ROME — LGBT advocate Father James Martin, SJ, said Thursday that churches have a special duty to celebrate Gay Pride, since much anti-gay violence has been “motivated by religion.”
In a tweeted video message, the Jesuit priest proposes that participating in Pride events during June is one way to live out the Catholic Catechism’s call to treat homosexuals with respect.
To the question “Can Catholics celebrate Pride Month?” Father Martin responds with a resounding “yes,” since Gay Pride is “a celebration of the human dignity of a group of people who have been for so long treated like dirt.”
“It’s especially important for churches to celebrate Pride, since a great deal of the rejection and even violence that the LGBTQ community has faced has been motivated by religion, or at least what people think religion teaches,” the priest asserts.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church asks us to treat LGBTQ people with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” he notes. “And participating in Pride events, or at least supporting our LGBTQ friends is one way to do this.”
Celebrating Pride “doesn’t mean you have to agree with what every video, every article, or even every float in a parade has to say,” he cautions. “It’s more about supporting the fundamental human rights of this community: the right to live in safety, the right to be treated as equals, and the right to be fully welcomed in the society.”
People say they are proud to be gay, bisexual, or transgender way the same way people say, “I’m proud to be Catholic” or “I’m proud to be an American,” Father Martin contends.
God wants gay people “to accept who they are,” the priest declares, and thus believers should also celebrate homosexuality.
“So Happy Pride!” he concludes.