Longtime Transgender Parishioner Shown Favoritism at Arizona Catholic Church

News: Crisis in the Church
 •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 27, 2016   

Parish losing members over the scandal

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PHOENIX (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Arizona Catholic church is scandalizing the faithful by showing favoritism toward a longtime transgender parishioner.

Karen Armanda, ex-parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Phoenix, spoke with ChurchMilitant.com about the situation. She was attending a "Gifts of the Holy Spirit" prayer session one Tuesday earlier this year when, on counting the attendees, she noticed a gentleman in a blond wig and pencil skirt.

She discovered the cross-dresser had been actively involved in the parish for four years, and works the Tuesday morning charismatic prayer service.

Distraught over the situation, Armanda became physically ill. After discussing the situation with her husband, they made a call to the pastor, who was then out of town. She then called Lisa Kragness, head of Pastoral Care, and invited her over for coffee to discuss the matter.

During the meeting, Kragness told Armanda, "Her name is Dolly. There are others who have left over this. I would be so hurt if you did too. But if you cannot accept it, you may leave."

Armanda then reached out to Will Wright, head of Catechesis and Evangelization and Liturgy, wanting to know why the parish was allowing a cross-dressing transgender to participate actively in parish life for years without addressing the scandal. After numerous emails were exchanged between the two, Will stated:

I will personally be making sure that three things happen under Fr. David's guidance: 1) Dolly, or any other parishioner, is cared for in charity and treated with sincere respect and dignity, 2) the parishioners are protected from scandal, and 3) the Truth is guarded with dignity and love. This is not the easiest of tasks, and it is not one that I take lightly. ... And though I am zealous for the Truth and prefer quick resolute action, I am convinced that to act in haste and precipitously will not yield any good fruit.

Armanda, unlike Wright and Kragness, did not believe waiting four years to evangelize "Dolly" was prudent or faithful to the parish's mission to save souls. After finding out that even the pastor, Fr. David Ostler, had for a long time been aware of the situation, Armanda and her husband followed a long line of former parishioners who have left Our Lady of Lourdes parish over the scandal.

Church Militant reached out to Kragness, who, when asked about the situation, refused to comment, saying, "I'm going to go now" before hanging up.


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