Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Gay Affirming Catholic Churches in Rochester, NY

December 7th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

According to

Gay Church is a web site dedicated to ministering to the gay and lesbian Christian community (GLBT) and friends of our community. We feature one of the largest gay and lesbian affirming Christian church directories and bulletin boards in the world.

If you look at the listings for New York State, you’ll find a few Roman Catholic churches on the list in Rochester:

Church of the Assumption
Church of the Blessed Sacrament
Corpus Christi / Spiritus Christi
St. John the Evangelist (Humbolt St.)
St. Mary’s Downtown
St. Monica

If your parish is on this list and you think it’s a mistake, please contact me and/or and we’ll see if we can get it off. If you’re proud that your parish is on this list, could you please explain how the term “gay and lesbian affirming” is consistent with Catholic sexual morality?

AS ALWAYS THE BIG DISCLAIMER: People who struggle with same sex attraction (or any sin for that matter) are no less Christian than anyone else based on that fact alone. Certainly we must be considerate and pastoral to people of all stripes so as not to be a stumbling block on their journey to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, in our modern society, we must be very careful to explicitly state that loving all people equally is not the same thing as condoning the homosexual lifestyle or the homosexual agenda.

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29 Responses to “Gay Affirming Catholic Churches in Rochester, NY”

  1. Raymond F. Rice says:

    I know that my skull is getting thicker as I get older; but can you more clearly spell out the meaning of your article, your purpose in writing it, and what you would like to have happen as a result of it?

    Could you also explain what the big disclaimer is??

  2. militia says:

    Earlier this year, Alec Baldwin was named a spokesperson for Wegmans with much local holler-balloo. It was also around the time of the ‘gay marriage’ agenda behind closed door sessions in Albany, and Baldwin was reported to have been prominent in advocating for gay marriage. One had to ask what it means when a person becomes a spokesperson for a company, advocating a position opposed by more than half the people?

    Now we have another peek into Baldwin’s character, in his dust-up with American Airlines the other day when he supposedly refused to turn off his cell phone because he was playing a game, took it into the lavatory, slammed the door, alarmed the crew and eventually was removed after holding passengers up for an hour in LA. So, is he repentent? Not really; it seems like he is targeting yet another group for his anger and hostility. In his criticism of the flight crew he was reported as “mocking” American Airlines in his tweets. Those are now removed but were reported to have called American Airlines a company “where Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950’s find jobs as flight attendants.” Hopefully, Wegmans will give a little more thought as to whether or not Baldwin is an appropriate spokesperson for them, while there is still the potential to find even more groups to alienate. Seems like a lot of bad judgement from the get-go.

  3. Raymond F. Rice says:


    Good post. We need more in-depth investigations like this about people’s true character!! We do need better and more moral endorsers of our businesses. The enemy never rests!!

  4. Bernie says:

    I would say the purpose of the post is:

    1.Isn’t every parish accepting of ALL people trying to live the Christian life, no matter what their wayward inclinations? What is the reason for specifically mentioning one group of people/sinners?

    2.Could anyone “explain how the term ‘gay and lesbian affirming’ is consistent with Catholic sexual morality?” The phrase suggests to me -rightly or wrongly- that the parish accepts the ‘lifestyle’ as well as the person. It also suggests that same-sex orientation is celebrated at that parish which is at odds with Church teaching that understands it as a serious abnormality, and a heavy cross for anyone to carry.

    That’s my view.

  5. Gen says:

    I believe Assumption is on that list, too. Surprise, surprise.

  6. annonymouse says:

    Bernie, you nailed it.

    I, too, would like to know what “gay affirming” means. I should like to think it means “we welcome people with same-sex attraction, just as all of us sinners are welcomed, and we call people who are so burdened, as well as all who are burdened by any disordered affection, to repentence and a holy, chaste life.”

    Sadly, like you, I think it probably means “we celebrate you and your lifestyle, we see nothing wrong with it, and we look forward to the day when the whole Church celebrates your lifestyle, too.”

    As frustrating as this is, let us never forget – God is in charge. We fight the good fight and trust that God’s will be done!

  7. BigE says:

    I would assume that “gay affirming” means they do not view a committed loving relationship between same sex individuals as a sin.

    At least that is how the picture was painted by the website that keeps the list of churches.

    Whether that is the defintion by the churches that submit their names is another matter.

  8. Ben Anderson says:


    can you more clearly spell out the meaning of your article, your purpose in writing it, and what you would like to have happen as a result of it?

    Watchdog Journalism

    Could you also explain what the big disclaimer is??

    the modern mind is so affixed to the false dichotomy that you either love the sin and the sinner or hate the sin and the sinner (they like to call us bigots, haters, etc). Because of this, the simple truth of loving the sinner and hating the sin needs to be emphasized each of every time the sin is spoken of.

