Randy Engel
Book review: Setting the Table
Preparing Catholic Parishes to Welcome Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and Their Families
By Randy Engel
December 17, 2011

This review appeared in Catholic Family News in November 2011

Setting the Table
By James A. Schexnayder

Reviewed by Randy Engel

All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek
to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it,
or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such
support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given
to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church
buildings by these groups ... .

On the Pastoral Care of
Homosexual Persons
, CDF,
October 1, 1986

Introduction [1]

In the December 2007 issue of Catholic Family News, I wrote an article titled "The Latest USCCB Dog and Pony Show" based on the adoption of the USCCB document "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care" at the bishops' annual fall meeting held in Baltimore from November 13-16, 2006. [2]

The Chair of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine in 2006 was none other than "gay" friendly Archbishop William Levada, head of the Archdiocese of San Francisco which includes the Castro, the Sodom of the Pacific. Levada was credited with being the main architect of the "Guidelines" and with shepherding them successfully through the intricate labyrinth of the bishops' national bureaucracy over a four-year period, even working from behind the scenes after his appointment by Benedict XVI as the new prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, the second most powerful office at the Vatican.

The "Guidelines" justified the creation of parish-based homosexual ministries on the basis that homosexuals are a persecuted class subject to "scorn, hatred, and even violence." Accordingly, "purification of negative thoughts or feelings" is demanded of those who minister to homosexuals. A "welcoming stance of Christian love" is required of Church "leadership and the community" because "more than a few" homosexuals feel "unwelcome and rejected." "Full and active participation" in the life of the parish is promoted. Catechetical instruction and parish social justice offices are cited as useful tools in the all-out war to remove any trace of anti-"gay" sentiment found among rank-and-file Church members.

Francis Cardinal George, then Vice President of the USCCB and a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine, confessed that the Committee tried to "find a language that does not betray the teachings of the church, but will perhaps express it in ways that are not so offensive" to homosexuals.

The "Guidelines" stated that the American bishops bear the primary responsibility for monitoring individuals and groups engaged in homosexual ministry to make sure they are faithful to Church teachings (emphasis added).

The "Guidelines" were passed by a 194 in favor, 37 against, with one abstention vote with Cardinal George of Chicago and Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia and Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, Levada's former housemate, leading the pro-"gay" contingent and Raymond Cardinal Burke of St. Louis and Bishops Fabian Bruskewitz and Robert Vasa leading the opposition.

It should be noted that the passage of the homosexual ministry "Guidelines" took place despite the admission by "gay" friendly USCCB President Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane at the opening session of the bishops' meeting, that due to a procedural "oversight" and in violation of USCCB rules and regulations, the Committee on Doctrine never actually polled the American bishops as to whether or not they approved, at least in principle, of the Committee's study on homosexual ministries. In other words, the long-suffering mostly clueless Catholic laity, who would be forced to foot the bill for "gay ministries" in AmChurch forever after, was expected to believe that Levada's Committee on Doctrine conducted a highly controversial study on "gay ministries" in the Church for four years, but inadvertently failed to notify Church Ordinaries that such a study was underway, and never received their explicit approval. It was not the first time that the bishops had been duped, willingly and unwillingly, by the USCCB and certainly not the last.

Now, thanks to James Schexnayder and his new book, Setting the Table — Preparing Catholic Parishes to Welcome Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and TransgenderPeople and Their Families, Catholic layman can discern for themselves just how well the American bishops as a whole have carried out their duty to carefully monitor "individuals and groups involved in homosexual ministries in their dioceses to assure their conformity to Church teachings on homosexuality and related vices as stipulated in the 2006 USCCB "Guidelines," as well as the earlier 1986 Vatican CDF Directive, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, which states that bishops should withdraw support for all organization that seeks to undermine the teachings of the Church on homosexuality and deny them access to Church properties [and by implication Church funding].

But first a word about the author.

The Self-Outed James Schexnayder

James Schexnayder, aka Reverend James Schexnayder, is a 70ish homosexual retired priest/"gay" activist in good standing with the Diocese of Oakland, California, under at least three consecutive bishops, John S. Cummins, Allen H. Vigneron, and the current bishop, Salvatore J. Cordileone.

