(LifeSiteNews) — A prominent Washington, D.C., priest is spreading confusion about Catholic teaching and promoting a radical “sexologist” who supports homosexuality, transgenderism, and masturbation.
Father Edgardo “Lalo” Jara, a Franciscan priest from Costa Rica, is rising rapidly in the Archdiocese of Washington. Ordained six years ago, he serves as the director of the archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization and Pastoral Planning, a vocation director for the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name Province, and a faculty member at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.
In 2021, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis named him a National Eucharistic Preacher for the National Eucharistic Revival, according to his profile at Aquinas Institute of Theology.
The priest also reaches thousands of people every month through a show that he launched in 2020, “Cafeteando Con El P. Lalo” (“Coffee with Fr. Lalo”), and his website, cafeteandonetwork.com.
But Jara is using his growing platform to promote Margarita Murillo, a sexologist, psychologist, and “expert in gender” from Costa Rica and a fervent advocate of LGBT ideology and sexual perversion. Murillo, who teaches at the National University of Costa Rica and has a Ph.D. in “studies of society and culture,” boasts of more than three decades of experience creating “sexual education” models used around the world.
Jara has hosted her on his show, recommended her to viewers, and told them to visit her website and social media pages, which encourage masturbation, contraception, and the use of sex toys.
In an interview with Jara last year, Murillo repeatedly contradicted Catholic teaching on sexuality, going so far as to defend homosexual “expression,” with no pushback from the priest, who called her comments “excellent.”
Jara, for his part, has urged his viewers not to condemn homosexuality, but to “respect” it, and not to change the channel if a six-year-old sees two men kissing on TV.
While working as a teacher, the Franciscan brought Murillo to Catholic schools to teach his students about sexuality. More recently, he took her to a parish where he was assigned in Maryland to give a workshop on “healing sexuality.”
And Jara shockingly revealed that Murillo has even taught “sexual education” to seminarians at the national seminary of Costa Rica in San José.
Murillo has openly admitted to telling seminarians that masturbation is “not a sin” and that homosexuality is “an option.”
Murillo: Sexuality is for a ‘bond,’ not procreation
In a June 2022 interview with the sexologist on his program, Jara introduced her as a “pleasure” and a “great friend for many years” and emphasized her “charisma” for “working with young people” in particular.
“Whenever I have the opportunity, I bring her, because she has a lot of experience, she has excellent charisma, especially for working with young people, but also with adults,” the priest said. “It gives us and makes us bring out the spirit of children and youth that we have.”
Continuing his praise for Murillo, Jara said, “She has that charisma, a charisma that she has received from God and that she has always put to the work of the people and especially simple people, people from the countryside, from the communities.”
The Franciscan read two questions, one from a woman living with “homosexual friends,” who asked, “Is it a sin to have gay friends?” and another question from someone who asked, “Father, why is being gay so frowned upon in the Catholic Church?”
“They are strong and big questions,” Jara said, turning to Murillo “so that she can help us a little in the psychological human part and understand a little before making judgments.”
Murillo then launched into a rambling, 15-minute speech about sexuality in which she defended the “expression of homosexuality,” claimed that sexuality exists to create a “bond” rather than for procreation, and proposed that most people are “bisexual,” because “we fall in love with souls.”
She repeatedly focused on homosexual “desire” in children and baselessly suggested that discouraging homosexuality causes psychological “damage.” Nowhere did she mention that homosexuals have exponentially higher rates of HIV/AIDS, anal cancer, and other STDs and disorders.
“It is important that we understand the basis of sexuality and how sexuality evolved in us as a human species, because it does not behave in the same way that it behaves with other mammals,” Murillo said, basing her claims about sexuality on specious evolutionary arguments.
“The evolutionary biologist Helen Fisher calculates that millions of years ago, females to avoid — since they put themselves on two feet — to avoid a primate that walked on all fours from impregnating her, females removed their heat,” Murillo said. “And this has now radically changed our sexuality.”
“Because, when females took away heat — human women do not have heat, we have reproductive cycles, but we do not have heat like dogs, like cats, like elephants, like cows — this made men and women equal, sexually speaking, because men do not have heat either,” she continued.
Since this alleged development, the purpose of human sexuality is no longer reproduction but forming a “bond” or “attachment,” according to Murillo.
“Despite the fact that for many years, at the theological level, it was said that the end was reproduction, in reality, our end and our sexual energy were made to be able to generate and develop a bond, an attachment, and a space of love,” she claimed. “This story, this is scientifically supported.”
