Randy Engel
"The Sirico Brief" makes news again - controversial priest to address Catholic men's conference
Part I -- the early years -- the descent into the "gay" abyss
By Randy Engel
April 12, 2012


On April 14, 2012, the Catholic Men's Fellowship (CMF) of Pittsburgh is holdings its 7th annual gathering of Catholic men at Duquesne University. The theme of the conference is "Living the Eucharist in Today's America. The CFM is a "lay apostolate," part of the world-wide "New Evangelization" program in the post-Conciliar Church which seeks to reinvigorate the faith among Catholics.

Bishop David Zubik has promoted the CMF conference in a letter dated March 6, 2012, to all Pittsburgh pastors, and conference fliers have been inserted into church bulletins throughout the diocese. Among the featured speakers is the controversial Father Robert A. Sirico, co-founder and President of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, a non-denominational "think tank" dedicated to integrating free market capitalism with religion, especially Catholicism.

Up until the summer of 2006 when my book, The Rite of Sodomy was published, I had no knowledge of Sirico, his involvement with the early Homosexual Movement on the West Coast, or the Acton Institute. However, my journalistic curiosity was peaked when I learned that Sirico, who did indeed have a vivid homosexual past, had become the "religious superior" of an Oratory (in formation) of St. Philip Neri in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Eight months later, I posted the "Sirico Brief" initially on my book's website and later at the U.S. Coalition for Life's Research Library at www.uscl.info, where despite threats from Acton henchman, it continues to attract inordinate attention, largely because of Sirico's growing public presence on EWTN and at "conservative" conferences like the CMF and the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, and because of renewed public interest in the 100-year-saga of the Homosexual Collective's colonization of the Catholic Church in general and AmChurch's hierarchy in particular.

Engel Issues an Open Letter to Holy See

On February 7, 2007, the author sent an Open Letter titled "On the Suppression of St. Philip Neri House, Kalamazoo, Michigan" and a copy of the complete Sirico Brief to Franc Cardinal Rodé, then, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome.

The Open Letter requested that Cardinal Rodé appoint a formal board of inquiry, independent of the Oratorian Confederation, to examine the charges brought against St. Philip Neri House, and its religious superior, Father Robert A. Sirico with the objective of suppressing the Oratory (in formation). The Sirico Brief contained documentation of the charges brought against Sirico, a summary of which is given below.

A Portrait of an Apostate, Marxist, Active Homosexual, "Gay" Rights Activist

Father Robert A. Sirico was born on June 23, 1951, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is an Italian-American of Sicilian descent, the youngest of four children, all baptized Catholics.

One of his older brothers, Anthony "Tony" Sirico, Jr., became an actor on The Sopranos, aka Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri. But before he went legit, Tony Sirico allegedly worked for the Mob. Not without a taste of irony, during the heyday of the New York Mafia crime families' take over of the Greenwich Village "gay" bar, nightclub, liquor, male teenage porn, under-age prostitution, extortion, blackmail and murder scene, Tony Sirico was arrested and convicted in 1970 (one of 29 arrests) for the shake down of John Addison who operated the "gay" discotheque , The Together, on East 59th Street. Tony Sirico was sentenced to seven years but served just three, after which he went Hollywood. [1]

As for young Robert Sirico, shortly after his graduation from high school he enlisted in the Navy on August 18, 1969. The Vietnam War was raging and enlisted men were expected to serve a minimum of two years. Sirico only lasted six months.

In an interview with Ray Ruppert, Religion Editor of The Seattle Times on January 23, 1971, Sirico claimed he was discharged from the Navy because of his "clergy status." This statement is false. According to records obtained from the Navy's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo. by Culture Wars writer Thomas Herron, Sirico entered the service at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and attended boot camp at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill. Sirico was then assigned to the aircraft carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk ported at the Bremerton, Wash. Navy Yard. He was discharged from the Naval Hospital at the Bremerton shipyard less than three months later on January 20, 1970. There was no mention of Sirico's "clergy status" in the Navy documents.

