On February 7, 2007, an Open Letter
titled “On the Suppression of St. Philip Neri House, Kalamazoo, Michigan”
written by Catholic writer, Randy Engel, author of The Rite of Sodomy, was sent to Franc Cardinal Rodé, Prefect of the
Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of
Apostolic Life in Rome.
Letter, reprinted below in full, requests that Cardinal Rodé appoint a formal
board of inquiry, independent of the Oratorian Confederation, to examine the
charges brought against St. Philip Neri House, an Oratory in formation, and its
religious superior, Father Robert A. Sirico.
Letter was first posted by Renew America columnist, Matt C. Abbott,
onFebruary 13, 2007, and was quickly picked up
by other Catholic and religious news services.
Response to the Open
Letter, both pro and con, was immediate.
for a Vatican investigation of Sirico and St.
Philip Neri House came largely from traditional Catholic circles.
to the Open Letter came almost exclusively from the Acton Institute, based in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
co-founded by Sirico in 1990. Acton Institute is a quasi-Libertarian economic/political
organization whose primary purpose is to influence government policy using a
thin veil of religion for credibility.
14, 2007, one day after the Open Letter was made public, John N.
Couretas, head of public relations for the multi-million dollar Acton
Institute, sent Abbott an e-mail asking him to immediately remove the Open
Letter from his Web site.
Couretas claimed that
the Engel letter contains “substantial
falsehoods, was written by a person who did not allow Fr. Robert or the Acton
Institute to respond to her allegations, and contains not a single person on
the record backing up her claims.”
Couretas did not identify the exact nature of the alleged
“substantial falsehoods,” nor did he explain why the Acton Institute, a
enterpriseshould be entitled to an opinion on a purely religious
issue – the suppression of St. Philip Neri House and the removal of Father
Sirico as its religious superior by a Vatican Congregation.
In the meantime, Abbott received additional pressure to
abort the Engel article from priest-friends of Sirico and other associates
connected with the Acton Institute.
After discussing the matter with Engel,
Abbott withdrew the Open Letter, and the other websites followed suit.
Actually, the debate on Father Sirico and St. Philip Neri
House is just heating up.
The Sirico Brief contains documentation
in support of the charges made against Father Robert Sirico and St. Philip Neri
House in the Engel Open Letter of February 7, 2004. A copy of the brief along with pertinent
attachments has been forwarded to the Congregation for Religious.
the Suppression of St. Philip Neri House, Kalamazoo,
7 February 2007
Franc Cardinal Rodé, Prefect
Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated
Societies of Apostolic Life
Piazza Pio XII, 3
Vatican City State
The purview of the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life embraces all matters
concerning orders and religious congregations, secular institutes, and
societies of apostolic life including associations of the faithful erected with
the intention of becoming institutes of consecrated life or societies of
St. Philip Neri House located at 219 Woodward Ave., Kalamazoo,
in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a Society of Apostolic Life, and a
House of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in formation, and it therefore falls
within the jurisdiction of your Congregation. The superior of St. Philip Neri
House is Father Robert A. Sirico.
This “Open Letter” has as its objective, the securing of
a ruling from your Congregation that will bring about the suppression of St.
Philip Neri House and the removal of Father Sirico as its superior. St. Philip
Neri House is currently seeking membership in the Confederation of the Oratory
of St. Philip Neri.
The circumstances surrounding the erection of St. Philip
Neri House and the selection of Father Sirico as its superior is a matter of
grave public scandal, and constitutes a clear and present danger to the
spiritual welfare of Catholic men seeking vocational advice and spiritual
direction from Father Sirico and other members of the community at St. Philip
Portrait of an Apostate, Marxist, Active Homosexual, Gay Rights Activist
Father Robert A. Sirico was born on 23 June 1951, in Brooklyn, N.Y.He is an Italian-American of Sicilian
descent. He apostatized from the Catholic faith in his late teens. His time
spent in the U.S. Navy after high school graduation was of short duration.
Following his discharge from the Navy, he settled in Seattle where he took up with a cult called
the Jesus People and joined their male commune known as Joshua’s House. By the
age of 19, his brief flirtation with Marxism over, the charismatic youth
embarked on a new career as an itinerant Pentecostal preacher and established
his own “church” known for its “miraculous faith healings.”
In 1972, Sirico established a different kind of “church” -
a satellite of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church
(UFMCC) founded by homosexual activist Rev. Troy Perry in Los Angeles in 1968. The UFMCC teaches that
homosexuality is neither a sin nor a sickness and that “homosexual relationships
should be celebrated and affirmed.” The UFMCC has been used as a battering ram
against the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant sects who oppose
In 1975, Rev. Sirico moved to Los Angeles and became the Executive Director
of the Los AngelesGayCommunity
Center, one of the oldest and largest lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations in the world. He also
continued his work as a minister of the UFMCC.
21 April 1975,
Rev. Sirico made the annals of “gay” history as a pioneer “gay rights” activist
when he performed the first same-sex “marriage” in the United States
of two male homosexuals with a civil marriage license at the First Unitarian
Church of Denver, Colo.
year later, on 12 April 1976, Rev. Sirico, dressed in a black clerical suit
with a Roman collar made the pages of the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer under the headline “‘Male Slave Mart’ Raid in L.A.
Called a Mistake. ”
reported by the SeattleP-I, on April 10, 1976, Los Angeles
policemen dressed in riot gear arrested 40 persons participating in a
homosexual “slave market” held at the Mark IV Health Club in Hollywood. The
bathhouse was operated by a sadomasochist cult called the Leather Fraternity.
Nude “male slaves” were led on stage by an auctioneer and inspected by
potential buyers. “Slaves” went for $10-75. The undercover policeman at the
auction told the press that he picked up a man for $16 following assurances
from the auctioneer that the ‘volunteer for charity’ would perform specific sex
acts on him. The auction room came complete with its own dungeons and cell
blocks and sadomasochist apparatus including leather harness restraints and
event was sponsored by the Los
AngelesGayCommunity Center headed by Rev. Sirico,
who told the P-I reporter that the
Los Angeles Police Department was “out to get” the gay community. Rev. Sirico
called the event a “harmless fund-raising event” staged to raise money for the
Center’s venereal disease clinic.
The UFMCC in Los Angeles has confirmed that the Rev. Robert
Sirico involved in the two history-making “gay” events at the UnitarianChurch
in Denver in
1975 and the Mark IV Health Club in Los
Angeles in 1976, is the same Father Robert Sirico,
currently the superior of St. Philip Neri House in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Ordained for the Paulist Order
On 13 May 1989, after completing his
novitiate with the Paulist Fathers at their House of Studies in Washington, D.C.,
and his scholastic training at Catholic University of America, Robert A. Sirico
was ordained a priest of the Paulist Order, a Society of Apostolic Life like
THIS ORDINATION SHOULD NEVER HAVE TAKEN PLACE.
2 February 1961,
all superiors of Religious Communities, Societies without vows, and Secular
Institutes received a copy of the document “Careful Selection and Training of
Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” from the
Congregation for Religious. The
Congregation noted that while the Instruction was “privately circulated” its
contents were “a matter of public law.” The principle subject of the discourse
of the Instruction is the proper vetting and training of candidates for Sacred
Orders. The Instruction was in force, but obviously not enforced by the
Paulists, at the time of Sirico’s ordination.
the matter of the selection ofseminary
candidates, the essence of which is the discernment of character, the tone of
the 1961 Instruction is exacting, even strident Moral certitude as to the
fitness of the candidate for ordination is demanded of the superior. The
Instruction firmly acknowledges that chastity is the heart of religious life
and the priesthood. Any candidate unable to observe ecclesiastical celibacy and
practice priestly chastity, no matter what other “outstanding qualities” he possesses,
is to be barred from the religious life and the priesthood.
1961 Instruction specifically prohibits the advancement to religious vows and
ordination of habituated onanists as well “as those afflicted with evil
tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and
priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”
though, by the late 1980s, the Paulists were routinely ordaining known
homosexuals for the priesthood, their ordination of Sirico was especially
alarming given his long habituation to the vice of sodomy and his public record
of homosexual activism.