  9. brother of penance says:

    In a couple of earlier comments to different posts I wrote the following:

    “Years ago I spoke with a lay leader in Diocesan ministry to people with same-sex attraction. Politely I reminded her of the need to encourage chastity. She did reply with the realization that the “Chastity piece” needs to be included in that ministry.”

    Any one up to asking the pastorate of the “Gay Affirming Catholic Churches” in the Diocese of Rochester if they encourage “gay chastity” in their Gay Affirming Catholic Church?

    Below is a sampling of the many statements about homosexuality that I have heard in the Catholic Diocese of Rochester the past 33 years.

    “It is not deviate. It is different.”
    “The gay community has suffered injustice.”
    “Gay spirituality is a gift to the Church.”
    “Homosexuality is a gift.”
    “God made me homosexual.”
    “The Church is unjust.”
    “The Church needs to listen to the experience of Gays.”
    “Put a face on homosexuality.”
    “Our Gay Brothers and Sisters.”
    “Saint Paul had no understanding of Homosexual Orientation.”
    “Sodom and Gomorah were condemned for inhospitality.”

    Any one up to asking the pastorate of the “Gay Affirming Catholic Churches” in the Diocese of Rochester if they fundamentally agree with the above list of opinions that have influenced the Diocese of Rochester for years?

    Those who support use of the word “Gay” when referring to people who suffer with the same-sex attraction disorder do not believe that the same-sex attraction is a disorder. More likely than not, if you were to ask the pastorate of the GAY AFFIRMING CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN THE DIOCESE OF ROCHESTER, they would tell you so.

    Alas, none of us are going to bother asking anything of the pastorates of these so called “Catholic Churches”. Deep in our hearts, we know the answers would be anything but Catholic.

  10. militia says:

    It is bad enough that we have a gay schism in the church. We have to do our best to oppose and actively work against a gay hijacking, which couldn’t happen if it were not led by priests, some openly and some behind the scenes, some sponsoring conferences, some signing petitions, some funding Fortunate Families.

    Imagine how awful it must be for good, faithful, straight, celebate priests, who have given the gift of a normal sexuality to God, to be in such an environment. Pray for them!

  11. Sassy says:


    Your post made me shiver because these are all the things we heard from our family members that live in the DOR and are active in Fortunate Families. Scary how consistent/identical the messages are. The sad forces at hand has taught them well. I can only pray for their repentance.

  12. JLo says:

    brother of penance is on to a noteworthy fact, i.e., use of words. I have read articles by those who have come out of that sinful lifestyle, and they agree that only SSA/same-sex attraction should EVER be used. All the other words, including even the term homosexual, only give credence to that way of life. We should all strive to use only the terms SSA or same-sex attraction when writing/speaking about this issue. +JMJ

  13. annonymouse says:

    Perusing, I note that St. Paul’s discussion of the perversity of same-sex relations in Romans 1 is easily dismissed by virtue of the fact that Paul was condemning “unnatural” attractions and relations. Or so says an author who believes that her same-sex attraction is entirely “natural.” So she asserts that St. Paul couldn’t possibly have been talking about her. For a Catholic parish to openly assent to such a proposition is to deny the clear teaching of the Catholic Church! And we’re not talking about nits here – we’re talking about gravely sinful matters and the very salvation of souls! Did the pastors and parish councils sign up for having their names associated with this sort of belief?

    These parishes should request that their names be removed from this listing, or they should be called to the carpet to be reprimanded.

    As an aside, I’m guessing that Coach Sandusky believes his affections and attractions are entirely “natural” as well, that that’s the way God made him. That he believes it does not make it so.

  14. Bernie says:

    “I’m guessing that Coach Sandusky believes his affections and attractions are entirely ‘natural’ as well, that that’s the way God made him. That he believes it does not make it so.”


  15. Ben Anderson says:

    “The only danger the church can and should fear is the sin of her members,” the pope said.

  16. Sassy says:

    And going off what anonymous said about the Penn State push, I have now heard of the push by SSA advocates (with, I assume, the support NAMBLA) to allow pre-teen and teen boys to “love who they want”. When will this end?

  17. Diane Harris says:

    How come St. Patrick’s in Victor isn’t on this list of “Gay-Affirming” Catholic Churches? Actually, it is probably unfair to “name churches”; rather, the naming should be of the pastor, of the gay-affirming or whatever-he-is pastor.

    In January 2010 Fr. Timothy Niven hosted a speaker who is a noted advocate for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, and allowed him to give four ‘retreat’ presentations (8 HOURS of contact time with parishioners!) It was held at St. Patrick in Victor!