Sirico Apostatizes and Joins the Pentecostal Church

After his discharge from the Navy, the 19-year-old Sirico decided not to return to Brooklyn, but settled in Seattle where he hooked up with the youth-driven Jesus People Army (JPA) led by Linda Meissner. When she later left to join the controversial People of God headed by David "Moses" Berg, Sirico remained behind and took up residence at the House of Joshua, an all male religious commune in North Seattle and began his own Pentecostal mission preaching the message and experience of "baptism of the Holy Spirit."

As part of his own Truth in Healing ministry, he claimed for himself the gift of tongues, the gift of interpretation of tongues, the gift of healing and the gift of miracles. The charismatic leader not only drew support from local Baptist and Pentecostal churches, but he also attracted the attention of Catholic Charismatic and main-line Protestant churches such as the large and influential Bethany United Presbyterian Church. When questioned by the Seattle press about his Catholicism, Sirico said he was no longer a Catholic and had become an ordained Pentecostal minister.

Not everyone was impressed by Sirico's alleged gifts of the spirit, however. A local Protestant minister by the name of Rev. Ralph Johnson, a Protestant minister, visited Sirico at the House of Joshua one evening in 1971 and after studying Sirico's claims of speaking in tongues and his power of interpretation of tongues, Johnson declared that Sirico was a fraud, that his miraculous claims of healing were bogus and that Sirico was using his claims to gain control and notoriety in the commune. Sirico made a dangerous enemy that night, one that would follow him for the next 30 years.

Sirico Reinvents Himself as a "Gay" Minister

In early 1972, Sirico was advised by the Seattle Charismatic Presbytery, an organ of 70 Protestant and Catholic clergy and laymen, that it was creating the Robert Sirico Foundation to finance his 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." Under the umbrella of the Charismatic Renewal Movement, Sirico's "miracle healings" were drawing capacity crowds at local churches. But the Presbytery was in for a deep disappointment.

On May 10, 1972, Sirico held a press conference and publicly announced he is was a homosexual, that he had known he was a homosexual since the age of 13, and that he intended to establish a different kind of "church" in Seattle — 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 frequently used as a battering ram against the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant sects who oppose homosexuality.

Sirico told 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 said.

"The Church's history of excommunicating, scourging, or burning of 'faggots' as heretics and sinners is an arrogant perversion of the Christian law of love," Sirico explained and he admitted that many friends including members of his own family had disowned him. Sirico said that the UFMCC would help bring the assurance of the love of Christ to "gay" people on the terms of self-acceptance that healthy people must live by.

At the end of the press conference, Sirico smiled and said that he was very happy because he was "hoping to be married to a beautiful man in Los Angeles whose work is translating for the deaf." He announced that as pastor of the new MCC, he would 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 wonderful?"

The day following Sirico's "coming out" event which had sent shock waves through the Charismatic Presbytery, a delegation from the Presbytery met with Sirico to attempt to counsel and dissuade him, but Sirico refused to listen to their entreaties.

He told them 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 said that his new interpretation of this passage was 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.

After Sirico and two homosexual companions walk out "belligerently and defiantly" from the meeting, more than 20 members of the Presbytery prepared a public 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 was not taken in by Sirico or the MCC propaganda machine. He declared, "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," said Bennett.

Rod McDougal of the Jesus People also expressed 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.

All the members of the Charismatic Presbytery resigned from Sirico's board en masse. Bob Johnson, manager of the Broadway Theater where Sirico planed on holding his healing services announced that no Sirico-led service will be held at the Broadway. Later, Sirico received permission to hold church services at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church in Renton Hill, a segregated neighborhood of Seattle.

One of the first acts Sirico carried out at his new working base was the formation of a MCC Youth Group made up of young homosexuals, mostly males, including street hustlers. Young men from the local Gay Community Center were 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 career including his formation of the St. Philip Neri Oratory, and his hiring practices of recruiting young men as his personal aides at the Acton Institute.

In late June, 1972, Sirico traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia to hold the first religious service in the city for some thirty homosexuals. From June 30 to July 2, Vancouver hosted a Gay Pride event that includes a debate between Sirico and a Protestant minister who opposed homosexuality.