Sirico Seeks Independence
from the Paulists
his ordination, Sirico was assigned to the PaulistCenter
in Minneapolis, Minn., and shortly thereafter transferred to
the PaulistCatholicInformationCenter in Grand Rapids, Mich.
with his situation,Sirico toyed with
the idea of seeking exclaustration from the Paulists provided he could
incardinate in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, but Bishop Robert John Rose did not
want him apart from the Paulist Order. Instead, Sirico petitioned and was
granted a one-year sabbatical by the Paulists.
In 1990, only a year after his ordination, Sirico
underwent another career change. He became the President of the newly created
Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, an ecumenical, free-market
educational think-tank funded by Michigan-based Dutch Calvinist business
entrepreneurs. Sirico began to preach another gospel – that of Calvinist
economic predestination and prosperity. He declared that Catholic seminarians,
priests and religious are especially ignorant of fundamental economic
principles and need to be educated on the benefits of free market capitalism.
To date, Sirico has lectured around the world including the Vatican on the
ethical dimensions of the free market economy and faith-based environmentalism
as promoted by James Dobson and other prominent Christian
conservative evangelical leaders.
Sirico Moves to Lansing Diocese and then Kalamazoo Diocese
Sirico moved out from under the authority of his Paulist
superiors and away from the Diocese of Grand Rapids to the “gay-friendly”
Diocese of Lansing under “gay-friendly” Bishop Kenneth Povish, a backer of the
notorious New Ways Ministry. Sirico was assigned a rural parish by Chancellor
James A. Murray while continuing to commute to his job at the Acton Institute
in Grand Rapids.
In 1998, Murray was appointed Bishop of Kalamazoo.
Sirico followed him to Kalamazoo.
For Sirico’s benefit, Bishop Murray immediately set up St.
Philip Neri House as a pia domus –
the first step in becoming an Oratory of St. Philip Neri and a member of the
worldwide Confederation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri.
Despite Sirico’s homosexual background, Murray appointed Sirico the superior of St.
Philip Neri House.
St. Philip Neri House
currently claims four residents including three priests – enough to erect an
oratory and be incorporated into the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip
Neri. The residents include Father Sirico, Father David Grondz, Father James
Richardson, and Brother Basil, an associate of Father Grondz.
Fathers Grondz and
Richardson were ordained by Bishop James A. Murray for the Diocese of Kalamazoo
on 13 May 2006 at
St. Augustine Cathedral. In addition to their assignment at St. Philip Neri
House, both are also engaged in pastoral work for the diocese.
Questions of moral turpitude
have arisen in connection with the seminary life of these three men, and with
the close existing relationship between Grondz and Sirico, which I am unable to
confirm or deny. However, as Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for Institutes
of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Lifeyou will be in a position toinvestigate seminary records and interview former oratory residents and
visitors so as to render a fair verdict on these particular questions.
I have been in contact with
men who have discerned at St. Philip Neri House. Their reports suggest disturbing
patterns of behaviors at the House including catty, effeminate conversations;
inappropriate touchings especially by Superior Sirico; the use of sexually
explicit films including “gay” flicks as part of the oratory’s “Home Night”
program; and violent exhibitions of [homosexual] rage by Sirico.
reports come as no surprise to anyone with even a minimum understanding of
homosexual behavior. The very nature of homosexual relationships in the
religious life and societies of apostolic life precludes the existence of the
oratory concept envisioned by Saint Philip Neri, the father of the Societies of
Apostolic Life movement.Homosexual
relationships poison the well of friendship, discipleship, and stability – the
hallmarks of an Oratorian community.
Petition Put Forth to the Congregation
Based on the complaints noted above, I place the
following petitions before you as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life:
That you instructthe officers of
the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Phil Neri, specifically, theProcurator General Very Reverend Edoardo Aldo Cerrato, C.O. from
the Rome Oratory and the Delegate of the Holy See for the Oratory, Very
Reverend Felix Selden, C.O. from the Vienna Oratory, to withdraw from active
consideration the request of the St. Philip Neri House of Kalamazoo, Mich. for
oratory status, pending an investigation of the above charges.
That a formal board of inquiry, independent of the Oratorian Confederation and
its members, be establishedto examine
the above charges against Father Sirico and St. Philip Neri House.
these charges to be valid, that the Congregation order the dissolution and
St. Philip Neri House.
As you must be well aware, the Holy Father has frequently
spoken out against the very concept of homosexual “unions” and “marriages.”
What do you think his reaction will be when he learns that the first “gay”
minister to perform such a ceremony in the United States is now the superior
of a Catholic religious order?
In a press statement of 4 March 2006, you said that Pope Benedict XVI is seeking to revitalize the life
of the Church beginning with the reform of religious orders. Why not begin this
reform with the Oratorians and the Paulists and other societies of apostolic
life and religious orders that have been compromised by the Homosexual
of the favorite sayings of Saint Philip Neri was “Christian
joy is a gift of God flowing from a good conscience.” May you do your duty in the
matter of St. Philip Neri House and Father Robert A. Sirico, and sleep with a
good conscience this night.
Very Rev. Felix Selden C.O., Vienna, Apostolic
Very Rev. Edoardo Aldo Cerrato C.O., Rome, Procurator General
13 February 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters
in Christ –
According to Cardinal Franc
for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of
Apostolic Life, Pope
Benedict XVI has made
the reform of Religious Orders and Societies of Apostolic Life a principle
goal of his pontificate.
Letters, e-mails and faxes
and phone calls to the Congregation in support of an investigation of St.
Philip Neri House under the leadership of Fr. Robert A. Sirico are needed
Cardinal Rodé, Prefect
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Please give this “Open
Letter” the widest circulation possible. No permission is needed to post it
on your website or print it in your newsletter. Copies of this “Open letter”
have already been sent out to all Oratories of St. Philip Neri throughout the
Let our universal battle
cry be Alto quien vive!! Loosely
translated it means: Anyone on the battlefield
who is still alive, stand up and fight!! Fight for your Faith! Don’t Give Up!
Randy Engel, author, The Rite of Sodomy – Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church
1951 Robert A. Sirico is born
on June 23, 1951
in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is an Italian-American of Sicilian
descent. He has three older siblings and a number of nieces and nephews some of
whom have moved to the Kalamazoo
area in recent years.
older sister and widow, Caroline Pannunzio, was born on October 25, 1938. She moved from her Florida home to Kalamazoo in 2004.
older brother, Genaro Anthony “Tony” or “Junior” Sirico was born on July 29, 1942. He is an
actor. His most prominent role to date is that of Paulie Walnuts in television
series The Sopranos. He currently
resides in Bensonhurst in the borough of Brooklyn,
and has made public appearances with his brother, Robert.
brother, Carmine Sirico, also resides in New York.
1969 Upon graduation fromhigh
school graduationduring the Vietnam War period, Sirico enters the Navy. He
enlists on August 18, 1969
and is discharged six months later on January 20, 1970.
an interview with Ray Ruppert, Religion Editor of The Seattle Times on January 23, 1971, Sirico claims he was discharged from the
Navy because of his “clergy status.” This statement is false. According to
records obtained from the Navy’s NationalPersonnelRecordsCenter in St. Louis, Mo.
by writer Thomas Herron, Sirico entered the service at Ft.Hamilton
in Brooklyn and attended boot camp at the NavalTrainingCenter, Great
Lakes, Ill. Sirico was assigned to the aircraft carrier, the USS
Kitty Hawk ported at the Bremerton,
Wash. Navy Yard. He was
discharged from the NavalHospital at the Bremerton shipyard less
than three months later. There is no mention of Sirico’s “clergy status.”
1970 Sirico settles in Seattle where he joins
the Jesus People Movement, led by Linda Meissner. She would later separate from
her husband and the Jesus People and joined the controversial cult known as the
People of God, headed by David “Moses” Berg. Sirico chooses a different path.
Sirico takes up residence at
the House of Joshua, an all male religious commune in North
Seattle operated by the Meissners, and begins promoting thetheology and beliefs of the Jesus People.
soon gains a reputation and a large following as a charismatic preacher promoting
the Pentecostal message and experience of “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” He
claims for himself the gift of tongues, the gift of interpretation of tongues,
the gift of healing and the gift of miracles.
In addition to
drawing support for his Truth in Healing, Inc. ministry from local Baptist and
Pentecostal churches, he also attracts the attention of Catholic Charismatic
and main-line Protestant churches.