According to a short biography by Mark Bowman found in the Gay Religious Archives Network, the legendary Schexnayder was a little slow on the "gay" intake. He did not "discover" his "gayness" until ten years after completing his seminary training at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park and his ordination by Bishop Floyd L. Begin for the Diocese of Oakland. [3] Pivotal to Schexnayder's transformation from a "latent" homosexual to a "gay" activist was the "self-awareness" he gradually received through spiritual direction and counseling and his contact with Dignity, San Francisco, says Bowman. "Coming out was a public act that led him to engage with gay communities and movements for justice," Bowman explains.

Early in his "gay" clerical career, Schexnayder served as a chaplain and retreat master for Dignity/San Francisco which has a Defenders chapter serving the "spiritual" and social needs of the Catholic leather/levi, aka sado-masochist community in the Bay area.

In 1986, following a year-long sabbatical and then a leave of absence for "health reasons," Bishop Cummins asked Schexnayder to start an HIV/AIDS ministry in the diocese under the auspices of Catholic Charities of the East Bay. No stranger to "gay" politics, Cummins, when he was President of the California Catholic Conference, played a key role in maneuvering a "consenting adults" bill through the Sacramento legislature in 1975 that legalized adulterous cohabitation, oral sex, and sodomy. [4]

In 1992, Cummins appointed Schexnayder, Director of the Diocesan Task Force for Outreach to Gay and Lesbian Communities and Their Families, also operating out of Catholic Charities. Two years later, inspired by the Dignity model and New Ways Ministry, another national pro-"gay" entity based in Maryland, Schexnayder founded and became the executive director of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries (NACDLGM) with direct access to the pro-"gay" infested American bishops' national bureaucracy, the NCCB/USCC (later the USCCB) in Washington, D.C. via the Secretariat on Family, Laity, Women and Youth and the Secretariat on Doctrine and Pastoral Practices.

About this same time, the free-floating priest, still in good standing with the diocese, was shacking up with Dignity/Defender Mario Torrigino at a duplex apartment in Oakland jointly purchased for $283,000. [5]

It is part of Schexnayder belief system that, "We must not let our homophobic society confine our homosexuality to the bedroom... Our homosexuality must burst forth from the bedroom and leaven all of society." [6] In other words, Society and the Church should prepare to be sodomized. Apparently none of the Ordinaries of the Diocese, including Bishop Cordileone who is reported by The Catholic Voice to have reviewed and edited the manuscript for Setting the Table, or the Holy See, seem to care a twit. [7]

Setting the Table — A Guide to Queering Catholic Parishes

Given Schexnayder's obvious long-standing commitment and loyalty to the Homosexual Collective, "an anti-culture" built on sexual deviancy, it is not surprising that Settling the Table turns out to be nothing more than a not-so-clever piece of "gay" agit-prop designed to promote organized perversion, beginning with homosexuality, in Catholic parishes in the U.S. and around the world.

This charge is easily documented by Schexnayder's cover-to-cover use of the language of "gay-speak."

In any battle, verbal strategy is as important as military strategy. The enemies of the Church know this, which is why the Homosexual Collective so desperately conspires to control the language and the meaning of words in any public discourse on homosexuality. People think in terms of words. So if the Collective controls the language, they can determine the thoughts people have on any given subject. A great deal of time and energy is spent by the Collective in the training of "gay" leaders like Schexnayder and in the indoctrination of its rank and file members. Schexnayder certainly does not disappoint.

For example, the gay-speak term "homophobic" or "homophobia" is used throughout the text. The creation of this word is closely linked to the Collective's effort to pass itself off as a "sexually oppressed minority" in need of reclaiming its civil and religious "rights." The author defines "homophobic" as "a fear of, aversion to, contempt for, or prejudice against homosexual persons, or individuals perceived to be homosexual." [8] In one of the model "inclusive" parishes presented in Setting the Table, St. Margaret of Scotland Church in St. Louis, Missouri, the community is committed to include gay-speak" terms like " 'homophobia' and 'heterosexism' in discussions about justice and human rights." [9]

Always Our Children

Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers
, issued in 1998 by the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family, provides the foundational text for Schexnayder's book. [10]

Schexnayder, was one of three homosexual priests who were invited by the NCCB/USCC to help draft the document. The other two homosexual clerics who collaborated on Always Our Children were the Salvatorian priest Fr. Robert Nugent co-founder of New Ways Ministry, and Fr. Peter Liuzzi, O.Carm, Director of Gay and Lesbian Ministries for Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles.

