News (USA)

Catholic “Pride Mass” canceled after protestors bombard bishop with “hateful” messages

Picture of a bible, cross and a rainbow flag
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A Catholic “Pride Mass” at Duquesne University was canceled at the urging of the Pittsburgh diocese after being bombarded with messages from anti-LGBTQ+ protestors.

Planned by the organization Catholics for Change in our Church, the mass was meant to be promoted as a service held in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Catholics. But according to local news outlet WESA, all hell broke loose when a flyer referring to the event as a “Pride Mass” was obtained and published by the far-right Daily Signal. The flyer was reportedly put out by a parish member without approval from the organizers.

In a letter calling for the cancellation of the event, Bishop David Zubik said the messages the diocese received “used condemning and threatening, and some might say hateful, language not in keeping with Christian charity.”

Zubik also emphasized he never approved the mass.

“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,” he wrote.

He claimed that the Church welcomes LGBTQ+ people but that it “cannot endorse behavior contrary to what we know to be God’s law.”

A flyer with a rainbow border billing the event as a "Pride Mass"

“We are very sad and very frustrated,” said Kevin Hayes, president of Catholics for Change in our Church. Hayes said the organization just wanted to “have LGBTQ Catholics feel welcomed as beloved sons and daughters of a loving God and just be affirmed for who they are within the context of the Eucharist, which we feel is appropriate.”

Hayes also said that the group held a mass for LGBTQ+ Catholics last year and no one complained. But anti-LGBTQ+ vitriol from the right has been growing more and more extreme, and this year, extremists have made it their mission to take down any company or organization that supports Pride.

“It concerns me that our Christian brothers and sisters became angry over the mere support of the LGBTQ community by having them participate with us in a mass,” said Deacon Herb Riley of the St. Joseph the Worker’s LGBTQ ministry, who was helping to plan the service, to WESA.

Creighton University theology professor Todd Salzman added that despite the fact that polls show the majority of Catholics support LGBTQ+ people, bishops have been hesitant to follow suit.

Salzman said Zubik’s decision to cancel the event validated the protestors’ actions. He also called out the hypocrisy of stances like Zubik’s.

“The church does not exclude Catholics who practice artificial birth control, even though the church condemns that — the vast majority of Catholics do practice artificial birth control in a marital relationship,” he said. “So there’s a singling out of LGBTQ people.”

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