“I tell you all of this so that we can educate ourselves and be able to understand the orientation of this desire, of human desire,” she told Jara.
In fact, the Catholic Church teaches — in accordance with biological reality — that procreation is the primary end of sexuality and marriage, as Pope Pius XI taught in Casti Connubi and Pope Pius XII reaffirmed.
The Church recognizes secondary ends of sexuality but stresses that they must be “subordinated to the primary end,” as Casti Connubi states. Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae teaches that “each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.”
“By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church says.
Sexologist complains: ‘We really don’t tolerate the expression of homosexuality’
Murillo went on to defend homosexuality, criticizing “our culture” because “we really don’t tolerate the expression of homosexuality.”
“We know that many adults have stated that they felt this from a very early age but that they knew from all the references that it was bad, that it was dirty,” she said.
“The orientation of homosexual desire is not a personality deviation,” Murillo insisted. “The deviation of the personality is going to be done because of the hatred they receive, because of the mistreatment they receive, because of low self-esteem.”
“The biggest damage we do is because, in our culture, we really don’t tolerate the expression of homosexuality,” she declared.
“The biggest damage we do is because, in our culture, we really don't tolerate the expression of homosexuality,” she declared.
The sexologist also said that children as young as three years old can develop homosexual “desire” and an “identity to be a man or a woman, how I feel.”
“This desire is born in us in an almost unconscious and collective way, at the moment we begin to socialize,” Murillo said while discussing homosexuality. “In other words, from the age of three, we can begin to desire, first, our own identity to be a man or a woman, how I feel.”
“What happens is that the culture mediates and begins to give mandates, ‘It’s that men are only like that and women are only like that,’” she said. “And then from there, at the identity level, at the gender level, I can feel uncomfortable, and then you will have a series of pains and of damages in relation to what it means to be a man or a woman.”
At one point, Murillo noted that she studied with Dr. Marie-Paul Ross, a dissident Canadian nun who works as a sexologist and “sexual education” instructor.
According to Murillo, Ross said that “we fall in love with souls,” and therefore, most people are actually “bisexual” — an idea that Murillo called “very profound.”
“[Ross] insisted that, in reality, before falling in love with the sex of the person, whether it is a man or a woman, we are beings of love, and we fall in love with the soul,” she related. “And this is very profound.”
Citing unnamed “longitudinal studies,” she claimed that “more or less between 8 and 10% of the population will manifest a homosexual desire from an early age” and “between 30 and 40% of the population will manifest a bisexual desire.”
“And this was explained by Dr. Marie-Paul Ross saying, actually, almost all human beings are bisexual, because we fall in love with souls. And this is totally controversial and it could make a lot of noise in you and generate a lot of pain and aversion,” Murillo said.
However, Ross and Murillo’s attempt to dispense with the body contradicts Catholic doctrine, which holds that the soul and body form one nature and that the sexes define men and women both physically and spiritually.
“The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body,” the Catechism teaches, adding that, “spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.”
A 2004 letter from Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith approved by John Paul II affirms that sex “characterizes man and woman not only on the physical level, but also on the psychological and spiritual, making its mark on each of their expressions.” “It cannot be reduced to a pure and insignificant biological fact, but rather ‘is a fundamental component of personality, one of its modes of being … and of living human love,’” the document reads.
Priest praises Murillo’s heretical speech: ‘I love it’
After finishing her heterodox comments, Murillo asked Father Jara “how it turned out.” “What do you say?” she asked him.
“It was excellent! I love it,” the priest responded.
Jara particularly praised Murillo for communicating her perverse ideology in a way that “a child can understand.”
“Margarita always knows how to present the information in a vocabulary that even a child can understand, and that’s what’s important,” he said, “especially when they are topics like that, a little complicated and everything.”
The Franciscan encouraged viewers to visit Murillo’s Facebook page and her website, “where there are resources and there are courses that are also given for those who want to continue growing on this subject,” he said.
Murillo had promoted her website earlier in Jara’s program, noting that it includes a “sexual education course” and another program for couples who “suffer from mismanagement of desire and pleasure in their erotic expression.”
Jara additionally expressed his desire to bring Murillo “here again to share with the Hispanic community in the United States.”
“God bless you very much, success in all your projects, in the foundation,” he told her. “Keep going!”
Murillo pushes eroticism on children, sex changes, masturbation
Murillo’s website and Facebook page are unsurprisingly filled with sexual perversion and LGBT ideology.
