FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—The bishop of Pittsburgh is calling for a “Pride Mass” to be canceled, emphasizing that “independent sponsors” promoted the event to coincide with the secular Pride Month.
The Mass was scheduled to take place on June 11, at 1 p.m. at Duquesne Holy Spirit Chapel, presided over by a Father Doug Boud (who did not respond to requests for comment). Fliers obtained by The Daily Signal said the event was co-hosted by various groups, including Catholics for Change in Our Church and the LGBTQ Ministry at St. Joseph the Worker.
Those fliers also stated that the event would be a ministry of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, a Pittsburgh-based parish that hosts an LGBTQ+ ministry shepherded by Pastor Tom Burke and coordinator Vicki Sheridan. Sheridan, who did not respond to requests for comment, has several children who are “part of the LGBTQ community,” as the Pittsburgh City Paper reported.
The pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Parish has said of LGBTQ+ sexual ethics: “I’ve always been taught by my parents that you don’t judge people, that you love people … Being a police in the bedroom, that’s not my job. My job is to be the pastor.”
Burke, who did not respond to requests for comment, has also said that he cannot perform same-sex marriages, which violate Catholic Church teaching, because his bishop “told me I can’t do that.”
In a letter sent to clergy and those upset by news of the “Pride Mass,” Bishop David Zubik emphasized that neither he nor Duquesne University President Ken Gormley “knew anything about the Mass until calls came in to our respective offices over the holiday weekend.”
What we have learned is that independent sponsors, without the authorization of the pastors of the parishes listed, promoted the event with a flyer that confused some and enraged others. This event was billed as a ‘Pride Mass’ organized to coincide with Pride Month, an annual secular observance that supports members of the LGBTQ community on every level, including lifestyle and behavior, which the Church cannot endorse.
Many of the responses to the flyer jumped to the conclusion that I gave approval to this event. I did not. Many of the responses also used condemning and threatening, and some might say hateful, language not in keeping with Christian charity, especially of the Lord’s command ‘to love one another as I have loved you.‘
Zubik also highlighted that the Catholic Church has invested “much energy” into welcoming those who deal with sensitive issues in their lives, noting that “we all have the responsibility to love those who have same-sex attraction.”
“But at the same time,” he said, “the Church cannot support behavior that goes against God’s law.”
As Pope Francis has reminded us, the Church, and this diocese, have strongly encouraged welcoming, listening and accompanying those in LGBTQ communities with various ministries such as Courage and EnCourage. We need to and want to do more in our pastoral care. We welcome, listen and accompany but cannot endorse behavior contrary to what we know to be God’s law. At the same time, we must be willing to love and welcome each other as children of God.
My hope is that the Church of Pittsburgh is welcoming to the LGBTQ community and in turn that the LGBTQ community is welcoming of the Church and her teachings.
Given the controversy surrounding the event, Zubik asked that the planned “gathering” be canceled.
“It is my prayer we all, inclusive of the LGBTQ community, gather together on June 11th in our churches and chapels to celebrate the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, and focus our attention on the Body of Christ in the Sacred Eucharist and the Body of Christ as the Church,” the bishop wrote.
St. Mary Magdalene’s LGBTQ Ministry draws on the teachings of James Martin, a Jesuit priest who promotes left-wing narratives about the “targeting of transgender people,” such as the banning of transgender sex-change procedures for children.
Through carefully worded social media posts, Martin has also advocated for allowing adults to surgically change their gender, promoted the activist phrase “gender-affirming care,” and shared content suggesting that it is not child abuse to perform irreversible sex-change procedures on children.
Martin declined to comment on any of these points, nor would he say whether he supports puberty blockers, hormonal, or surgical sex-change interventions for children or adults.
“I’m really no expert in these things,” he said in an email. “Best to speak to a transgender person, I would suggest, or a physician who works with these people.”
Asked if those who identify as transgender should be crafting Catholic teaching on these points, Martin responded: “Well, they should certainly be included in the discussion since it affects them so directly.”
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