"Always Our Children" was approved by the Administrative Committee of the NCCB on September 30, 1997, and released by the Committee on Marriage and Family on October 1, 1997. The timing was critical. The document was never discussed or openly debated by the majority of the American bishops, although we do know that Jeannine Gramick, founder of the pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry had received a copy for review before it went public. Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was credited with maneuvering the document through the NCCB/USCC so as to avoid any discussion, debate and vote on the pastoral message by the bishops at their regularly scheduled meeting in Washington, D.C. just six weeks later.

As Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln said in his scathing attack on the malignant pastoral:
    The majority of America's Catholic bishops were allowed nothing to say about this document. Still less were they permitted any suggestions or comments about the "adviser" and consultants used by the committee... . The document ... is founded on bad advice, mistaken theology, erroneous science and skewed sociology. It is pastorally helpful in no perceptible way. ... The occasion and the motivation for this document's birth remain hidden in the murky arrangements which brought it forth.... "Calamity and frightening disaster" are terms which are not too excessive to describe this document. It is my view that this document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it (emphasis added). [11]
Of course, Schexnayder is silent on all these political machinations emanating from the Trojan horse bureaucrats at the NCCB/USCC, so most pastors and laymen will assume that the document has the approval of the American bishops. Which is exactly what Schexnayder wants them to think. Bishop Cordileone should know better.

Schexnayder Upholds "Gay" Mythology

When it comes to promoting the ideology of the Homosexual Collective, the author unabashedly adheres to the strict party line:
  • "Gay" is good, if not better.

  • "Gays" are born that way.

  • Coming out is good.

  • All public discourse on homosexuality must be framed in terms of social justice and civil rights, not morality and sexual deviancy.

  • The Catholic Church needs to listen and learn from the "lived experience" of sexual deviants of all persuasions.

  • Biblical scholars were unaware of the existence of the homosexual "person."
I could go on and on, but that would be gilding Oscar Wilde's lily.

In Praise of Stonewall

In Chapter 4: "What About Diversities," Schexnayder praises the Stonewall Inn riots of June 1969 which he states "was recognized as the beginning of the movement for gay rights in society." [12] He praises the "wholeness and pride" of homosexuals who, as result of Stonewall, have "embraced their identity... ." [13]

In fact, the police and FBI raid of June 27, 1969, on the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, N.Y. had little to do with the typical police "harassment" of "gay" patrons or "sexual liberation" of homosexuals, and everything to do with the long-standing and organized crime, aka, the Mafia, which at the time owned virtually all of the homosexual bars in the city and was the main provider of "gay" essentials including illicit drugs, porn, and male prostitutes including underage street kids. The Genovese crime family owned the Stonewall Inn.

The raid was carried out by Manhattan's First Division of the Public Morals and the FBI at the instigation of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) which had traced some negotiable bonds found in Europe to New York City. Interpol wanted to know if the bonds were legal or counterfeit; if they had been secured or stolen by wealthy homosexuals from brokerage houses connected to the New York Stock Exchange; and if these homosexual men were being blackmailed by the Mafia, which was operating the illegal after hours club that catered to a wide variety of clientele including a large Wall Street crowd. [14]

This information has been out for more than seven years, so why does Schexnayder avoid all discussion of the dark side of "gay" life in his book? Schexnayder speaks out against the violence he attributes to "internalized homophobia" but, like the leaders of the Homosexual Collective, never mentions the large numbers of "gays" who have been mutilated and/or wacked by the Mafia usually in connection with petty jealousies or sexual rivalries or drug deals gone wrong.

Nor does Schexnayder admit that domestic acts of violence including assault, rape, attempted murder and homicide between homosexual and lesbian partners are endemic within the "gay" community. A 1999 abuse survey revealed that of the 2,000 men interviewed at Boston Pride '97, one in four homosexuals said they had experienced domestic violence. [15]

Again, what was Bishop Cordileone thinking when he reviewed and approved this section?

Is Queer Theology Coming to Your Parish?

Queer theology, by definition, is a theology which is inclusive, non-sexist, non-patriarchal, anti-fundamentalist, anti-authoritarian, anti-traditional and, above all, liberating. Queer biblical scholarship and hermeneutics is viewed through the same lens. Queer theology holds that "The Bible has been used as a weapon of terror against gay men and lesbians" and must undergo deconstruction "to dismantle homophobic biblical interpretations." [16]

One of the practical considerations of establishing parish "gay and lesbian ministries" in every parish is what happens when proponents insist on preaching Queer Theology to the congregation? Perhaps, Bishop Cordileone can instruct us on the matter.

