Catholic Leaders Clash over Gay Pride Month

NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 27: A boy dances as he and others participate during the 4th Delhi Queer Pride 2011 March on November 27, 2011 in New Delhi, India. India's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community celebrated the 4th Delhi Queer Pride March with a parade through the …
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Two prominent Catholic clerics faced off over “Gay pride month” Saturday, with one celebrating the season and the other denouncing it as contrary to the faith.

Jesuit Father James Martin, a well-known advocate of all things LGBT, wished his “many” LGBTQ friends a happy pride month in a tweet to his followers.

While a number of Catholics on social media reminded Father Martin that June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to making reparation for sins, not reveling in them, others praised the priest for his staunch LGBT advocacy.

Meanwhile, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence reminded Catholics of Church teaching regarding the immorality of homosexual activities and therefore the problem with celebrating them.

“A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June,” the bishop tweeted. “They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

The bishop’s reaction mirrored that of Saint John Paul II the first time that a gay pride parade was organized in Rome during his pontificate, an event that took place 19 years ago.

“In the name of the Church of Rome, I cannot refrain from expressing bitterness for the affront to the Grand Jubilee of the year 2000 and for the offense to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world,” the pope told the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.

“Homosexual acts go against natural law. The Church cannot silence the truth because it would not live up to its faith in God the creator and would not help discern what is good from what is evil,” the pope said.

The Catholic Church has always condemned homosexual activity as intrinsically evil, noting that Sacred Scripture “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity.”

At the same time, the Church urges its pastors to treat persons with homosexual tendencies “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” while assisting them to live chaste lives.

Nowhere, however, has the Church ever suggested that people should take pride in their sins or disordered tendencies.

Saint Paul, who wrote of those whose “glory is in their shame,” spoke to the Romans of people abandoned to “shameful lusts.”

“Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones,” he said, while “the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”

“Men committed shameful acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error,” he wrote.

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