A course offered on the site includes sections titled “the map of the genitals” and “the outline of the orgasm.”
One document linked on the website and written by Murillo titled “Sex education for mentally disabled” advocates for people with mental disabilities to “learn to enjoy sexuality.”
The website also highlights videos that Murillo posts on YouTube, including ones in which she defends transgenderism and pushes eroticism on young children.
In a video dated May 19, 2018, the sexologist argued that people with gender confusion should be allowed to change their legal sex, saying that “we should … give the alternative to those people who are in this condition of gender dysphoria.”
She added that children as young as three may develop a “psychosexual identity” that contradicts their sex due to their so-called “brain sex,” or an “awareness of who I am.” Murillo described that situation as not a “problem,” but a “condition.”
In another video from July 2018, the sexologist said that the “orientation of desire” starts as early as “three, four, five years old, in preschool.” She made clear that she was referring specifically to erotic desire in children: “Desire is this capacity and desire to become intimate and to love, to kiss, to touch, to feel, and we are going to begin to observe it.”
“So, we must teach them to love, to love from the point of feeling comfortable and competent, to love from the point that sexuality and the expression of the erotic is positive,” Murillo advised.
She encouraged elderly people to use sex toys as “supports” in a yet another video earlier that year.
Murillo’s Facebook page is similarly perverse: In 2019, she shared an article published by Revista Perfil in which she instructed women how to masturbate.
Last year, she celebrated a new form of male contraception as “a big step that we have waited for more than 60 years!”
Last year, she celebrated a new form of male contraception as “a big step that we have waited for more than 60 years!”
Jara brought Murillo to Catholic schools, Maryland parish
Despite Murillo’s extreme moral and theological problems, Father Jara has repeatedly promoted her on his program — and even taken her to Catholic schools and parishes.
In an episode of his show from February 2022, Jara recommended Murillo to his viewers and revealed that he worked “a lot” with her in Costa Rica.
The priest said that he brought Murillo to Catholic schools to instruct students on “healthy sexuality” when he worked as a teacher. Murillo led workshops for seminarians at the major seminary of Costa Rica in San José as well, he said.
And Jara noted that, more recently, he took the sexologist to Saint Camillus parish in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he was previously assigned, to give a two-day workshop on sexuality with parents and children.
In the February episode, Jara described Murillo as “a friend, a Catholic psychologist that I recommend.”
“When I was in Costa Rica, Margarita Murillo, together with other psychologists, conducted workshops on sexuality and affectivity for the seminarians of the major seminary in Costa Rica, in Paso Ancho, San José, Costa Rica,” he recalled, seemingly referring to the Seminario Nacional Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.
Murillo indeed taught at that seminary, according to media reports. In 2014, Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion reported that she did an “intensive week of sexual education” with seminarians at the Seminario Nacional Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Among other things, Murillo presented homosexuality not “as a sin but as an option.”
Among other things, Murillo presented homosexuality not “as a sin but as an option.”
In an interview published by kienyke.com later that year, Murillo said that she also told seminarians that masturbation “is not a sin” but a way to “calm” sexual impulses.
The Catholic Church emphatically teaches that masturbation is always an “intrinsically and seriously disordered act” and mortally sinful.
“When we were in Costa Rica, she and I were working a lot,” Jara said about Murillo. “I was taking her, especially since I was a teacher, to two Catholic schools. That was many, many years ago, and she did workshops for me with young people from the respective schools, from the secondary schools, on healthy sexuality.”
Around two or three years ago, Jara added, “I brought her when I was in the parish of Saint Camillus in Silver Spring, Maryland, and she did a very beautiful workshop for me, a two-day workshop on healing sexuality, especially in the family.”
“First she did a part with the children, then another part with the parents, and then another part with the parents and the children together—a two-day workshop,” he explained. “It was a good workshop, very beautiful, and, well, we haven’t had the opportunity to bring her back.”
Jara: Don’t change the channel if your child sees homosexuals kissing
During the same program, Jara said that he consulted with Murillo about a question posed by a viewer regarding how to discuss homosexuality with a six-year-old girl.
“How do you talk to a six-year-old girl, who can also be a boy, about why two men or two women kiss, and why they see it on television, and even in the ads, in the commercials?” the woman asked. “I change the channel, but I won’t always be able to do it. How do I explain it so that they do not get confused? I do not know how.”
Jara said that he waited to answer the question because he “had to communicate” with Murillo about it. He added that the two of them agreed on the importance of “respect” when talking to children about homosexuality.