Two months later, on August 6, Sirico's homosexual "church" was formally chartered by the UFMCC and Rev. Perry came up to Seattle to preach the sermon at the dedication service. Bodyguards were hired to protect both Sirico and Perry and give the event additional publicity. In a statement to the press, Sirico likened 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 told the members of the press.

In his sermon, Perry stated 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 included the ordination of seven deacons. Sirico's flock consisted of 80 members, mostly male homosexuals and their relatives. When AIDS hit the States, the clerical and lay membership of the UFMCC was decimated with approximately 40% of its male members infected with AIDS.

Rev. Sirico Expands his Homosexual Ministry

On April 23, 1973, Sirico was among a group of homosexuals who picketed 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 was increased on him, and his home was picketed. 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 was joined in the picket by ex-priest, and self-outed homosexual William DuBay. [2]

In July 1973, Sirico continued his homosexual missionary activities by assisting in the establishment of a new Metropolitan Community Church 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 traveled to Ottawa to energize the "Gay Liberation Movement" in Canada.

Sirico was arrested by the Seattle police in October 1973. The incident took place at Pioneer Square, a popular cruising in the Seattle Renaissance area that housed a public men's room (tearoom) frequented by local homosexuals. According to Sirico, he was coming out of a local bar at 2 a.m. (sic!), when he saw the police arrest two young male hustlers for sexual solicitation. When he attempted to interfere with the arrest, he was taken into custody. He joined other homosexuals in the holding tank singing "We Shall Overcome" until he was bailed out by one of his parishioners.

Up until early 1975, the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle under Archbishop Thomas Arthur Connolly was deemed "unfriendly" by the Homosexual Collective. But once liberal Raymond "Dutch" Hunthausen took over the ecclesiastical reins of the archdiocese, homosexual groups like Dignity began to thrive. Suddenly the Seattle Archdiocese became a beehive of "gay" political activity. Dignity was permitted to hold its "mass" at St. Joseph Parish and a number of male religious orders were quickly colonized and compromised.

Despite this promising change of fortune in the Seattle Archdiocese, however, by the spring of 1975, Sirico was already preparing to move to Southern California.

Sirico Continues to Make Headlines in Los Angeles

By the time the Rev. Sirico arrived in L.A., his reputation as a high-flyer in MCC politics had preceded him. He became 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. He also continued his work as a minister of the UFMCC.

On April 21, 1975, Sirico performed the first same-sex "marriage" in the United States between two male homosexuals with a civil marriage license at the First Unitarian Church of Denver, Colo.

Nearly one year later, Sirico gained additional national notoriety, when dressed in a black clerical suit with a Roman collar, he made the pages of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer under the headline "'Male Slave Mart' Raid in L.A. Called a Mistake."

As reported by the Intelligencer, 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 per man. An undercover policeman at the auction told the press that he had 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. In addition to the Intelligencer coverage, the Pasadena Star-News of April 12, 1976, reported that eye witnesses was men engaged in sodomy and other sexual acts prior to the opening of the auction.

The event was sponsored by the Los Angeles Gay Community Center headed by Rev. Sirico, who told the P-I reporter that the Los Angeles Police Department was "out to get" the gay community. Sirico called the event a "harmless fund-raising event" staged to raise money for the Center's venereal disease clinic.

A phone call by this writer to the UFMCC in Los Angeles in early 2007 confirmed that the Rev. Robert Sirico involved in the two history-making "gay" events at the Unitarian Church in Denver in 1975 and the Mark IV Health Club in Los Angeles in 1976, was the same Father Robert Sirico who headed the Acton Institute and St. Philip Neri House in Kalamazoo. [3]

[To be continued]


[1]  For a look at the life and times of Tony Sirico and the Mafia's involvement and eventual financial support of the "Gay Rights Movement," see http://bitterqueen.typepad.com/friends_of_ours/tony_sirico/.

[2]  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 with fellow 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.

[3]  For complete documentation of events covered in this article see the newly reformatted "Sirico Brief" at www.uscl.info.

© Randy Engel


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Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)


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