” these students are taught.
    A new god named SEX?

  7. SimonDodd says:

    Well done Card. Wuerl. Paging Bp. Finn of Kansas City!

  8. Centristian says:

    Perhaps it is less than generous of me to imagine that organizations like these (organizations or groups that defy the teachings of the Church while at the same time presuming upon the name “Catholic” or upon some confected affinity with the Catholic Church) suffer from an incorrect perception of Catholicism, altogether.

    Pardon me, if I naysay, but I have the feeling that such organizations (and the individuals affiliated with them) view Catholicism as less of a religion of doctrines and beliefs, with a hierarchical Church in the service of a Deity, and more of a mere social and cultural prism through which they view themselves.

    Their approach is an undeniably humanistic approach, and Catholicism, for them, is little more than a cultural label that they wear, and think they have the right to wear, perhaps because they were born Catholic and were raised in a culturally Catholic environment and maintain a connection to that environment, to that label. That is what Catholicism is. It’s not the pope, it’s not the bishop, it’s not the clergy, it’s not even the teachings of the Church…it’s that cultural thing that I identify myself as belonging to.

    Since that’s really what Catholicism is (and not that other archaic, triumphalistic stuff about popes and doctrines) I can say I am a Catholic while at the same time lending my support to same-sex unions and women clergy and I can also contribute to magazines that trash the Church whence the name of my cultural identity comes, in hopes that the word “Catholicism” will one day no longer be associated with…that thing…but with me and my social and cultural outlook.

    Being a priest or a nun in this “Catholicism”…the Catholicism that matters…means being something of a cross between a social worker, a guidance counselor, and a guru. That’s all. It doesn’t matter that the organization in question defies the teachings of the Catholic Church, we can still be priests and nuns and belong to it and encourage it, since for us it is not the Catholic Church that defines Catholicism anymore. It is our cultural sense that creates, continues, and defines it. We answer to no pontiff, to no prelate, to no all-male hierarchy; we answer to Jesus. We answer to the Jesus that we have created in our own image, who always teaches just what we believe, no matter how changing or fickle or contradictory those beliefs.

    This is, I think, how a New Ways Ministry justifies a claim upon Catholicism. This is, I think, how a news journal like “National Catholic Reporter” lays claim to the word “Catholic”. This is, I think, how certain priests and nuns justify their very existence.

  9. Christo et Ecclesiae says:

    Good for Cardinal Wuerl!

    Centristian: I really enjoyed your comment about the Novus Ordo on the other post, though I’m not really sure how to react to this one. No one can really have a “claim” upon Catholicism. That is, to be Catholic, is to be part of Jesus supernatural body in the fullest sense – physical and spiritual submission to His Spirit and the laws and moral position of His Church. We answer to Jesus, but luckily He provided us with the a Pope and Bishops who act in His name to guide His Church… without a consecrated hierarchy, combined with the belief that we answer solely to Jesus (in a fashion that bypasses His Holy Church), I think we will find ourselves in a decidedly protestant position.

    “We may take the view – Blessed John Henry Newman certainly did – that Christian life lived outside the Catholic Church will always be overwhelmed by the priorities and values of liberal society. According to this view, the churches will eventually go along with whatever the world wants” -Fr. Andrew Burnham of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

    In other news, I shuddered when I saw New Way’s website’s list of gay friendly Catholic parishes and colleges. My Lord, how confused we are today! Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  10. Centristian says:

    Christo et Ecclesiae:

    You and I are on the same page; I think you’re misreading my remarks, somehow. In places I’m writing as if to express, not my own perspective, of course, but the thoughts of those who call themselves Catholic without believing in Catholic teaching.

  11. disco says:

    Something tells me the folks at new way ministries don’t have a Lincoln, Nebraska chapter.

  12. Christo et Ecclesiae says:

    Centristian: I am a college student with a screwed up biological clock and I had just woken up when I posted… if we’re on the same page I’ll believe you :) Haha, I will read your post most fervently when I get the chance. God bless!

  13. wanda says:

    I was pretty sad by the time I got to the end of the article. So many wounds in the body of Christ. I wonder what he thinks about his bride when he looks upon all these things. How his blessed mother must weep at the tearing apart in her precious son’s body. Reparation is in order.

  14. pcstokell says:

    That is what Catholicism is. It’s not the pope, it’s not the bishop, it’s not the clergy, it’s not even the teachings of the Church…it’s that cultural thing that I identify myself as belonging to.

    This is truer than you know. Having worked on the staff of a Catholic parish, I’ve seen families claiming to have a “Catholic” identity/culture come to the office asking about how and when their children would receive sacraments, or how and when they would have their marriages blessed (convalidated), without so much as a moment’s preparation or study, or any evidence that they had darkened a church door. They honestly and completely believed identity was enough.

  15. Fr. Basil says:

    \\For anyone who is confused about why the Church teaches what it does, the underlying problem with homosexuality is that of CHASTITY.\\

    One can be a homosexual, and still be celibate, or even virginal, just as one can be heterosexual and still be celibate or virginal.

    Or, one can have either sexual orientation and be promiscuous.

  16. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Fr. Basil, thank you for your clarity and charity. Hey, that rhymes! There is too little of “love the sinner and hate the sin” these days. I speak as one who is judged by their unlovely cover all the time.

  17. Mark of the Vine says:

    These people need to read up on what St. Ignatius of Antioch said about bishops and obedience to them.