1971Sirico begins to draw large crowds to the Bethany United
In his January 23, 1971 interview
with Ray Ruppert, Religion Editor of The
Seattle Times, Sirico says he was no longer a Catholic and had become an
ordained Pentecostal minister.
Ruppert that his first religious experience occurred when he was preparing for
his First Communion at the age of seven. He said it was like God and him were
together and he was speaking directly to God. Sirico says that at age 11, while
preparing for his Confirmation, he first spoke in tongues. Kneeling, Sirico
said, he spoke in another language before a crucifix. “That I believe to be my
baptism in the Holy Spirit,” he explains.
woman named Mrs. Flourmill A. Marion,
injured in a series of auto accidents in 1966 and 1969, hears Sirico preaching
on KTW, attends his healing service and claims she has been cured of pain and
able to walk without crutches.
Johnson, a Protestant minister, at the urging of a university student from his
congregation who is impressed by Sirico’s preaching, meets with Sirico and
other members of the commune at the House of Joshua. Johnson brings a tape
recorder and examines Sirico’s claims of speaking in tongues. Sirico could not
talk in tongues. Johnson asks Sirico to translate Greek using his power of
“interpretation of tongues.” Sirico could not do it. Johnson quizzes Sirico
about his alleged cure of a young girl with a sight problem which had proven
false. Sirico retorts that the girl had not remained faithful and had “lost her
healing.” Linda Meissner interrupts the meeting and orders Johnson out. Johnson
concludes that Sirico’s miraculous claims are bogus and that Sirico is using
his claims to gain control and notoriety in the commune.
1972 Seattle’s Charismatic Presbytery, an organ 70
clergy and laymen sets up the Robert Sirico Foundation to finance Sirico’s healing
ministry. A spokesman for the Presbytery publicly praises Sirico as “a
spirit-filled young man whom God has blessed with a marvelous healing
ministry.” As part of the Charismatic Renewal Movement, Sirico’s “Miracle
healing” is drawing capacity crowds at local churches.
On Wednesday, May 10, 1972, Sirico
holds a press conference and publicly announces he is a homosexual and that he
intends to start a homosexual church in Seattle.
Sirico tells the
press that, “The harsh stand of most churches has driven many
homosexually-oriented men and women… to suicide. It has destroyed in others the
dignity and self-esteem that is the foundation of a health personality and a
productive career.” “The gay men and women who have overcome this self-hate to
live full lives have generally had to reject Christianity
to do it, because Christianity is
generally represented as incompatible with their nature,” he says.
history of “excommunicating, scourging, or burning of ‘faggots’ as heretics and
sinners is an arrogant perversion of the Christian
law of love,” says Sirico. He admits that many friends including members of his
own family have disowned him.
He says the Universal Fellowship
of Metropolitan Community Churches will help bring the assurance of the love of
Christ to gay people on the terms of
self-acceptance that healthy people must live by. [The UFMCC teaches that homosexuality is neither a sin nor
a sickness and that “homosexual relationships should be celebrated and
affirmed.” The UFMCC has been used as an effective battering ram against the
Roman Catholic Church and Protestant sects who oppose homosexuality.]
affable Sirico smiles at the press and tells them he is very happy. “I’m hoping
to be married to a beautiful man in Los
Angeles whose work is translating for the deaf,” he
confesses. He also announces that as pastor of the new MCC, he will perform
“homosexual marriages.”In a later
interview with the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, Sirico says that “Two men in bed together… was a holy
experience – to hold one another close and confess together, “Isn’t God
In Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging
(University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2003, pp. 161-163), homosexual
activist and writer, Gary L. Atkins, quotes Sirico as stating, “The blessings
of the Holy Spirit are being passed onto the homosexual community… My [Christian] beliefs have not changed. I have a
relationship with the Lord that I never knew existed.” Atkins says that Sirico
refused to repent what was not a sin and instead proclaimed he was “proud and
glad that God has made me this way.”
public “coming out” sends shock waves through the Charismatic Presbytery whose
members, including Protestant and Evangelical ministers and Catholic priests, who
On Thursday, May 11, 1972, a
delegation from the Presbytery meets with Sirico to counsel and dissuade. Sirico
informs them that he was aware for most of his life that he was a homosexual,
since the age of 13.
He says that
he used to believe that homosexuality was a perversion and was condemned in the
Bible, but recently changed his mind. Citing 1 Corinthians 6:9, Sirico says his
new interpretation of this passage is that the Bible condemns “trying to change one’s sexual
orientation,” that is, a person who goes against his heterosexual or homosexual
nature.In his healing ministry, Sirico
says, he has found it impossible to “totally deliver” a person from
homosexuality and has seen some become so despairing as to commit suicide.
According to Presbytery member, Rev.
Richard Denham, Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, that past February,
Sirico visited New Mexico and Los Angeles where he “worked over a bit of Greek
in the New Testament” with persons sympathetic to a condoning of homosexuality
within Christendom. Rev. Troy Perry,
the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Churches in Los Angeles befriended
the young man and made a new convert for the MCC.
After Sirico and two homosexual companions
walk out “belligerently and defiantly” from the meeting, more than 20 members
of the Presbytery issue a prepared statement on Sirico’s defection. Rev. Dennis
Bennett, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, a principal drafter of the
statement, makes it clear that the Prebytery is not taken in by Sirico or the
MCC propaganda machine. He declares, “Mr. Sirico is not actually ministering to
the homosexual community in starting a “gay” church, but really condoning and
encouraging what Scripture and the Church clearly recognize as a serious sin.”
“Ministering to the homosexual community would involve helping the homosexual
be delivered and healed and to take an effective and normal place in society,”
Rod McDougal of the Jesus People also expresses regret
that Sirico had chosen his homosexual friends over his Christian
friends stating that in order to recover from this “sickness,” Sirico needs to
stop surrounding himself with ones with weaknesses like his own.
members of the Charismatic Presbytery resign from Sirico’s Board en masse.
Bob Johnson, manager of the
Broadway Theater where Sirico plans on holding his healing services announces
that no Sirico-led service will be held at the Broadway.
Later, Sirico receives permission
to hold church services at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church in Renton
Hill. Communion services are held on Sunday mornings and a Mass is celebrated each Sunday by a priest.
Sirico forms a
Youth Group at the MCC made up of young homosexuals, mostly males, including
street hustlers. Young men from the local GayCommunity Center
are also hired to work at odd jobs at the church. [This
pattern of surrounding himself with young males, first at the House of Joshua,
now with young homosexual men at the MCC, would be repeated again and again
throughout Sirico’s life.]
In late June, Rev. Sirico travels to Vancouver, British
Columbia to hold the first religious service in the
city for 30 homosexuals. From June 30 to July 2, Vancouver hosts a Gay Pride that includes a
debate between Sirico and a Protestant minister who opposes homosexuality.
August 6, Sirico’s church is formally chartered by the UFMCC and Rev. Perry
preaches at the dedication service. Bodyguards
are on hand to protect both Sirico and Perry. In a statement to the press,
Sirico likens the MCC’s struggle for “gay liberation” with the civil rights
movement of the late fifties. “If I have to be the person here who says “I
ain’t movin’ to the back of the bus,’ then so be it,” he tells the press.
that his goal is to make homosexuality accepted in the church and in society.
Other churches “have to recognize the fact that souls are being won to Christ,” he said. The dedication service includes
the ordination of seven deacons. The young church claims 80 members, mostly
male homosexuals and their relatives. [When AIDS hits the States, approximately 40% of the MCC’s
male members will be living with AIDS or will have died of AIDS including many
of its clergy.]
1973 On April 23, Sirico is among
a group of homosexuals picketing the Seattle Police Department. The picketers charge
that Police Chief George Tielsch has a “personal vendetta” against homosexuals
and that the police sexually harassed sexual minorities. When Tielsch does not
grant the group a hearing, pressure is increased on him. Sirico and other
homosexual activist picket Tielsch’s home. When Tielsch was finally forced out
of office, Sirico made his famous quip, “Who says God doesn’t answer the
prayers of gay people?” Sirico is joined in the picket by ex-priest homosexual William
Fr. William H.