In light of this, the Franciscan urged the viewer not to change the TV channel if her six-year-old sees two men kissing, as doing so would cultivate an attitude of “anti-respect.”
“I do not agree that they change the channel — ‘Take it away, don’t see it!’ — because I am giving it more of a sense of morbidity, more of a sense of evil, more of a sense of anti-respect,” he said, admonishing the woman not to “cover up” such obscenity.
Instead, Jara proposed “sitting down with her at a level of vocabulary that she understands” and explaining to the six-year-old “that there are different types of people, that they have different desires, different affections for another person, and that sometimes they only express that with that person who is of the same sex.”
Jara envisioned telling the girl that acting on homosexual impulses is not “completely correct” but that “today we find ourselves with that, so it is a little difficult, it is difficult, it is not easy to talk about it.”
The priest then insisted that parents should not condemn homosexual activity. “But to condemn it and say ‘No!,’ I am already creating, in that aspect, in her, a mentality of disrespect, of condemnation, and I as a human being do not have to take on the role of God,” he said.
“God is the only one who judges, God is the only one who can condemn or not condemn,” Jara declared.
“I don’t agree with [what] you do in the way that you do, but I respect it, I respect it, and I continue to love you as a human being, as a daughter and son of God,” he said, suggesting that people should “respect” homosexuals’ gravely sinful sexual choices.
“I cannot impose my own thought, my own way of doing things, of doing it in an imposition,” he stressed.
Scripture instructs Christians to rebuke sinners (2 Tim 4:2) and “hate” evil (Rom 12:9). “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,” Jesus commands in Luke 17:3. Catholic Tradition recognizes “admonishing the sinner” as a spiritual work of mercy.
Jara misquotes the Catechism
Moreover, during his scandalous comments about homosexuality, Jara spread misinformation about the Catechism and Church teaching, falsely claiming that the Church does not condemn the homosexual inclination.
“From the point of view of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church has in no moment condemned the orientation” to homosexuality, Jara said. “[The Church] has stated, in accordance with the enlightenment of psychology, that there are sexual orientations, different sexual orientations of a homosexual type, heterosexual.”
“And in this aspect of sexual orientation, we must respect what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says. The doctrine of the Catholic Church is respect for these people who are homosexuals, gays, lesbians, whatever you call them,” he continued.
In reality, the Catechism explicitly condemns the homosexual inclination as “objectively disordered” in paragraph 2358, reiterating Catholic teaching, and never uses the word “orientation” in reference to sexuality.
The Church opposes “unjust discrimination” of homosexuals but teaches that there are many circumstances in which it is not unjust to consider someone’s sexual tendencies, such as in foster care or the employment of teachers. The Church additionally holds that homosexuality is not a “positive source of rights” and cannot be equated with non-disordered qualities like race.
Jara misquoted the Catechism in his June 2022 episode as well, incorrectly saying that the Catechism states that homosexuals “do not choose their homosexual condition.” The initial version of the Catechism published by the U.S. bishops in 1994 contained that phrase, but the official Latin edition issued by Pope John Paul II in 1997 removed it. The second English edition of the Catechism in the U.S. conforms to the Latin text.
Jara later pointed to paragraph 2359 of the Catechism, which teaches that homosexuals are “called to chastity.” “Not only does a person who is homosexual or lesbian have to live chastity, we all have to live chastity,” the Franciscan commented.
“We are all called to a life of chastity, which means to live our life, that gift that God gives us of sexuality,” he said.
But Jara proposed a strange idea of chastity — one that allows for “sexual satisfaction” between “friends,” but without the “genital part.”
“Sexuality is not just the conjugal act of an intimate relationship,” he said. “Sexuality is when you interact with other people, with other human beings. That is sexuality.”
“Sexuality is the moment that you are having a conversation with a female friend, with a male friend who went out for coffee, who went out to see a movie, a game,” Jara continued. “You are having tea with your friends, or you are having a beer with your friends. There you are having sexuality.”
The priest criticized the idea that “sexual satisfaction just has to do with the genitals”:
No, there is a sexual satisfaction when I am having a good conversation with a female friend, with a male friend, with a group of friends who go out at that moment. There we are growing as affective human beings, who love each other, who respect each other. In that moment, there is sexual satisfaction as well. What happens is that we have focused on the genital part.
Jara did not refer to paragraph 2357 of the Catechism, which describes homosexuality as “grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered,” in either the June or the February episodes.