SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 17, 2013 ( – Days after the United States Supreme Court issued two decisions that delivered a significant blow to traditional marriage, a priest at the University of San Francisco’s St. Ignatius Catholic Church took the pulpit where he read a letter in support of same-sex “marriage” during his homily. 

The letter “Why am I in the parade?” was penned by Jesuit Fr. John Whitney, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Seattle, WA, for his parish’s bulletin.  It explains Fr. Whitney’s reasons for participating in the nation’s largest demonstration in support of homosexual activity, the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Celebration.

According to California Catholic Daily, the reading of the letter by Fr. Gregory Bonfiglio rendered the faithful of St. Ignatius at the June 30th Sunday Mass silent, with one parishioner leaving the sanctuary in tears saying, “It’s not his Church! It’s the Catholic Church! I should be able to just go to church! I want to go to a Catholic church!”


In the letter, Fr. Whitney said that he marches in the parade in “solidarity with and respect for our homosexual brothers and sisters.” The priest acknowledges the “sin present at the Pride Parade,” but downplays the sexually explicit displays for which the parade is known, saying, “I have yet to enter a street where sin is not present.” 

The priest spares no line in his letter to call people with same-sex attraction out of the homosexual lifestyle. 

“The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a platform for personal ideology,” Fr. Thomas J. Loya of the Tabor Institute told in response to the incident. 

Fr. Loya said that priests who take issue with the Church's teaching on the same-sex lifestyle “do so in part because they believe the Church to be insensitive and discriminatory.” However, he said, “the action by Fr. Bonfiglio was itself insensitive, discriminatory, tyrannical and so illustrative of the selective sensitivity practiced by so many today.” 

“In the name of being sensitive to one particular population of people he was at the same time completely insensitive to others,” charged Fr. Loya, adding, “Whether they liked it or not, whether they came to genuinely worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and were not psycho-spiritually prepared for anything other did not matter to Fr. Bonfiglio.”

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“Simply from the standpoint alone of sensitivity, compassion, honesty, integrity and correctness, Fr. Bonfiglio's actions were reprehensible and even sacrilegious. He became the very thing he purported to be against,” he said.

The provincial superior of the Jesuits of California has not yet addressed the matter publicly.  Neither has Archbishop Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. 

However, Jesuit priests, differing from diocesan priests, vow obedience to their provincial superior rather than the local ordinary (bishop).  The bishop doesn’t have any avenues to correct the wayward priest directly, but can file a complaint with the Congregation for Religious in Rome.  


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