DuBay served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under
James Cardinal McIntyre
(1948-1970). In the mid-1960s, DuBay clashed with the cardinal on the issue of
clerical unionism, civil rights, and leftist economics and politics, and was
suspended. He moved to Oakland,
Calif., and went to work at a
Synanon drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, but he disagreed with the
center’s treatment of homosexual addicts. DuBay continued north to Seattle where he settled
down and married socialite Mary Ellen Rochester. One year later, he “outed”
himself as a homosexual and his marriage was annulled. He became a columnist
for The Advocate, a national “gay”
newspaper and joined up withfellow
homosexual activists Sirico. DuBay also established a “gay-affirming”
Synanon-style clinic named Stonewall that was housed in a former Carmelite
monastery on Renton Hill.
In July 1973,
Sirico continues his homosexual missionary activities by assisting in the
establishment of a new MetropolitanCommunityChurch
in Cincinnati, Ohio. In a front-page Associated Press
release in the Lima News of July 7, 1973, Sirico is
quoted as stating that “The great oppressor of homosexuals in history has been
the Church with its misinterpretation of the Word of God.”
Later in the
summer Sirico travels to Ottawa
to energize the “Gay Liberation Movement in Canada.
Rev. Sirico is arrested by the Seattle
police and is incarcerated over an incident in Pioneer Square, a popular cruising area
that housed a public men’s room
frequented by local homosexuals. Sirico is coming out of a local bar at when he sees the police arrest
two young male hustlers for sexual solicitation. When he attempts to interfere
with the arrest, he was taken into custody. He joins other homosexuals in the
holding tank singing “We Shall Overcome” until he is bailed out by one of his
1975In February, Raymond “Dutch” Hunthausen arrives in Seattle. Under Archbishop
Thomas Arthur Connolly (1951-1975) “Catholic” homosexual groups like Dignity were
able to secure a foothold in the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, but under
Archbishop Hunthausen (1975-1991) they explode into a frenzy of political
activity. Under Hunthausen, Dignity masses continue at St. Joseph Parish, while
religious orders in the Seattle
archdiocese are heavily compromised.
In the spring
of 1975, Sirico prepares to move to Southern California.
On April 21, 1975, MCC
clergyman Sirico travels to Colorado
where he performs the first same-sex “marriage” of two male homosexuals with a
civil marriage license at the First Unitarian Church of Denver. He is assisted
by Rev. Elder Freda Smith, the MCC’s first woman minister. Witnesses include
MCCRev. Elder Charlie Arehart and Rev.
Troy Perry’s longtime assistant, Frank Zerilli.
day, the Boulder Daily Camera runs a picture of
Sirico, dressed in clerics with a Roman collar and alb, preparing “communion”
under both species for the “happy couple” - Anthony Sullivan and Richard
According to Camera staff writer, Tony Stroh, Sullivan
is Australian and his visa expires in July, 1975.Through his marriage to Adams,
Sullivan hopes to be granted the status of First Preferential Alien - that of a
spouse. Sirico tells Stroh that the U.S. Immigration Service takes a dim view
of homosexual aliens, nevertheless, the “wedding”
is intended, in part, to test the immigration laws and to
show that same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as heterosexual
On June 11, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in an
article by Joel Connelly titled “ExceptionalChurch is Accepted,” announce that the
Church Council of Greater Seattle approves membership of the UFMCC affiliate
church. Father Hogan, a Catholic priest, and a Catholic Board
member supported the MCC affiliation.
In late summer
of 1975, Sirico sets up residence in Los
Angeles, and accepts a job as
the Executive Director of
the Los Angeles Gay Community Center, one of the oldest and largest Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) organizations in the world.
The Los Angeles Gay (and
Lesbian) Community Center was founded in 1971 by Morris Kight, a wealthy “gay”
leader of the early Homosexual Movement in Los Angeles. Sirico also continues his work as
a “minister” of the UFMCC.
On October 8, 1975, The L.A. Times prints a letter-to-the
editor from Sirico congratulating the Times
for its coverage of “gay” events. “How depressing life must be for those prime
examples of homophobia, those ancient oppressors of people, who suddenly find
that they themselves are the ‘queers.’….Hate will never rectify the wrongs done
us, but love can make the future a better place to live,” writes Sirico.
1976 In April, 1976,Rev.
Sirico makes national headlines in a controversy over a Los Angeles police raid of a male slave
auction sponsored by the Los
Seattle Post-Intelligencer article dated April 12, 1976 titled “‘Male Slave Mart’ Raid in L.A. Called a
Mistake,” features Sirico dressed in a black clerical suit with a Roman collar.
The P-I reports that on Saturday night, April 10, 1976, 65 Los Angeles policemen
dressed in riot gear arrest 40 persons participating in a homosexual “slave
market” held at the Mark IV Health Club in Hollywood. The bathhouse is operated by a
sadomasochist cult called the Leather Fraternity. Nude “male slaves” were led
on stage by an auctioneer and inspected by potential buyers. “Slaves” went for
$10-75. The undercover policeman at the auction told the press that he picked
up a man for $16 following assurances from the auctioneer that the ‘volunteer
for charity’ would perform specific sex acts on him. The auction room came
complete with its own dungeons and cell blocks and sadomasochist apparatus
including leather harness restraints and chains.
Pasadena Star-News of April 12, 1976, reports
that eye witnesses at the scene report acts of copulation and sodomy prior to
the opening of the auction.
event is sponsored by the Los
AngelesGayCommunity Center headed by Rev. Sirico,
who told the P-I reporter that the
Los Angeles Police Department was “out to get” the gay community. Rev. Sirico
called the event a “harmless fund-raising event” staged to raise money for the
Center’s venereal disease clinic. He said he had bought slaves at similar
auctions and had them clean his house.
networks with various radical political leaders such as Jane Fonda and Tom
Hayden, but he continues to be single-minded in promoting “gay” rights
[“Gay” activists consider the Mark VI affair to be the equivalent of the
1969 Stonewall Riots as a “resistant historical moment,” and report that it gave
more respect to the leather (sadomasochist) community.]
now reported to have relocated in the “gay” Libertarian mecca of San Francisco, experiences
a political “conversion” to Libertarianism.
that an unnamed friend provides him with reading materials by non-Christian libertarian economists such as Ludwig von
Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard. This, he says, leads to his
conversion to Libertarianism. [See
Thomas J. Herron, “The Trouble with Converts,” Part I and Part II, Culture Wars, September 2005, Vol. 24,
No. 9, and October 2005, Vol. 24, No.9, 10 for a basic guide to Libertarian
a spokesman for Libertarians for Gay Rights.
Libertarian Party for Gay Rights started in the United Kingdom in 1945.] He also embraces aphilosophy of Liberalism that includes
freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of trade.
On September 26, 1977, the Los Angeles Times runs an article, “Libertarians
Will Mount 1978 Gubernatorial Campaign,” in which Sirico is interviewed by Times political writer, Bud Lembke.
Sirico lists five areas where Libertarians and “liberals” are in agreement:
deregulation of drug manufacture, possession and use; decriminalization of
prostitution and pornography; extending rights to homosexuals; and allowing
mental patients to be free if they don’t break any law. Sirico emphasizes that
Libertarians have views that some things, such as sadomasochism, are morally
wrong, but they don’t believe government should censor them.
years prior to the Sirico interview, the Libertarian Party platform calls for
the repeal of laws against voluntary homosexual and heterosexual behavior. It
also endorsesthe right of same-sex
partners to marry. It believes that adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity and
opposes any government attempt to dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any
private lifestyle, living arrangement or contractual relationship.
1978 Sirico receives an
Associates Arts (A.A.) from Los
AngelesCityCollege. In the spring of 1978 he starts
his studies at the University
of Southern California.
1980 Sirico attends the University of London for a semester as an exchange
1982Sirico earns a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in English from
the University of
Southern California. [In
2005, the Acton Institute biographical page on Sirico stated that his degree
was in economics, but this statement was later withdrawn. Sirico hold no advance
degrees in economics.]
to the East Coast and shortly thereafter enters the Catholic Paulist Order novitiate,
and later, the Paulist House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
[The Missionary Society of St.