    I wrote about this situation in that month’s issue of It Really Matters, saying “The speaker, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, is a Dominican who spent 10 years as the Master General of the Order and has surprisingly impressive credentials, but that should not influence souls, as God is impressed with the heart, not with worldly accomplishments, even in the church order. Rather, we should especially be on guard against those who come in sheep’s clothing of honorary doctorates, and glossy titles like “Provincial of the English Province”, and “President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors”.”

    Fr. Radcliffe, as an itinerant preacher, was then scheduled to have his next stop in Victor, NY. The Newsletter article continued: “Faithful Catholics and those trying to sincerely understand and follow the church’s teaching on homosexuality or “same sex attraction,” especially as it applies to the Catholic Clergy, should either avoid Fr. Radcliffe’s talk or be especially on guard to his message. One needs to be careful in expressing opinion in the church not to deviate from the church’s legitimate teaching. And … laity in choosing which retreats or seminars or other spiritual events to attend should be particularly careful to avoid speakers who do not adhere to the church’s own guidelines.”

    Canon Law 752 states: “Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.”

    We asked: “How, then, would it not be prudent to avoid Fr. Radcliffe? He wrote an article for the Tablet (UK) expressing his own opinions in disagreement with the Instruction from Rome.” In November 2005, the Church promulgated the “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.” The Instruction from Rome addressed whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies. It said: “The candidate to the ordained ministry… must … relate correctly to both men and women, developing in him a true sense of spiritual fatherhood towards the Church community that will be entrusted to him.” In an illustration of the ignorance of Father Radcliffe, he replied: “…spiritual fatherhood? This is not a concept with which I am familiar.” How surprising, as St. Paul clearly speaks of his spiritual fatherhood of his flock.) How ignorant is Fr. Radcliffe, who was hosted by Fr. Niven!!

    The Instruction from Rome stated: “Deep-seated homosexual tendencies…are also objectively disordered …. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity…. the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise [sic] homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’. Such persons… find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies….”

    The Los Angeles Mission, as reported in the New Oxford Review, quoted Fr. Radcliffe as saying: “We begin by standing beside gay people…. And this means letting our imaginations be stretched open to watching Brokeback Mountain [a homosexual propaganda movie], reading gay novels, having gay friends…[and] listening with them as they listen to the Lord.” Unquote, the man who came to Victor, although it was reported by some attendees that he did not say this during the “retreat.”

    The Instruction from the Holy Father continues: “It would be gravely dishonest for a candidate to hide his own homosexuality in order to proceed, despite everything, towards ordination. Such a deceitful attitude does not correspond to the spirit of truth, loyalty and openness that must characterize the personality of him who believes he is called to serve … in the ministerial priesthood.”

    But the dissenter, Father Radcliffe, wrote: “But if the criteria of this document are interpreted in a narrow sense to mean that no one who is gay can be ordained, then some seminarians would find themselves to be in an impossible situation. If they speak openly, then they may not be accepted. If they do not, then they are failing in transparency. The danger is that the most honest may therefore leave and the less truthful stay.” [Quite an illogical argument, and frightening as well! We should ordain gay men to the priesthood because they are just going to lie about it anyway? Huh?]

    The Instruction concludes: “Let Bishops, episcopal conferences and major superiors look to see that the constant norms of this Instruction be faithfully observed for the good of the candidates themselves, and to guarantee that the Church always has suitable priests who are true shepherds according to the Heart of Christ.” It is signed: The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, on 31 August 2005, approved this present Instruction and ordered its publication. It was promulgated on Nov. 4, 2005.

    Is the issue relevant in Rochester? One week after promulgation, the November 12, 2005 issue of Bishop Clark’s “Along the Way” column begins: “Some years ago — at least 10, I think — two of our diocesan priests told me that they are homosexual.” Visit the website, search on the Catholic Courier archived articles, for the full text.

    How do trusted authorities and commentators outside the DoR see the preaching ministry of Fr. Radcliffe? Father de Valk CSB writes in Catholic Insight about Fr. Radcliffe’s Tablet writings. Fr. de Valk writes:

    • “The article [by Fr. Radcliffe in the Tablet] has done a disservice to the Church. Fr. Radcliffe wishes to assure priests who battle homosexual tendencies that they can still be good priests… by attempting to deconstruct Vatican warnings…by whose authority? His own.”
    • “When the Vatican explains that its document has been made ‘more urgent by the current situation,’ Fr. Radcliffe presumes this refers to the sex-abuse scandals. And it does. But he misses the wider context. Scandals are not causes, they are results. Results of what? Of the justification of homosexuality, a justification which began in earnest 50 years ago with Kinsey and has today blossomed into a massive propaganda campaign in the presses and on the airwaves to tell all of us that the homosexual lifestyle is distinct, normal, natural, ‘equal to heterosexuality,’ nay, a gift from God!”
    • “In unjustly deriding the Vatican warnings, Fr. Radcliffe has given succour [sic] to other detractors. For example, the nineteen Quebec priest dissenters of February 27, 2006 …. quote him and his article as their intellectual authority in denouncing ‘Rome’ and its instructions.”

