A Scottish university fired its Catholic chaplain this week after the priest held a liturgical service in reparation for the sins of Gay Pride.
Fr. Mark Morris conducted a rosary, litany, and benediction at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Monday night to atone for the “gross offence to God” of Glasgow Pride and the next day Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) announced that his work as Catholic chaplain was terminated because his views conflicted with those of the educational institution.
“Following due consultation Father Mark Morris will not return to his chaplaincy role at the university in September,” said Professor Pamela Gillies, principal and vice-chancellor of GCU, a public university of some 16,000 students.
“The university will work with the Archdiocese of Glasgow to ensure the continued provision of chaplaincy support for staff and students at our Faith and Belief Centre when the new term starts,” Gillies said.
Ms. Gillies did not say whether opposition to homosexual sex was the only area of Catholic teaching that the university found to be intolerable.
Glasgow’s Gay Pride parade took place last Saturday and was attended by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who served as grand marshal of the event.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Glasgow Caledonian’s Catholic Community defended Father Morris, claiming that the priest’s actions were “completely in line” with Catholic Church teaching.
Saying it was “extremely disappointed” at the decision, the Catholic society called it “frankly abhorrent” for a Catholic Priest to be dismissed from his post as a Catholic chaplain for “merely reaffirming the teachings of the Catholic faith.”
Because of Catholic teaching on human sexuality it would “be expected that the Church would not align herself with a movement like ‘Pride,’ which promotes sexual promiscuity and celebrates extra-marital actions which are considered gravely sinful,” the group said.
The GCU Catholic community also took issue with the university’s skewed understanding of equality and diversity shown in its decision to openly oppose a Catholic presence that affirms church teaching on sexuality.
Principal Gilles justified sacking the chaplain on the grounds that GCU “is strongly inclusive and committed to supporting equality and diversity on campus,” an affirmation that the Catholic community found puzzling.
“It seems that Glasgow Caledonian University have a very warped understanding of ‘Equality and Diversity’, whereby they have permitted absolutely no diversity of opinion whatsoever,” the group said. “We are very sad to see that the opinions and beliefs of Catholics are not valued or respected at the university chaplaincy.”
On a personal level, the GCU Catholic society said that Father Morris has been a beloved member of the university community.
“Anyone who knows Fr. Morris will know he is a gentle giant, and is very careful to be truthful but also charitable,” the post stated. “He is well-loved by the students and spends a lot of time with the homeless, providing them with meals and a listening ear.”
“In all charity, we would urge the university to reconsider this unfair dismissal of our chaplain,” it said.
In its own brief statement, the Archdiocese of Glasgow said it was “aware of the University’s decision” and will “address the provision of chaplaincy support in due course.”
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