Paul the Apostle, popularly known as the Paulist Fathers, was founded in New
York in 1858 by Father Isaac Hecker, a convert to Catholicism, a former
Redemptorist missionary, and the“grandfather”
of contemporary Catholic “Pentecostalism.” Father Hecker preached in an
“ecumenical” and “nonjudgmental” contemporary idiom. Many of his novel teachings,
including the primacy of religious experiences over doctrine and discipline,
and the idea that the Church must accommodate her teachings and discipline to
the spirit of the new age in order to attract those outside the Faith were
soundly condemned by Pope Leo XIII. Given Sirico’s background as a Pentecostal
Charismatic minister, it was easy to see why he would be drawn to the Paulist
By 1982, the Paulist
Order, like many religious orders and societies in the United States,
had been heavily colonized by homosexual clerics and seminarians. That Sirico
was an apostate and self-described “gay” man and a notorious “gay” activist, did
not appear to be a stumbling block to his acceptance as a candidate for Holy
Orders by the Paulists, despite the fact that an absolute ban of known
homosexuals from consideration as candidates to the priesthood or religious
life was in effect, though not enforced, by Rome.
Paulist system, a candidate for Holy Orders serves one year as a postulant, two
years as a seminarian, one year of internship, two more years as a seminarian,
one year as a deacon, and is then ordained – a total of seven years.
Like the Oratorians, the Paulists
are not a religious order, but a society of apostolic life. As such, Paulists do not take formal vows like religious order
priests such as the Jesuits or Benedictines, although some members assume the
evangelical counsels by some bond (vow, oath, promise) as defined in their
The specific apostolic work of
the Paulists is the conversion of non-Catholics.]
1983 Sirico completes his
postulancy, and starts his seminary scholastic training at Catholic University
of America (CUA) in Washington,
1984 On April 23, 1984, Sirico attends the
Northwest Bible Conference held at the GlenAcresChurch, 11401 10th Ave. S., Seattle, Wash. He is unaware that the pastor of the church is his old nemesis, Rev.
Ralph Johnson. When Pastor Johnson spots Sirico in clerical garb, he goes to
his office, pulls out his file on Sirico and confronts him publicly with the
information. The incident causes quite a stir. Johnson recalls that Sirico said
something like he knew this would happen one day.
1985Sirico begins serving
his internship while residing at St.
Paul’s College in D.C. operated by the Paulists. He
serves as a chaplain to AIDS patients at the National Institutes of health.
1986 While attending classes
at CUA, Sirico meets Kris Alan Mauren, a student of economics at JohnsHopkinsUniversity and the future
co-founder of the Acton Institute. The two men discover they share common
ground on religion and economics.[One
version of their initial meeting is that they met at a Bible study. The other
version is that met at a Republican/Democratic student seminar.]
1987 Sirico completes his
Masters of Divinity program at CUA, and in the fall of 1987 is assigned to St.
Lawrence Church and NewmanCenter in Minneapolis, Minn.
operated by the Paulists. He is put in charge of the young adults program
connected to the NewmanCenter.
1988 In March, Sirico
produces and directs a musical drama, “The Women at theTomb”for NewmanCenter
college students. He tells news reporters that he is developing a television
program for alienated Catholics.
On May 5, 1988, Sirico gives a talk at
the NewmanCenter titled “Theologians in Search of
Liberation – A Critique,” in which he says, “It is my contention that a society
where free minds and free markets are respected and protected is the kind of
society that best promotes progress and human dignity.”
1989 Father Sirico is
ordained a priest of the Paulist Order on May 13, 1989. [It is unclear if his religious superiors requested and/or
obtained the required dispensations from Rome
in connection with the various canonical impediments and irregularities
connected with Sirico’s past life as a notorious apostate and homosexual
activist. This would be a matter for the Vatican to investigate. ]
ordained Fr. Robert A. Sirico, c.s.p., is initially assigned to the PaulistCenter in Minneapolis, but shortly, thereafter, is transferred
to the Paulist Catholic Information Center (CIC) in Grand Rapids, Mich.
another Paulist priest, Fr. James Fisher, present a talk at the CIC, “Who Was
Ayn Rand?” Both priests are admirers
of Ms. Rand, atheist and author of Atlas
Shrugged and prophetess of the philosophy of Objectivism and “the virtue of
selfishness,” and the “godmother” of the Libertarian Party. [A tape of the Sirico-Fisher lecture confirms that that Sirico’s
return to the Catholic Church and ordination to the priesthood did not substantially
alter the Libertarian ideals he acquired during the heyday of his “gay”
Libertarian Party activism in San
Francisco, albeit, with a Christian
Sirico says he
is experiencing a growing concern over the lack of training religious studies
students receive in fundamental economic principles, leaving them poorly
equipped to understand and address today’s social problems.
In his own
words, in a dinner talk given on June 22, 2006 in San Francisco marking the 25th
Anniversary of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Sirico notes: “I
remember 17 or so years ago, walking through the cobblestone streets of
Guatemala, as a priest speaking to Alex Chaufen and expressing to him my
frustration of tendency to socialism within religious circles. The keen,
riveting insight that he gave me in a few words: He said “institutionalize
yourself, recreate the process that introduced you to liberty.’” So, in a real
way since the very inception of the Acton Institute, we have followed that
advice that Alex, then John Blundell, and of course, Leonard Liggio, who is my
‘godfather of liberty’ as it were, have helped us to promote. That’s why it is
a personal honor and privilege to be with you tonight to celebrate this worthy
said that ‘Liberty
is the delicate fruit of mature civilizations.’ My friends, we have to protect,
and promote, and create the environment in which this delicate fruit can
flourish for the next generation. God Bless You!.”
Alex is Alejandro Chaufen,the Argentinean-born, CEO and President of
the Atlas Foundation. He was one of the original Board
Members of the Acton Institute. Chaufen
wrote Christians for
Freedom: Late ScholasticEconomics which was published in
1986 by Ignatius Press in San
Francisco. According to Thomas Herron, it
purports to show that the, mainly Spanish, late scholastic
theologians of the so-called Salamanca School (16th-17th century) writings
on moral theology can be interpreted as endorsing free market
economics. It contains an introduction by another Catholic
writer who had written an endorsement of laissez-faire
economics a few years before, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Michael
Novak. Novak is a former leftist, who had dissented on Church sexual
teachings, and was born again as a neocon.
John Blundell, the
British economist and Director-General of the Institute of Economic
Affairs, served as President of Atlas from 1987
Leonard P. Liggio, served as a Trustee
of the Acton Institute from 1990 to 1999, and is currently on its Advisory
Board. He is the Executive Vice-President of
Atlas; President of the Mont Pelerin Society; a visiting professor of Law
at the Universidad Francisco
in Guatemala City; and a libertarian
Professor of Law at GeorgeMasonUniversity.
Liggio played a major role in the development of libertarian capitalism in
the United States
by promoting an alliance between Libertarian “Old Right” and the “New Left” in the mid-1960s.
For Sirico, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation
proves to be a mother load of opportunity - an open door to the corridors of
power within the vast Atlas global network of “market oriented” think tanks.
In 1990, Sirico
is invited to join the elite Mont Pelerin Society.In May of 2001, Universidad
Francisco Marroquín awards
him an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences. He is invited to serve on the Civic Institute
which is affiliated with Atlas. In 2004, the Acton Institute receives a Templeton
Freedom Prize for Excellence in Promoting Liberty, a program of the Atlas
one-year after his ordination to the priesthood, Sirico petitions and is granted
a one-year, paid sabbatical from the Paulists in order to pursue a new non-Catholic
apostolate and career in economics and politics. He considers leaving the
Paulists to become a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, but Bishop
Robert J. Rose refuses to incardinate him. Sirico continues to perform minor
duties at the PaulistInformationCenter.
Paulist priests as a
rule do not wear their clerics. With the creation of the Acton Institute,
Sirico switches from suit and tie to black clerics with a Roman collar. He
begins the process of redefining and remarketing his image.
1990Father Sirico joins with Kris
Alan Mauren who is working for the Westin Hotels in Hawaii to co-found the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids with a seed
grant of $80,000 from an unnamed Chicagophilanthropist. Sirico assumes the
title of President and Mauren, the title of Executive Director and they put
themselves on the Acton
payroll. Ten years after the founding of the Acton, its annual budget has risen to $3,692,061
and both Sirico
and Mauren are drawing salaries in excess of $100,000.
the foundations to contribute to the early work of Acton is the pro-abortion Scaife Family
Foundations. In 1991, Acton
receives $100,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. Between 1995 and 1999, the
Scaifes would donate $465,000 to Acton.
