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An update on the St. Elizabeth Seton gay outreach ministry August 20, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, silliness.

I have been checking the St. Elizabeth Seton – Plano website regularly for any updates concerning their homosexual outreach group ‘Outstretched Hands’ and have found that entire ‘gay outreach’ section of the Seton website has been pulled down.  All webpages associated with ‘Outstretched Hands’ have been removed.  I e-mailed Msgr. Henry Petter to inquire on this situation, and here is what he had to say:

You can share this part of my e-mail—We, here at Seton, will continue to minister to the parent’s of homosexual persons and to homosexual persons.  We no longer have the ‘Let’s Talk about Homosexuality’ on our web-site because the bishop asked us to take it off. I agreed with the bishop’s request.  Even though there are many good elements to the talks and they try to reflect the teaching of the Church, they cross the line in their desire to ‘push the envelope’ beyond the teaching of the Church in their hopes that the Church will reconsider its position…that is the part of the talks that I did not police so I take full responsibility for allowing ‘the talks’ to be on our web-site.  The bishop knew that did not have these talks on our web-site because I was ‘evil’, as some of your readers have implied.  He simply asked me to remove them and I did.  We try very hard to minister to the Homosexual Persons in the way the Church calls us to through the Bishop’s documents, e.g. ‘Always Our Children”.  I meet with the bishop periodically to inform him of the steps we are taking in this ministry.  I believe very strongly that we are called, as christians, to reach out to the marginalized and the voiceless and the persecuted, and yes, we are called to minister to sinners, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual…and to eat with them, etc. etc.  May God bless us in our endeavors because I know that he loves each of us.

I had asked specifically if, despite the fact that the material had been removed from the website, it was still going to be used by the gay outreach ministry.  The above comments lead me to believe that the answer is YES – they have simply removed the materials from the website, because that is all Bishop Farrell asked them to do.   The ‘Let’s Talk About Homosexuality’ materials will still form a ‘starting point’ or philosophical basis for the outreach group.  It is difficult to conclude otherwise from the information presented.

Another point – you notice Fr. Petter says “You can publish this part of my e-mail…”?  There was a first paragraph that was directed at me personally, and was strongly in the spirit of those paragraphs from St. Bernard of Clairvaux I posted earlier today.  You could say that Fr. Petter is not pleased with my efforts on this blog.  You can also see in the paragraph above that Fr. Petter received e-mails calling him ‘evil’ – this is unfortunate.  I’ve tried to be clear to ask folks to always be nice, polite, and to the point when they contact a parish, diocese, or whatever, but I failed to do so in the case of the ‘gay outreach’ post.  While I’m obviously strongly in favor of making one’s views clear and pointing out error, even to the point of making lots of folks mad, hurling word bombs like ‘evil’ is not really helping our cause. 

In a nutshell, what has changed is that the ‘Let’s Talk About Homosexuality’ material has been removed from the Seton website.  That is all.

One final point – this blog did not challenge Seton’s right to have a ‘gay outreach’ ministry – that is the prerogative of the pastor and based on the perceived need.  The only question concerned the materials used.  I think if anyone reads my original post in a fair light, that should be obvious.


1. FrDarryl Jordan - August 20, 2010

A good lesson learned I hope. It’s easy to overstep the bounds and make presumptions of others’ motives. That’s especially risky for those with an apologetics apostolate: we want to expose error but mostly we want to proclaim only the truth. Thus, congruently, the first priority in blogging is the same as writing a thesis: never publish without doing the proper research.

2. FrDarryl Jordan - August 20, 2010

Another thing to consider: those with an apologist’s heart and those with a pastor’s heart can sometime be at odds. You’ll notice priests tend to lean one way of the other. In personality theory terms, it’s the ideas-orientated ‘thinkers’ versus the people-orientated ‘feelers’.

Our Lord did not lean.

3. Steve B - August 20, 2010

Fr. Darryl,

Are you REALLY inferring that this blog master, Tantumergo, was making “presumptions of others’ motives” and that he posted “without doing the proper research”?

If you are, then I believe you are VERY badly mistaken.

I believe that Tantamergo made no mistake whatsoever to bring this matter up for keen attention. He told me personally that he ACTUALLY READ the ENTIRETY of the “Always our Children” materials, so he must have an iron stomach, incredible charity, and patience beyond all telling to respond/post as he did!!!

Here’s what Tantamergo literally said in his original post wrt making any “presumptions of others’ motives”:

“I am quite certain that the very good people of Seton who instituted this program of Outreach towards gays and their families have done so from the best of intentions.”

So, Fr. Darryl, instead of making general and wide-sweeping accusations of Tantamergo’s “errors”, how about instead pointing out SPECIFIC REASONS for your position to chastise/question him? I see no cause whatsoever for you, or anyone else, to do so….

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

4. tantamergo - August 21, 2010

One quick correction – I reviewed the ‘Let’s Talk About Homosexuality’ on this blog. I have read ‘Always Our Children,’ produced by the USCCB, which is sort of a pastoral letter on gay ministry. It is not the problem – ‘Let’s Talk’ is. Let’s Talk is what was on Seton’s website.

In charity to Fr. Jordan, I probably didn’t explain this particular post well enough – if one does not link back to my long post on the Seton materials, Fr. Petter’s comments may seem reasonable. I don’t think they are, and he frankly said some things in the unpublished paragraph that were over the top and nothing but an assault on my character. They were not becoming of a priest, of that, I can assure you.