And while he is at it, perhaps the bishop can also explain how he intends to come up with more millions of dollars in addition to the $60.5 million the Oakland Diocese has already paid out to victims of sex abuse, mainly crimes of clerical pederasty. Vice attracts more vice and it poisons everything and everyone it touches. "Gay"-friendly parishes with parochial schools and CCD classes are going to attract more than their share of boy hunters. The American bishops who support the homosexual colonization of Catholic parishes, and the laity who approve of this insanity, can count on that.

American Bishops Pulled a Bait and Switch

As quoted at the beginning of this article, in 1986, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in order to stop the pro-homosexual group Dignity from using church property, asked the American bishops to withdraw support from ANY ORGANIZATION which seeks to undermine church teachings in opposition to homosexuality.

But, for all practical purposes, it appears that the majority of the American bishops who voted to support homosexual ministries in Catholic parishes at the November 2006 meeting of the USCCB had just pulled a bait and switch con over the Catholic laity by substituting these "gay and lesbian ministries" described by Schexnayder in Setting the Table for the Dignity organization.

In truth, there was never any warrant for the American bishops to establish guidelines for the development of homosexual ministries in Catholic parishes. What they really needed was a step-by-step manual on how to defund and dismantle the "gay ministries" already in place in churches like Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco and St. Xavier Parish in Manhattan.

Realistically, this demolition of existing "gay ministries" is something that the homosexual dominated American hierarchy will never do on its own accord, and Rome is even less likely to insist upon it.

So what it boils down to is this.

If you don't attend the Traditionalist Mass, and you want to prevent your Novus Ordo parish from becoming a "gay," lesbian, transgender, bisexual, pederast, sado-masochist haven based on the Schexnayder/Dignity model you have to act now.

If your bishop and pastor are as clueless as Bishop Cordileone as to the dangers that these homosexual "ministries" pose to parish life and the Catholic faithful, educate them. If they won't listen, grab your wallet or purse and run, don't walk, to the nearest Traditionalist parish with your family in tow. Don't wait until your church bulletin announces that all bathrooms in the church and social hall are locked during and after Mass and during parish events like "gay charity bingo night featuring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and transvestite Peaches Christ," and you need to get a key from an usher or bathroom attendant to enter the bathroom. [17] By then it will be too late.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.


[1]  Organizations like Courage and Encourage are not included in the definition of "gay" ministries which are created to advance the agenda of the Homosexual Collective and undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the sin of Sodom, one of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance.

[4]  Paul Likoudis, Amchurch Comes Out — The U.S. Bishops, Pedophile Scandals and the Homosexual Agenda (Petersburg, Ill.: Roman Catholic Faithful, 2002), 85.

[5]  Randy Engel, The Rite of Sodomy (Export, Pa.: 2006), pp. 582-583. See www.newengelpublishing.com.

[6]  Ibid., p. 583.

[7]  The Catholic Voice is the official diocesan newspaper for the Diocese of Oakland. The Sept. 5, 2011 issue carried a promotion for Setting the Table under the headline "New book aids parishes in ministering to gays." http://calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=7a41db52-1420-4f93-9b6c-1fe6c86ff98e.

[8]  Schexnayder, p. 14.

[9]  Ibid., p. 81.

[10]  "Always Our Children" text is available at http://astro.ocis.temple.edu/~arcc/always.htm.

[11]  Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz, "On Always Our Children," at http://www.wf-f.org/alwaysourchldspr98.html.

[12]  Schexnayder, ft. I, p. 41.

[13]  Ibid., p. 36.

[14]  See David Carter, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, (New York, St. Martin's Griffen, 2004).

[15]  Engel, p.413.

[16]  See Robert Goss, Jesus Acted Up (San Francisco, Harper Press, 1994). Homosexual ex-Jesuit Goss describes the essence of Queer Theology.

[17]  See Randy Engel, "Life and Death at a 'Gay' Parish" at http://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTopics/a02xAlert_MFR_Engel.html. Schexnayder promotes Most Holy Redeemer Church in the Castro in Setting the Table as an example of a '"gay" parish that has "blossomed" under the leadership of Pastor Steve Meriwether.

© 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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