Another important early
contributor includes the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation founded by the
Libertarian millionaire Charles G. Koch. In 1991, Acton received a grant of $10,000, and
between 1993 and 2004, it received an additional $86,000 from the Koch
list of grantees to Acton and its Board
of Trustees and Advisory Board begins
to read like a Who’s Who of Industrial, Free Market, Privatization,
The Acton Institute bills itself as “one of the
world’s leading think tanks and educational centers” designed to “promote a
free and virtuous society, and economic liberty. Although the Acton
Institute is not Catholic, the main target of evangelization to the free market
gospel and Calvinist world-view of prosperity and wealth are Catholic clerics
and religious, Catholic seminarians, and Catholic laymen particularly high
school and college students. While no priests serve on Acton’s Board
of Directors, there are priests
serving on its Advisory Board including
Rev. John Michael Beers,
Pontifical College Josephinum, Joseph
Ganssle, OFM, Marian Associates, Rev.
James Sadowsky, SJ, FordhamUniversity and Rev. James V. Schall, SJ, GeorgetownUniversity.
Like most “think tanks” it is quickly becoming a vehicle
the development of public policy and the political deliberations of political
parties, especially the Republican Party, and state and national government. [For
background information on the activities of the Acton Institute from 1990-2005
For updated information see www.acton.org.]
1991Paulists assign Sirico to
various support groups hosted by the CatholicCenter including the Grand
Rapids Area Grief Resource Committee, and a support group for victims of abuse,
leaving Sirico free to work at Acton
and travel and lecture worldwide.
On May 1,
1991, Pope John Paul II issues Centesimus
Hundredth Year, an Encyclical Letter on the Hundredth Anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s great Encyclical
on capital and labour, Rerum Novarum, promulgated on May 15, 1891.
1992 While on a visit to Rome, Sirico meets Archbishop
Francois X. Nguyen Van Thuan, the exiled former Archbishop of Saigon
and President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Pope John Paul II
asks the archbishop to coordinate efforts for the compilation of a
comprehensive study on Catholic social teaching. Archbishop Van Thuan asks Maciej
Zieba, O.P., a Polish Dominican and Father Sirico and the Acton Institute for
assistance with the project that is begun in 1999-2000. The Rome project opens new doors to various Vatican dicasteries and contacts for Sirico and the Acton
1993 On June 7, 1993, Insight on the News (Vol. 9, No. 23) features
an article on Christian Libertarians
by Richard Miniter titled “‘Religion stands up to Big Brother’ - Christian Libertarians oppose pornography and drug
abuse and government intervention to prevent their pervasiveness; includes
analysis of the work of Reverend Robert Sirico and the Action Institute for the
Study of Religion and Liberty.”
notes that Libertarianism does not only apply to field of economics and
politics, but to social and moral issues as well including such as the
legalization of drugs.
example he cites the views of Rev. Robert Sirico on drug use. He notes that Sirico
“formed the Acton Institute
for the Study of Religion and Liberty
partly to push for drug policies that would make inner-city streets safe again.
But Sirico’s approach is a little unorthodox: He thinks drugs ought to be
“If God made the heavens and the Earth by his mere
word, and created man and woman free to either damn themselves or find
redemption,” asks Sirico, a Roman Catholic priest in Grand Rapids, Mich., “then
where does the government get off” regulating nonviolent behavior such as drug
use? Though he doesn't condone drug use, Sirico thinks the government shouldn’t
regulate behavior that harms only consenting adults, says Mitiner.
Mitiner identifies Sirico as a Christian Libertarian who believes that the role of
government is to safeguard life, liberty and property, enforce contracts and
punish violent criminals, not legislate or teach morality. This is essentially
the same views he espoused in 1977 as head of Libertarians for Gay
Rights. It is not a Catholic view.
hosts an “An Evening Honoring the Grief of Victims and Survivors of Abuse.”
Sirico shares the moderator role with Rev. James Chelich, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle
Catholic Church in Grand Rapids
and a co-founder of the Grand Rapids Chapter of Courage with Father Sirico. In the
September 18, 1993 issue of Grand Rapids
Press, Sirico and Chelich describe part of the healing process– Victims name their pain on note cards,
place these collective pains in a pile and set them
on fire... priest throws incense on the flames… the fire is smothered with sand
and candles are planted in the ashes – actions more New Age than Catholic.
1994-1995 At the very time
that the Acton Institute is experiencing phenomenal financial and
administrative growth, Sirico finds himself under increased pressure from his
Paulist superiors to quit or at least scale down his secular job and assume
more of his priestly duties.
1996 Sirico takes a leave of
absence from the Paulists and moves from the Diocese of Grand Rapids to the
notoriously “gay-friendly” Diocese of Lansing, but is not incardinated either
by Bishop Kenneth Povish, the outgoing Bishop of Lansing, or his successor, Bishop
Carl Frederick Mengeling who takes office on January 25, 1996. It is unclear which bishop
gave his approval for Sirico to move into the Diocese of Lansing, but we do
know that Msgr. James A. Murray who had served as Chancellor of the diocese
from 1964 to 1997 arranges for Sirico to be assigned to a rural parish staffed
by an elderly priest-friend of Msgr. Murray. Without formal assigned duties Sirico
can continue to commute to the Acton Institute. He is essentially a free agent.
[Bishop Kenneth Povish of Lansing was a long-time
supporter of New Ways Ministry, a rabid pro-homosexual organization. As Bishop
Emeritus, he defended Bishop Keith J. Symons of the Diocese of Palm Beach after
Symons was forced to resign his office in 1998 following the revelation that he
had sexually molested at least five teenage boys. The disgraced Symons, still a
bishop in good standing, returned to his native Michigan where he took up temporary
residence in a convent in DeWitt, near Lansing.
Within a year, Bishop Symons was back in action thanks to Bishop Mengeling who
permitted the criminal pederast to present a daylong program of prayer and
meditation on the Bless Virgin Mary at the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt.]
As President of the Acton
Institute, Sirico assists the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome in the staging of a
conference to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Centesimus Annus.
1997 As part of a lecture
tour for the Acton Institute, Sirico visits VictoriaUniversity
for the Department of Religious Studies in New Zealand. His lecture is titled
“Is Christianity Compatible With
Global Capitalism.” Chair of the department, Paul Morris later complained that
Sirico did not speak on agreed upon subject, and subsequent dialogue with
audience did not materialize.
interviewed by reporter Charles Honey of the Grand Rapids Press for a March 29 1997 article on Rev. Martin Kurylowicz, 47, who
has come “out” to his parishioners at Sparta Holy Family Catholic Church
following his return from apro-homosexual conference held by New Ways Ministry. Kurylowicz tells
the congregation that he is a “celibate homosexual.” He tells Honey that Bishop
Robert Rose is “very supportive.”
Honey that he thinks Kurylowicz ‘s actions are “irresponsible,” and that
divulgence can “unnecessarily offend” and “scandalize” parishioners. Sirico
says that the priest should discuss his sexual orientation with a counselor or
close friend, not with his congregation.
later, Kurylowiczleaves Holy Family to
study at the University
of Michigan. On May 27, 2006, Bishop Walter
Hurley, Rose’s successor, announces that he is removing Kurylowicz’s diocesan
facilities to publicly exercise his priestly ministry.
18, Chancellor Murray is informed that Pope John Paul II has appointed him
Bishop of Kalamazoo, Mich. Murray invites Sirico to come to the Kalamazoo
Diocese with him. According to Murray,
this move will permit Sirico to fulfill his hope of “establishing a religious
community of men committed to living the ideals of prayer, service and, of
course, chaste celibacy.”
1998On January 27, 1998, Bishop Murray officially takes over the
Kalamazoo. The diocese purchases a large home,
a former sorority house at 219
Woodward Ave. in downtown Kalamazoo, to house Sirico and his new community.
[Sirico has since purchased
the home and owns it outright].