Fr. Petter’s non sequitir of throwing out insinuations that I have a blind hatred for homosexuals is the furthest thing from the truth, and I will possibly expound on this in a separate post soon. I did not denigrate homosexuals at all in my post, except to repeat Church dogma – homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and homosexual acts are sinful. My problem was with the materials used by this parish in their gay outreach ministry, materials that even Fr. Petter admits were counter to the doctrine of the Faith. So, while, yes, Jesus ate with sinners, he did not tell them that what they were doing was fine and they had no need to change. What is supremely disappointing to me is that the materials are still being used, they’re just no longer available on the Seton website. This almost sounds like trying to hide the evidence.

And, yes, I read all ~100 pages of the “Let’s Talk” series. It was painful.

5. Steve B - August 21, 2010


My humblest apologies for my mistake in mixing up which of the two documents was the problematic one. Obviously, I have read neither.

Still, I challenge Fr. Darryl (or anyone else who is upset by the messages conveyed in this blog), to give SPECIFIC examples and reasons if they are to confront you about the content and methods you used in posting on this topic. I, honestly, cannot fathom any kind of criticism toward you, Tantamergo, which can be based on the objective facts.

The Church has been harmed enough over the past 40+ years because of the rampant dissent and/or utter disregard for Her clear and unambiguous teachings on sexual morality.

Those of us who embrace those teachings and try our best to live by them (they are not easy to follow for ANY of us!) will NOT back down in our decisions to challenge, confront, and if need-be to expose those who promote secular sexual morality “in the name of love, tolerance, and non-judgmentalism.”

Especially, orthodox Catholics like Tantamergo and myself will continue to challenge – and even step up our efforts to confront – those who promote WITHIN the Church those woefully misguided & worldly sexual agendas which ultimately and completely contradict Her teachings.

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

tantamergo - August 21, 2010

Thanks very much for the support, Steve. It is upsetting to read the kinds of words I received from Fr. Petter, so the encouragement is appreciated. What is most unfortunate is that the materials are being used – all that is happened is that you or I can no longer access them from the website. In effect, it seems rather like a cover-up; bury the evidence so it is not so readily found. All of Fr. Petter’s missive was oriented towards accepting and justifying homosexual acts. When he implied that he was being Christ-like by accepting sinners, that much is true, but what Fr. Petter very conveniently forgets is that Jesus always corrected the sinners – go and sin no more. Merely being in His awesome Presence was enough for many to be converted from a life of sin. But that is not what is happening at Seton – Seton, like St. Francis Xavier parish in NY (so well covered by Michael Voris) is simply embracing the active homosexual lifestyle of unrepentant, ongoing homosexual acts. That is definitely the message from the “Let’s Talk About Homosexuality” series, and that is the message that Fr. Petter conveyed in his missive.

6. FrDarryl Jordan - August 21, 2010

I do not support dissent from the Church moral teaching on sexuality.

I was simply making an observation that we must be circumspect before making accusations of dissent. I did not see enough evidence that the Plano parish was doing more than offering pastoral support.

However, by its silence on the nature of the particular pastoral care group, the entire Seton was plausibly construed as ‘currying’ – perhaps only passively – some sort of ‘Curranian’ probabilism.

However, I cannot name anything specifically that was amiss in Tantamergo’s analysis, mostly because it was not my intent to address perceived errors in judgement, but merely to offer a bit of charitable advice. And I apologise for the tone as it seems I was being overly critical and will retract the offending statements in my first post accordingly.

Tantamergo is certainly a fine apologist. Just wanted to help him to avoid rhetorical pitfalls which, in my enthusiasm for identifying error and promoting truth, have bitten me personally in the past.

tantamergo - August 21, 2010

Fr. Jordan – I understand. St. Bernard of Clairvaux warned those under his charge not to veer too far to either the side of God’s mercy or God’s judgement. As an apologist, and trying to address certain issues in the diocese, I may veer towards judgement a bit much. I think the priest in question veers very heavily, almost exclusively, towards God’s mercy. There is a very large divide between us – I take this as a simple fact. But I cannot refrain from commenting, even condemning, actions taken in this diocese by priests, religious, bishop, etc. that run counter to the professed doctrine of the Faith. Dallas has been notorious for dissent for a long time. Once a backwater, now it’s becoming a large diocese headed for an archbishopric. There is a great desire for change, from the bottom up. There are many faithful who would like to see alot of this sort of leftover baggage from the 60s-70s stop.

To a certain extent, I speak for them. I don’t seek confrontation, but I also have to present the Truth and shine the Light on certain things. I pray that I am doing God’s Will. I do know that I have far more supporters than detractors, and that includes the laity, religious, and priests.

7. El Paso bishop condemns priest defending Church doctrine « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - August 23, 2010

[…] really gets back to the “gay outreach” ministry at Seton.   The problem is not having a gay outreach ministry, the problem is allowing that ministry, out […]

8. Why doctrine is important – sin exists « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - August 24, 2010

[…] Some may ask why I strive to define the Doctrine of the Faith in such unyielding terms.  It is because sin exists.  Evil exists.  I have felt it, I have been held in sins cold grasp.  I have been spiritually dead, cut off from God’s Grace.  I fear mightily for those who may be cut off from God’s Grace through their sinful acts and not even know it, because of bad formation or those in the Church, who out of accomodation with the world or their own bad formation or a sentimental wish not to be “too hard,” have led them to believe that they can do or believe almost anything without offending God.  This is not how God has planned Salvation.  This view of the path to Salvation  is not my opinion.  I am not so bold as to think I could somehow state definitively what God Wills on a subject like this.  This is the opinion of the great Doctors and Saints of the Church, and has been the Doctrine of the Church from its inception.  […]

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