Dear Bishop Lynch:
In an article in NACDLGM News, August 1997, p. 4., it was reported that Bishop J. Keith Symons promoted a retreat for parents of gay/lesbian sons/daughters, hosted by Father Robert Nugent, SDS, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND.
In response to concerns raised by the laity in the Diocese, Bishop Symons said: “…I have consulted fellow Bishops of dioceses where they have spoken. I am assured that Father Nugent and Sister Gramick present the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church with compassionate ministry outreach in conformity with Sacred Scripture, the November 11, 1976 Pastoral Reflection on the Moral Life by the Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled ‘To Live in Christ Jesus,’ and the ‘Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral care of Homosexual Persons’ prepared by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II of October 1, 1986.”
After defending his decision to go on with the retreat, Bishop Symons added that he has “decided not to cancel this retreat despite protests by a few well intentioned but ill informed persons.”
In recent news articles following Bishop Symons’ resignation for pedophilia, it has been reported that you have been involved with the overall policies and procedures in dealing with sexual abuse by the clergy. Since Bishop Symons has consulted “fellow Bishops of dioceses where [Nugent and Gramick] have spoken,” do you think it would be prudent to identify these bishops and assess their influence on the American hierarchy? Your interest in preventing the ordination of potential sexual predators is praiseworthy. Might that interest be expanded to other aspects of the hierarchy?
With hindsight, Excellency, who do you think was more ill-informed those who were suspicious of the New Ways retreat or those who were not? Would you be open, in NCCB proceedings, to entering into a dialog with those who have repeatedly expressed concerns over such documents as Always Our Children and other deeply flawed USCC publications dealing with human sexuality?
Be assured of my prayers, etc.
Dear Father Pokorsky,
May I politely inquire who appointed you to conduct an inquiry into the matters raised in your letter? If you share with me your appropriate credentials to be seeking such information, I might be inclined to take your letter more seriously.
I trust that you will not mind my sharing your letter and this response with appropriate Church authorities whom I suspect that at a time like this realize I need all the help I can get and not the hostility contained in your letter.
Dear Bishop Lynch:
You inquired as to my credentials in posing bold questions in my letter of June 9th. May I politely remind you that, in the interview you gave to the Tampa Tribune, you took it upon yourself to pronounce on the Church’s treatment of sexuality generally? In the name of the Church you said, “We almost have a hang up with sex,” and, “We expect people to live up to such a high ideal of sexual conduct and we don’t allow any failure”.
When the media loses interest, priests in the front lines will be left holding the bag by the authors of Always Our Children and the defenders of New Ways Ministry. Layfolk who are puzzled and angered by such maneuvers are not reassured when one of their episcopal promoters resigns his office on account of pederasty. Many of these layfolk will feel that such a man abused, not a “high ideal of sexual conduct”, but the lowest imaginable standard.
My earlier letter was written as a priest to a brother priest. You considered this to be an insufficient credential to provide an answer. Then allow me to ask you man to man. What prevents you from taking any opportunity to clear up possible confusions caused by a bishop who informs the media “we almost have a hang up with sex?”
“In 2001, Bill Urbanski accused Lynch of forcing him to share a room when they traveled, grabbing his thigh and showering him with expensive gifts. At one point when they were in a Santa Fe, N.M., hotel room, Urbanski said Lynch asked to take pictures of him without a shirt so he could superimpose his head on Urbanski’s muscular body for Christmas cards. The married father of two said he did as he was told, then vomited in the lobby. The diocese gave Urbanski $100,000, a sum characterized as severance.”