On November 4, 1998, Bishop
Murray announces that he is establishing St. Philip Neri House as a pia domus – the first step in becoming
an Oratory of St. Philip Neri and a member of the worldwide Confederation of
the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. The new religious community will be formed in
the spirit of John Henry Cardinal Newman, says Murray. He also announces that he has
appointed Father Robert A. Sirico as the superior of the new Oratory in
Oratorians, like the Paulists are not a religious order. They are a society of apostolic
Life. The Oratory is a confederation with no central authority. Secular (diocesan) priests and lay brothers live together
in community bound together by no formal vows but only by the bond of charity
in keeping with the vision of Saint Philip Neri who founded the first Oratory
in Rome in
1575. Each oratory is autonomous – rising and falling on its own merit or
lack thereof. A life of prayer, preaching and the
sacraments and a charism of friendship, discipleship, and stability mark the well-ordered oratory. Each oratory or house, technically
speaking, is established by the pope himself and the Holy See and has direct
appeal to the Holy See in serious matters. The Congregation for Sacred
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
oversee the members of the Confederation as well as oratories in formation like
the St. Philip Neri House in Kalamazoo.
As noted in the Open Letter to Cardinal Rodé, because of
its loose structure with a superior being elected by members, or, in the case
of Sirico, by the local bishop, the Oratorians were among the first religious
communities to be heavily colonized by the Homosexual Collective.Not surprisingly, especially in England and the
the Oratorians havesuffered their share
of pederasty and homosexual scandals.]
1999 Bishop Murray incardinates Father Sirico as a priest of the Kalamazoo
thus formally severing all ties to
the Paulist Order.
The religious community of St. Philip
Neri House is promoted as a community that offers the better of two worlds –
the secular priesthood and the religious life. Members will have the
responsibility of building an oratory from the ground up.
Neri House opens its doors to seminarians from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Weekends of
discernment are planned to attract seminarians to the new oratory.[Sacred Heart Seminary has had a
pervasive homosexual problem dating back at least to the mid-1940s. Auxiliary
Bishop of Detroit
Thomas J. Gumbleton claims he was sexually molested at Sacred heart Seminary by
a priest during his freshman or sophomore year in the mid-1940s. A former
professor at the seminary in the early 1970s reported that a student had
confided in him that he had been sexually seduced by a faculty-member priest.
When other similar cases were brought to the attention of the professor, he
arranged a meeting with the Detroit Archdiocesan Delegate for Clergy who told
the professor thathe did not have to
worry and the matter (of pederasty and homosexuality) was in good hands. The
2002 issue of New Oxford Review contained
a letter from a former seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary who was dismissed
for being too conservative. He noted that some of the seminarians he knew never
prayed and had not been to confession for months, but they played the “game”
and went on to be ordained whereas he was sent away.]
In April 1999,
Sirico is awarded an honorary doctorate in Christian
Ethics from Franciscan University of Steubenville.
1999, Sirico, as president of the Acton Institute, gathers
more than two dozen theologians, economists, and environmental experts at a
conference center in West Cornwall,
Connecticut, to discuss what they
saw as the alarming direction of religious environmentalism. Out of that
meeting came the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship.
As Superior of
St. Philip Neri House, Sirico announces that the Traditional Mass will not be part
the community’s practice. However, on December 15, Bishop Murray announces he
will permit the Traditional Latin Mass
to be held at St. Philip Neri House on a trial basis from January to June 2000.
He appoints his Judicial Vicar, Rev. Leonard Bogdan,
to say one weeknight Mass on a day that fits into Bogdan’s
schedule. One Traditional Mass, filled to overflowing, is held at St. Philip Neri House and then the Mass is moved to the
Cathedral of St. Augustine. The revelation that Bogdan
is an accused sexual predator is not made public until 2006.
[In late March 2006, when the
Archdiocese of Chicago released the names of living priests who were the
subject of substantiated accusations of sexual abuse, Bogdan’s
name was on the list. As it turned out, Bogdan,
ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 3, 1960, was one of Joseph Cardinal
Bernardin’s many clerical hideaways.The
first sex abuse of a minor allegation against Bogdan
was made in April 1983, but it was withdrawn in writing in June 1986. The
following year, Bernardin had Bogdan
squirreled away in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. The then, Bishop Paul Donovan,
into the diocese and gave him the position of Adjutant Judicial Vicar, but the
priest was not incardinated into the Kalamazoo Diocese until 1995. In June
retired from active ministry in the Diocese of Kalamazoo and later retired to Sun City Center, Ariz.
In the summer of 2001, the original allegation against Bogdan
was reinstated in the Archdiocese of Chicago, this time with the determination
that “there is reasonable cause to suspect that sexual misconduct with a minor
occurred.” Bishop Murray suspended Bogdan’s
faculties to assist in priestly ministry in March 2002.]
2000 In November 2000, the
Acton Institute acted as joint convener of a conference on the theme of “Globalization,
the Economy, and the Family,” with the Pontifical Council for the Family.
2001 In January 2001, Sirico
acts as a primary facilitator for a retreat conference of a group of the
Mexican episcopate, including Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez..
In May, Sirico
receives an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences from Universidad Francisco Marroquínin Guatemala. Founded
in 1971, the avowed mission of the secular university is “to teach and disseminate the ethical, legal and
economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons.”
2002 On March 26, 2002, Pastor Ralph Johnson,
Sirico’s old nemesis at Glen Acres Church of Christ
in Seattle, receives
a query from a reporter from Maryland
concerning the Father Robert A. Sirico’s homosexual background. The reporter
questions Johnson on Sirico’s early involvement with young men, possibly
minors. Johnson sends the reporter a copy of his file on Sirico including
information on the House of Joshua where Sirico resided after his discharge
from the Navy.
2003On February 4, Sirico delivers a
Business Ethics Lecture at the Joseph A. Butt, S.J., College of Business Administration
of Loyola University, New Orleans.
On May 1, as
President of the Acton Institute, Father Sirico joins other religious and
political leaders for the National Day of Prayer held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,
calling for all Americans to joining together for a spiritual renewal in America.
24, the Acton Institute posts online one of Sirico’s secular sermons titled “The
Virtue of Tolerance.” According to Sirico, tolerance is a virtue “because it is
the underlying principle of social peace.” Sirico quotes Fr. John Courtney
Murray, architect of the Second Vatican Council’s document on religious
liberty, who held the position that the separation of church and state “is not
an article of faith; it is an article of peace.”
Father Sirico, co-editor of the publication is
interviewed by Zenit News [an organ of the Legionaries of Christ] on April 30, 2004 on the
content and significance of the compendium. Sirico praises Pope John Paul II
for his anthropology and commitment to personalism, which he says deepens the
Catholic understanding of the social question
back in Seattle,
Pastor Johnson receives another communication concerning Sirico, this time from
him (Johnson) that Sirico has been made the superior of St. Philip Neri House, a
religious community of young men. Motivated out of concern for the welfare of
young men put in Sirico’s path, on November 24, 2004, Johnson sends Bishop Murray, Ordinary of
the Diocese of Kalamazoo, background materials on Sirico.
receives a response to his warning about Sirico from Bishop Murray in the form
of a letter dated December
Murray thanks Pastor Johnson for his concern about any embarrassment Robert
Sirico may cause to the Church and his desire to protect the Church from
Murray explains that he first
met Robert Sirico in 1996 when Sirico voluntarily took a leave of absence from
the Paulists with their blessings and came to the Diocese of Lansing. He said
he arranged to have Sirico live in a rural rectory under the “supervision” of
an old priest-friend where Sirico “lived a personal life of prayer and service
appropriate to a Catholic priest.” [In fact, Sirico came to Lansing because the Paulists were adamant
about Sirico leaving his 40-hour-job at the Acton Institute. Only one year after his ordination,
Sirico had abandoned his religious vocation for that of a businessman. If
Sirico wanted to live a priestly life, he would have stayed with the Paulists
in Grand Rapids
and quit Acton.
Instead he moved out of the Paulist Order’s reach and continued to commute to Acton in Grand Rapids, well out of the “supervision”
aged priest associate.]
told Pastor Johnson that in 1998, when he was appointed Bishop of Kalamazoo, he
asked Sirico to come to Kalamazoo and “pursue his hope of establishing a
religious community of men committed to living the ideals of prayer, service and
of course, chaste celibacy.” [Sirico,
by his actions, had already demonstrated that he had rejected the priestly life
in favor of the life of a businessman and entrepreneur. Given this fact, and
the fact of his past record as a sodomite and “gay” leader, why would any
bishop set him up with his own religious
community and place him in a position of authority with ready access to young
men seeking discernment to the priesthood?]