  18. Augustine Terra Mariae says:

    Sadly, one of the Archdiocese of Baltimore priests on the New Ways advisory board is the pastor of two parishes and was recently honored with a prominent new position on a major archdiocesan board/committee. Another priest honored in recent years (since 2007) as a new monsignor advertises New Ways Ministry events in his parish’s bulletin. While there have been several worthy attempts in the last few years to establish Courage in the archdiocese, nothing has actually come of it, in large part because of the complete indifference or open hostility of most of the clergy here.

  19. Martial Artist says:

    I have two questions, the answers to which I would think, ought to be straightforward, but apparently are not. Being a retired Naval Officer may be coloring my expectations somewhat, but I am loath to believe that the chronology given represents the norm within the Catholic Church.

    The article states

    • New Ways Ministry … founded in 1977….

    • In 1984, New Way’s founders – Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Fr. Robert Nugent – were barred from continuing their activities in the Archdiocese of Washington.

    • The two … continued their involvement until 1999….

    Given those facts:

    (1) How can it have taken seven (7) years [from 1977 until 1984] for the Archdiocesan bishop of Washington to recognize the problem and begin effectively to exert his authority over the two founders? [“Cardinal George noted … that since its founding in 1977, “serious questions” (had) been raised about the group’s adherence to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.”]

    (2) How could it have taken an additional 15 years [1984-1999] for the issue to be raised to the CDF and that congregation to rule {that “Sr. Gramick and Fr. Nugent are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual individuals.”‘?

    Now, in posing those questions, I recognize that pastoral treatment of priests and religious may not move with anything like the rapidity with which a secular (military or civilian) organization moves. But we are not talking simple degrees of temporal variance, we are talking orders (plural) of magnitude in terms of the lengths of time before which decisive limits were imposed, i.e., weeks or months for the secular, of the order of a decade or more for the clerical—1977-1999 is twenty-two years.

    It is so much easier to clean up a mess when it is dealt with in a judiciously expeditious manner, rather than waiting for it to reach a scale that requires the involvement of the spiritual EPA, nicht wahr?

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  20. Gregorius says:

    Isn’t this the SECOND time His Eminence had to call out liberal homosexual ‘catholics’ for their lies and bs? Is it the fact that his See is the nation’s capital and they’re trying to get attention? Or do these groups seriously think they can undermine his authority?
    Some people here may want to question the good cardinal’s liturgical preferences, but at least I know that he is a friend and not a foe. [ I told you! :) ]

  21. RickMK says:

    Looking on the bright side, at least it does present another opportunity for the Catholic Church’s position on sexual perversion to be brought out and made clear.
    It does take a lot of courage to do that, because sodomites can be very dangerous people to speak out against.

  22. teaguytom says:

    Fr Nugent continues to be an adjunct priest at my territorial parish here in York county, PA. Sadly, I wish Ratzinger would have had him banished to a retirement home apostolate or desk job. The man is the poster child for abuses of the liturgy and liberal wackiness. I left the parish for the EF since he always seemed to celebrating the masses I attended. Ad-libbing, making up liturgical nonsense, never wearing the black suit in favor of khakis and Jesus sandals, preaching biblical studies a la History channel at the sermon.One year he encouraged the congregation to take off their shoes when venerating the cross even though that isn’t in the rubrics. Even Rome can’t beat the weirdness out of some clergy.

  23. The Cobbler says:

    “When dealing with lesbian and gay issues, a relatively new area of Church discussion on which there is so much debate…”
    Not true. It was debated in the fourth century, if not earlier. Then, as now, the dissenters didn’t know how to tell when the argument was over. Now, as then, the Church will outlast them because you can’t build a lasting culture or civilization on doing whatever the f— you think feels fair.

    “New Ways Ministry LIED.”
    Or spoke of things they have no clue about, which usually amounts to the same thing.

    Centristian: You may be less than generous, but it’s the closest I can see to benig generous. Any other explanation I can think of imputes some level of ill-will or downright stupidity to these folk; yours at least keeps it at a mistaken understanding of what is Catholic. It also is virtually undeniable; I am morally certain that there are people out there who think Catholic is an amoral cultural camp that doesn’t even have to stay the same culture and, what’s ironic, engages in feel-good rituals for communal ritual’s sake (else how do you explain that people want the Sacraments but don’t believe they do anything or have any meaning in themselves? — ironically, ritual for ritual’s sake is exactly what people wrongly say of us who impute intrinsic importance to the things we have surrounded with ritual… is it projection, or just failure to comprehend?…).

  24. robtbrown says:

    Kudos to the Cardinal for speaking out about Catholic moral teaching.

    I wonder whether he would give Communion to Francis DeBernardo.

  25. robtbrown says:

    Centristian says:

    Their approach is an undeniably humanistic approach . . .

    How can it be humanistic when homosexuality contradicts natural law?

  26. boko fittleworth says:

    One wonders if Cardinal Wuerl is aware that his Cathedral, St. Matthew’s in DC, is listed by New Ways as “gay friendly.” Also, my understanding is that St. Joseph’s in York, another parish on the list, took steps to correct that problem. Kudos there. And, I believe Fr. Nugent eventually did accept correction and is no longer associated with NWM. The NWM website suggests this was under duress. I pray that his was a true conversion.

    PS: New Ways Ministry? A clown ministry leading Stations? Is there a hot tub time machine somewhere?

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