    So this is the speaker Fr. Niven hosted at St. Patrick’s for 8 hours of contact with parishioners, at a minimum. Even if Fr. Niven’s church isn’t on the gay-affirming list, we’ve been warned!

  18. Sassy says:

    Please forgive me for asking these questions, as I really couldn’t find an accurate answer. Does the Rochester area have a large SSA population that these priests feel they need to minister to? Or is this flow from your bishop’s stance on SSA? Or both?

  19. Raymond F. Rice says:


    According to some national data which probably could be applied to Rochester also, about 5-10% of the population has SSA. However Rochester, as a particular city, has always had a reputation of being accepting of the gay lifestyle. Most of this approach was fostered by the University of Rochester, starting as far back as 35 years ago when it joined the gay liberation movement.

    Some recent researchers indicate that about 40-50% of the current clergy have SSA.

    There appears to be no data on the prevalence of OSA (opposite sex attraction) people in the priesthood nor is there any data on those who are predominantly asexual..

  20. militia says:

    Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientaion Law and Public Policy (think tank at UCLA) estimates, based on five studies asking responders their sexual orientation, that the US has about 4 million adults who identify as being gay or lesbian, representing 1.7% of the 18-and over population. They must all be showing up at the same parades.

  21. JLo says:

    Their numbers have always been estimated at from two to under four percent, so 1.7 percent seems in the ballpark. The reason you think their numbers are so huge (BIG parades) is that they are so well funded, so organized, so vocal. Theirs has been a coordinated effort from the beginning. Their numbers remain small, but they’ve convinced the public that they are half of us! The public further thinks that in all “fairness” (so very American) we should let them be. What’s it hurt? Be nice; be kind; let them live their lives, and you live yours!!

    Well, besides the Heart of Jesus, this mistaken view that SSA is a huge part of the population hurts many areas of our world. Paramount among the examples is that such a mistaken view has many children thinking that, gee, maybe I’m like that. An 8-year-old loves his best guy friend; same with an 8-year-old girl loving her best girlfriend… more than anyone else in the world at some time maybe. They love those playmates above all others. Instead of knowing that’s the way of childhood, the “education ” that’s forced on them in public schools has them thinking… I must be that way; and further, the “education” says it’s okay to be that way; it’s just fine!

    If we do not battle this monstrous evil, their percentages will rise just for the reason I’ve outlined, so be vocal; don’t let the “be tolerant” “be fair” crowd cower you. Our very civilization and many souls depend on our courage. We must be kind, but also truthful. +JMJ

  22. Raymond F. Rice says:

    How does one minister to gay people other than telling them they are intrinsically disordered and their lifestyle may put them in danger of hell??

  23. Ben Anderson says:

    Is that a real question? If so, I think you approach them like you’d approach any other person – start by portraying the joy of the Christian life. That’s not to say we should be dishonest about what the Christian life entails. Obviously, at some point, if someone who is persisting in sin desires to live a Christian life, then they will have to confront those persistent sins. That would go for anyone – not just someone with SSA. But you certainly don’t present the Gospel by calling certain someone “intrinsically disordered”. That’s not to say Church documents shouldn’t use such words – they should. Rarely can you debate someone into becoming a believer (not that it never happens). Usually people are converted by seeing joy in someone else’s life and being intrigued by it.

  24. Ben Anderson says:

    my above comment pertains to someone who is outside the Church (or Christianity). I suppose it’d be different with people within the Church. Each situation is going to be different. Preaching the truth in charity is the principle. How that works out in practice is going to vary from person to person (both on the receiving and delivering end).

  25. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Good response! ! !

  26. Scott W. says:

    “How does one minister to gay people…”

    Like this:

  27. brother of penance says:

    Years ago I met Father John Harvey, the founder of Courage. He received an award at the Franciscan University at Steubenville during that year’s DEFENDING THE FAITH summer conference.

    What a gentle man who courageously stood fast in the faith! Unafraid, he spoke the truth in love. He cared about people, he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church. He ministered compassionately and pastorally rooted in the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. How could a faithful priest do otherwise?

    We spoke momentarily about the Diocese of Rochester. He knew what we were experiencing.
    I am sure we were in his prayers.

    Didn’t our Diocese forbid COURAGE from ministering here?

  28. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Brother of Penance:

    But it came in anyway under a different name and is very discreet!!!

  29. brother of penance says:

    Thanks be to God for those who brought COURAGE into the Diocese under a different name.

    Brother Raymond state it is very discreet.

    This reminds me of Jesus saying:
    Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; be therefore prudent as the serpents, and guileless as the doves.

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