Murray writes that Sirico
told him of his involvement “for about 31/2 years in various aspects of the gay
movement,” and that Sirico had “repudiated the gay life-style and returned to
his Catholic roots” in 1976. [It
appears that Sirico did not tell Murray
the full truth about his past because as late as 1977, Sirico was still going
strong as head of Libertarians for Gay Rights. Further “various aspects” does
not begin to indicate the degree of involvement of Sirico in the Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco “gay” scene. Sirico was seen as
the new Moses leading his flock homosexuals out of bondage and into a new land
of religious and political freedom. Homosexual archivists like Gary Atkins
consider him a pivotal figure in the history of the “gay” civil rights
movement, and they are correct. His entrepreneurial genius united, organized,
and gave purpose to the fledging “gay” Seattle
community at a time when they were confused, divided, and subjected to a
well-organized vice-squad. He pioneered legal gay marriages, challenged vice
laws, organized and led protests and marches, preached in churches and on the
radio, and built a gay infrastructure that exists for the most part to this
day. His public victories in Seattle include the founding of the first “gay”
church, the creation of a new “gay” theology, and a new political paradigm that
shifted the debate on homosexuality from the morality of homosexual acts to the
civil rights of gays and the repeal of laws against sodomy and hustling, and
the obtaining of marriage licenses for and performing homosexual marriages,
including his own anticipated “marriage.”]
explanation of Sirico’s arrest is passed off as a mistake due to “journalistic
confusion.” [In fact,
Sirico was incarcerated by the Seattle
police in October 1973 when he interfered in the arrest proceedings of two
young homosexuals outside a local bar at in the morning. . Further, the Mark IV incident of April 10, 1976, was
accurately reported by the Seattle P-I.]
Murray concludes with his
assurance to Pastor Johnsonthat Sirico
has repented of his past sins and reformed his life as evidenced by “his
pastoral work and the integrity of his personal life.”
2005Bishop Murray appoints
Father Sirico, Parochial Vicar of St. Mary Church in Kalamazoo.
2006Bishop Murray appoints Father
Sirico the pastor of St. Mary Church. Rev. Mark J. Vyveman, C.S., takes over
the position of Parochial Vicar. The parish has one Saturday Mass, one Sunday
Mass and only 2 weekday Masses.
The Acton Institute opens up its Rome office.
2007 St. Philip Neri House
now has four residents including three priests – enough to erect an oratory and
be incorporated into the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. The
residents are Father Sirico, superior, Father David Grondz, Father James
Richardson, and Brother Basil, an associate of Father Grondz from the latter’s
Both Father Grondz and Father Richardson were ordained
by Bishop James A. Murray for the Diocese of Kalamazoo on May 13, 2006 at the Cathedral of St.
Augustine. In addition to their assignment at St. Philip Neri House, both are
also engaged in pastoral work for the diocese.
Of these, Father David Grondz has
had the longest and most intimate relationship with
Sirico. Grondz began his vocational journey with the Benedictine
Order, but left. He then went to Detroit’s
Sacred Heart Seminary, but again left, this time under a cloud of accusations
of moral turpitude. [In its investigation of Father Sirico and St. Philip Neri
House, the Congregation Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of
Apostolic Life will need to investigate the seminary records of all the
residents of the religious community.] Sirico then arranged for Grondz to attend the North
American College in Rome.
Grondz was ordained in 2006 by Bishop Murray.
February 7, 2007 Randy Engel sends Open Letter ““On the Suppression
of St. Philip Neri House, Kalamazoo,
Michigan”to Franc Cardinal Rodé, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome.
Electronic copies of the Open Letter
are sent to 72 Oratorian Houses world-wide.
Feb. 14 The Rome office of the Oratorian Confederation
releases a formal statement that houses in formation although recognized by the
Ordinary of a Diocese are not official oratories or members of the
Confederation. Therefore, they come under the jurisdiction of the Sacred
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
Bishop Murray announces that he has submitted his resignation to Rome as he will reach the
age of retirement, 75, on July
It is difficult to talk about
the issue of “conversion” in the case of Father Robert Sirico because he has
had so many of them.
Sirico has publicly discussed
his experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and later, the gift of
tongues, at the age of 7 seven and 11. He has stated that he knew he was
homosexual at age 13, although it is unlikely that he acted out until his
late teens. At the age of 19 he converted to Pentecostalism. At the age of 22
he converted to the “gay” MetropolitanCommunityChurch.
At the age of 25 he politically and morally converted to Libertarianism.
Sometime in his late twenties
or early 30s, Sirico says he underwent another conversion and re-discovered
his Catholic roots.
In one version of his
conversion story, Father Sirico says that he encountered Courage and became
friends with Father John Harvey, the founder of Courage, and that this
reignited his interest in the priesthood. He says that Fr. Harvey encouraged
his vocation and supported him in his decision to enter the seminary. [That Father Harvey would have
encouraged an inveterate homosexual with Sirico’s background to enter the
priesthood is highly unlikely as Harvey
is on record as opposing the entrance of known “gay” activist into the
Another version is given by
Sirico in an interview with Zenit on April 19, 2005. Sirico says that it was the authenticity
of the life of Pope John Paul II that drew him back to the Church. He said he
began to undergo a deep interior conversion, went to confession and his
vocation of becoming a priest, a vocation he sensed as a child, was reborn
Sirico’s entrance into the
Paulist Order in 1982 raises other serious issues.
There is the question of why
Sirico would choose a “gay friendly” order like the Paulists, thus exposing
himself to further homosexual temptations.
There is the question of what
the Paulists knew or did not know about Sirico’s homosexual history including
his plans to “marry” another man. This question is closely connected to the
validity of his ordination in 1989, a matter Rome needs to examine very carefully.
The sincerity of Sirico’s call
to a religious vocation is drawn into question, when less than a year after
his ordination, Sirico establishes the Acton Institute and adopts a new
persona of business man and entrepreneur. Sirico had taken a vow of obedience
to his Paulist superiors,
but this did not hold him back
from pursuing a new career at the expense of his religious vocation.
Sirico’s appointment as the
superior of a religious community, St. Philip Neri House in the Diocese of
Kalamazoo in 1998, raises additional red flags.
That Bishop Murray would
appoint a priest with Sirico’s homosexual background to oversee a house where
young men come for spiritual direction is the height of insanity. The issue
of homosexuality aside, what religious qualifications does Sirico possess
that make him a candidate for the superior of a religious community. Certainly
not the virtue of obedience to his superiors as clearly demonstrated by his
track-record with the Paulist Order. Piety and Devotion to Holy MotherChurch?
One would asphyxiate himself waiting to hear a deeply spiritual Catholic sermon
from his lips. Alas, the poor soul does not even know how to say the Rosary.
In her Open Letter of February 7, 2007, to Franc Cardinal
Rodé, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life, Randy Engel called upon the Congregation which
is charged with the oversight of oratories in formation to establish an
independent board of inquiry to investigate Father Sirico and St. Philip Neri
House, with the goal of suppressing St. Philip Neri House and removing Father
Sirico as its superior. This is the ultimate purpose of posting The Sirico Brief.
If you agree with this line of action please send a
letter of support to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome.
If you have already sent a letter of concern to the Congregation, please send
a follow-up note. [See the Open Letter above for addresses and other contact
This text was prepared by Randy
Engel, author of The Rite of Sodomy –
Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church. [See www.riteofsodomy.com or call 724 327
7379 for ordering information.]
Engel would like to extend her appreciation
to Dr. Vida Barr who assisted in the retrieval of important articles and
documents connected with the Sirico investigation.
would like to acknowledge the ground-breaking work of Catholic writer Thomas J.
Herron, whose insightful article on Father Sirico and the Acton Institute,
“Father Sirico’s Perversions: The Seduction of Catholic Economics and The
Economics of Catholic Seduction,” appears in the May 2007 issue of Culture Wars magazine (www.culturewars.com) edited by E.