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January 24, 2023 09:28 AM UTC

Denver Bishop Blames 'Transgender Ideology' for Fewer Number of Churchgoers

  • by: Erik Maulbetsch

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

By Isabel Lanzetta, Colorado Times Recorder

Denver Archbishop Samuel J Aquila hosted a Memorial Mass Sunday to mark what would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

People filtered into the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at midday, waiting for the 12:30 Mass to begin.

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila

During his sermon, Aquila targeted Critical Race Theory and the transgender community, blaming each for the diminishing number of churchgoers.

“We wonder why our Churches are empty,” he stated. “Whether it is the CRT, [or] transgender ideology …. we have failed to belong to Jesus Christ.”

Aquila then called on attendees to pray for increased church involvement in government.

“Last March, in 2022, I asked all the archdiocese to pray to end the decision [Roe v. Wade] and to putting Jesus first in our Congress,” he stated. “And if you have not prayed yet with me, I encourage you to pray.”

Aquila encouraged those present to recognize the dignity of every human being, “whether it be the homeless … the immigrant …. the woman who is pregnant outside of wedlock … [or] the prostitute.”

RELATED: Denver Bishop Says It’s An ‘Act of Charity’ To Tell Gay And Trans People They ‘Don’t Conform To Nature’

After the November 19 shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Aquila published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he denied accusations that the Catholic Church promoted homophobic and transphobic rhetoric that has contributed to hate crimes.

In the piece, Aquila wrote, “Our critics charge that the Catholic Church is discriminating against those who identify as gay or transgender, but it isn’t discriminatory to tell someone you think his beliefs don’t conform to nature—it’s an act of charity.”

Five people died and 25 were injured in last year’s Q Club shooting, which occurred on Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Then serving as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, Aquila garnered attention in 2009 when he spoke out against the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to give their spring commencement address.

Aquila aired his complaints in a letter to the University, writing that President Obama, “clearly rejects the truth about human dignity through his constant support of a so-called ‘right to abortion.’ He also tolerates the inexcusable act of letting aborted children die who are born alive. He promotes an intrinsic evil which must always be resisted by a just and civil society.”

Aquila joined the Denver Archdiocese as an ideological supporter of his predecessor, who was known as “one of the nation’s most prominent advocates of a politically engaged and conservative Catholicism.”

In 2021, Aquila was one among several U.S. Catholic bishops who called for U.S. President Joe Biden and other politicians who supported a woman’s right to choose to be denied Communion.

In May of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Roe v. Wade decision which for nearly 50 years prior had upheld the constitutional right to abortion. In early 2022, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), which protects access to abortion care throughout the state.


26 thoughts on “Denver Bishop Blames ‘Transgender Ideology’ for Fewer Number of Churchgoers

  1. This bishop is no better than Chaput, his predecessor. Both were, and are, morally wrong. Like far right evangelicals, Aquila supports “religious liberty” only if it advances Catholic dogma.

    1. Three years ago, Chaput tendered his letter of resignation, as was his obligation having reached the age of 75. The Pope, though not required to accept it, did so quickly and replaced Chaput in Philadelphia. Aquila is on the clock: 2.5 years until his involuntary retirement. Hopes and prayers. 

  2. Just how many transgender former parishioners do they think there are? 

    “Our critics charge that the Catholic Church is discriminating against those who identify as gay or transgender, but it isn’t discriminatory to tell someone you think his beliefs don’t conform to nature—it’s an act of charity.”

    He can Google animals expressing homosexuality and transgenderism but no animal other than humans have created complex religious beliefs for their own benefit. The very construct of the belief of a supernatural being invalidates the natural world. 

    1. Also, about 1% of humans are born with some sort of anomaly related to a flaw in the 23rd pair of chromosomes. Are they excluded from his church, too?


  3. Huh … my reading finds …

    ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    Not a thing about worrying about transexuals, homosexuals, or furries. 

    No mention of church attendance, either. 

    Cross-checking in the Old Testament:

    He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
        And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
        and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

    We can certainly argue about "what is justice?" and how we would recognize a love of mercy … but I think it would be VERY hard to be humble while walking in a resplendent chasuble in purple with a matching zucchetto.

  4. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy mind.

    This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

    On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    Matthew 22:37-40

    There is not a footnote at the bottom of the page that says “except for transgender, gay, or anyone else someone cares to dislike or discriminate against.”

    Blaming the emptying of the pews on Critical Race Theory and the transgender community is not only false, it is a gross, perhaps intentional, misrepresentation of what has caused the decline of the Christian religion in the United States. The evangelical movement and the Catholic church have become mere appendages of the Republican Party. When religion becomes identified as part of a political party it harms itself. It alienates large swaths of the public.This has happened throughout history here and in other nations. 

    Finally, how the archbishop can hang this around CRT is beyond my comprehension. CRT is the study of how racial and bigoted attitudes have impacted our laws in the past. An example is the covenants that in the past were attached to deeds conveying real estate or ones in home owners association documents that stated no African Americans, Asians, Jews or other defined backgrounds could own property in a given area or specific piece of property. The U.S. Supreme Court found such restrictions unconstitutional decades ago, but the example reflects the attitudes Americans had in the past which in the end were implemented and supported by our laws. If anything, the archbishop should be rejoicing that such studies have been conducted because they expose, enlighten, and give us guideposts so that such attitudes and actions never happen again. Its all part of loving our neighbor as thyself.  

  5. I'm sick of hypocritical bigots and their bronze age mythology continuing to fuck up the human species.  Haven't they done enough the last two thousand years?  

  6. Just can’t figure out what CRT has to do with church attendance. 

    Certainly, any faith group should be having us face our history and atone for the sins of our country and our predecessors.

    1. You don't understand Catholicism. 

      You are not taught to think critically, which is what CRT is all about. In fact, you are not taught to think at all.

      You are taught to memorize approved knowledge which has been handed down from high authority. No questions asked. Like Pavlov's dog, you give the right answer to the right question.

      If you think outside the box, you get punished whether it be getting the wooden ruler on the knuckles by Sister Piety in the Catholic school, or whether it be the hapless Galileo getting "cancelled" by the Pope.

      When it comes to CRT, the Catholic Church is afraid, it is very afraid.

  7. Men who molest children, or who tolerate or excuse those who do, cannot and should not be taken seriously when they talk about morality. Mr. Aquila is a hypocrite.

  8. Viva Papa Francesco

    The AP Interview: Pope says homosexuality not a crime

    Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

    Francis’ comments are the first uttered by a pope about such laws, but they are consistent with his overall approach to the LGBTQ community and belief that the Catholic Church should welcome everyone and not discriminate.

  9. Nothing like a good religious article to stir up the Godless KOOKS so they can use this echo chamber to convince themselves how wonderful it is to not be accountable for their actions. No judgement! A life altering bet.

  10. I can guarantee there are not that many of us Transgender people to depopulate his little church.  Perhaps his ignorance of life is doing it?

    What is sad is in the mid 70's the Roman Catholic Church accepted Trans people with open arms.  Gay's of course were not publicly accepted.  I know many RC people who still try to be part of the parish inspite of the hate directed towards them.

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