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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, September 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A religious brother in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg who acts as national chaplain for the heretical pro-gay organization Dignity Canada has been appointed for active ministry in a local parish. But Archbishop Richard Gagnon, who heads the archdiocese, told LifeSiteNews that he was “not aware” of the brother’s involvement in the dissident group when he first made the appointment and that he is now working to resolve the situation.

Thomas Novak, a brother with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), was appointed by Archbishop Gagnon earlier this year for ministry at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Winnipeg, Manitoba, effective October 1, a memorandum states.

As national chaplain for Dignity, Novak helps lead an organization that rejects Catholic teaching on the nature of the human person and human sexuality. The organization’s website mainly consists of documents and position pieces extolling homosexual behaviors while disparaging Church authority that teaches against them.

“Despite our commitment to the Church, we are convinced that such condemnation [of homosexuality] is not the word of God. Our own experience is that we can express our sexuality in a manner consonant with Christ's teaching,” one document on the website states.

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“We see our sexuality and its expression as the holy gift of God. The overwhelming majority of us are able to say that we are both sexually active and comfortable in our relationship with Christ,” another document states.

Novak also campaigns outside the Church in Winnipeg’s ‘Pride’ celebrations to help convince the public that homosexuality and Catholicism are compatible. Photos found online by the Catholic website Church Militant, which first reported this story, show Novak holding a banner at a Winnipeg ‘Pride’ Parade that reads: “Dignity: LGBTT Catholics.”

Manitoba Campaign Life Coalition president Maria Slykerman told LifeSiteNews that she was “deeply disappointed” to see a publicly unorthodox religious brother appointed to minister at a parish, hoping that it might be an error.

“I don’t see how Archbishop Gagnon could appoint as minister someone who opposes Church teaching. The children and young people are my biggest concern. This brother will supposedly be teaching them Catechism classes and forming them in the faith, but how can he authentically pass on the faith if he disagrees with what the Church actually teaches?” she said.

Slykerman said there is no place in any parish for a religious brother who holds public positions contrary to Church teaching.

“If I were in that parish and he were there, I would leave it and find a different one,” she said. “The Archbishop should indeed remove him immediately,” she said.

LifeSiteNews contacted Brother Novak for comment, but did not receive a response.

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In a 1986 letter on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who later became Pope Benedict XVI — warned the faithful about a “movement with the Church” consisting of those who “either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine” and who work to change what the Church teaches.

“One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination,” the document warned.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns homosexual acts as acts of “grave depravity” that are “intrinsically disordered.” The Church also recognizes that the homosexual inclination itself is “objectively disordered” because God created sexuality to be ordered toward the spousal love of a man and woman whose one-flesh union leads to the creation of new life.

The Church teaches that Christians attracted to the same sex are undergoing a time of “trial” and like all Christians are called to “chastity.”

“They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, the Catechism adds. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

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