Oakland Diocese denies new administrator permitted same-sex ‘marriages’

ppdanielson050209 Fr. Dan Danielson, new administrator of the Diocese of Oakland

The Diocese of Oakland has responded to a Catholic newspaper’s report alleging that the new interim administrator for the Diocese once allowed homosexual “marriages” at his parish, calling the report one-sided and inaccurate.

Following the appointment of former Bishop of Oakland Allen Vigneron to the Archbishopric of Detroit, Fr. Dan Danielson, was appointed Diocesan Administrator.

In a prepared statement in the Diocese of Oakland publication “Administrative Weekly,” the priest said he becomes administrator “with surprise and hope” while those in the diocese “prayerfully await a new bishop to be appointed.”

"This interim period could last a few months or as much as a year. We do not know. In the meantime, I will do my best to keep flourishing the wonderful ministries that are active in this Diocese,” Fr. Danielson wrote.

“This is all new to me so I count very much on your prayerful support and your honest feedback,” his statement continued. Noting that in his position he cannot begin any new diocesan initiatives, he said “please let me know how I can help you and support you in your ministry. Together we can keep our wonderful diocese functioning smoothly and be able to present to our new bishop, when he comes, a well-managed home.”

Fr. Danielson retired in 2007 as pastor of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, which is reportedly comprised of St. Augustine Church and St. Elizabeth Seton Church.

The California Catholic Daily reports that then-Bishop of Oakland John Cummins expressed public displeasure with Fr. Danielson after it became public that Fr. Danielson was allowing homosexual “marriages” at St. Elizabeth Seton.

A “wedding” between two women was reportedly attempted at the parish on May 9, 1998 but was canceled after several dozen Catholics came out to protest at the church building, which was then under construction.

The protest was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and on San Francisco’s Channel 7 News. According to the California Catholic Daily, Fr. Danielson “bragged” he would continue blessing homosexual unions outside of the church building.

In a Thursday phone call CNA spoke to Mike Brown, Director of Communications at the Diocese of Oakland, regarding the claims.

He said the California Catholic Daily “wasn’t terribly clear” in its material and “didn’t present anything that could be thought of as new allegations,” reporting that the paper had not called to confirm the reports.

He thought the report “didn’t present it in a way I thought gave a clear hearing to both sides of the controversy.”

“They went into their clips and found 11-year-old stories and are recapping those in two or three paragraphs.”

Asked if reports that Fr. Danielson had allowed homosexual “marriages” at his parish, Brown replied: “apparently not.”

He said that, according to the story in the May 1998 issue of the Catholic Voice, Fr. Danielson explained the action in the May 17, 1998 bulletin for his parish.

“We do not celebrate homosexual marriages in any form, but we will pray for and with anyone, we will pray over commitments of love and friendship, we will tend to anyone in their need whether they are practicing Catholics, registered members of our parish, or not.”

According to Brown, Fr. Danielson reportedly reiterated that the Church believes “that the only marriage that there can be, according to the plan of God, is a heterosexual union between two people married for the first time.”

“The church does not recognize anything else as a marriage, nor do we,” Fr. Danielson had said.

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Fr. Danielson reminded his parishioners that the church teaches that “all genital sexual activity outside of the context of the marriage is not right. That not only includes homosexual activity, but also premarital sex, adultery, masturbation, second marriages without dealing appropriately with the first one through the annulment process, people living together before marriage, etc.”

“So I don’t think he could debunk it any more clearly than that,” Brown told CNA.

Asked by CNA whether the blessings of sinful unions can be a cause for scandal, Brown replied: “That sounds like a theological question.”

“The perspective needs to be balanced by what Fr. Danielson said to his parish at the time that the controversy arose.”

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