The National Catholic Review

*Certain exclusions apply; see your local diocese for details.

The Boston Globe reports on a Catholic parish in a gay neighborhood of the city that had planned to hold a Mass proclaiming that all are welcome, to have its plans scrapped by the archdiocese following complaints from anonymous conservative bloggers:

“The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia Parish invites all friends and supporters of the LGBT community to a Mass in celebration of Boston’s Pride Month,’’ the bulletin said. “The theme of the liturgy, ‘All Are Welcome,’ honors Christ’s message of hope and salvation to all people. We will also celebrate the diverse community that finds its home at St. Cecilia.’’

But after protests from conservative church members, the archdiocese intervened.

“The wording and placement of a bulletin notice announcing that the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry will be joining the parish at a Mass on June 19 may have given the unintended impression that the Mass is in support of Gay Pride Week; it is not,’’ said Terrence C. Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese. “The pastor will clarify this issue at the Masses this coming weekend.’’

The pastor of the church, the Rev. John J. Unni, did not return calls. Donilon said that he spoke for the parish and that the decision was made by senior officials at the archdiocese.

A member of the parish council was taken aback by the controversy, and she articulated a particularly beautiful aspect of our diverse church that appears to be threatening to some:

“We have all kinds of people at our church. We have straight people and gay people, rich people and poor people, white people and people of color, old people and young people. We’re a community, a big tent.’’

Having a church service coincide with a gay pride event may seem anathema in some circles, but several churches and other religious groups are well represented at such celebrations. In Washington, DC, many denominations have a presence during pride celebrations, including Dignity Washington, a group supporting gay and lesbian Catholics in the city. The church proclaims rightly that all are welcome to God's house, and for that statement to be true, we've got to drop the asterisk. 

Comments

Thomas Rooney | 6/13/2011 - 12:02pm
Tom Maher writes:

"The Gospel shows Mary Magdelene was accepted by Christ but not her prostitution or her lifestyle.  She is not regarded by the Church as being just another sex worker trying to make a living."

The Gospels show no such thing.  Nowhere do any of the Gospels identify Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, nor is she identified as "the woman caught in adultery" (John 8:1-11).  But now that we're on the subject, remember that in addition to telling the woman caught in adultery to sin no more, Christ first states that He does not condemn her. 

I agree the Church ought to be clear on her teachings.  I also believe that no one has the right to condemn, especially when Christ did not.  We must always be open to those who would "sin no more", even when it seems most of them continue.   

Follow Christ's example.
Liam Richardson | 6/13/2011 - 8:00pm
Just to clarify how intense the controversy over same-sex unions are currently in Massachusetts: the last standard poll that touched on the subject was, I believe, conducted by Suffolk University as part of its fall election-issue cycle of polls, and it showed that only 14% of MA residents objected to legal recognition of same-sex unions (marriage or civil unions) - over a majority approved of same-sex marriage and about a quarter approved of civil unions. The anti-same-sex union movement has all but evaporated to the margins. It's been 7 years here, and people in general are much more focused on other issues at the state level. As issues go, it's just not that much of an issue. In general, candidates who focus on trying reverse the trend have a strong tendency to lose.
Martin Gallagher | 6/13/2011 - 1:13pm
Although I'm trying to live my life as an orthdox (small 'o') Catholic, I like the ''All are Welcome'' message without an asterisk.  Jesus came for all of us.  I think some of the controversy could be avoided if parishes reminded people throughout the year (not simply during Pride month) that all of us should refrain from Communion if we have committed any grave sin including any kind of unchastity.
Tom Maher | 6/13/2011 - 1:09pm
Thomas Rooney (#8) 
Robert Nunz (#9) 

You avoid the substance of my argument: the church does not endorse all political, social  and libfesytle choices and political agendas.   The Gospel show Christ dealing with every kind of individual without accepting or endorsing their persosal worldview.   The church rightly correctly itself by not associateing with "gay pride" events and movements which are very politicallly and theologically , controversial.

The  article muddles the distinction between the individual,  who happens to be gay and is welcomed, with the collective politcal ideas and agenda which is not accepted by the church. 

Mr. Nunz Is right in his undersatnding that this is a highly politcal controversy.   It is meaningful, accurate and relevant to say  Massachusetts is a very ultra liberal state.  For example the late Senator Ted Kennedy just before his death fiercly condemned the church and the Bishops of Massachusetts for oppossing same-sex marriages and other gay rights politcal agendas.  The gay rights agenda is an intense politcal and moral controversy in Massachusetts and in the nation.   Why should the church now want to willy-nilly go back and muddle its clear oppossition to same-sex marraige and other objectionable gay rights goals ?   
ROBERT NUNZ MR | 6/13/2011 - 12:22pm
Stick in a label (ultra liberal Massachusetts) from (ultra cinservative?) Maher.
That really helps the discussion.
I kind of appreciated the piece a this site about justice and Victor Hugo and how the bishop related in Les Miserables.
Unfortunately, in our divided label throwing Church, that seems far away.  What some see as pastoral, others see as losing objectivity.
Oh well.....
Tom Maher | 6/13/2011 - 11:28am
The church especailly in ultra liberal Massachusetts needs to be very alert to what causes the church is associates with.   Here we have bumper stickers proclaimning "Catholic for abortion" as if that is likely even here.  

Thankfully under the leadership of Cardinal O'Malley the integrity of the church in general and the integrity of the Gospel message in particular is well preserved.  The Gospel shows Mary Magdelene was accepted by Christ but not her prostitution or her lifestyle.  She is not regarded by the Church as being just another sex worker trying to make a living. 

Let not kid ourselves ????????????????:? ?t???He Church ?m?u?s?t? ???????s?h?a?r?????ply draw the line? ?o?n?? ???w???h???a?????t??????? ????p?o?l?i?t?c?a?l, ??s?o?c?i?a?l? ?m?o?v?e?m?e?n?t?s? ?and lifestyles ?i????????church does and does not ??? ?s?u?p?p?o?r?t?s???.? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Thomas Rooney | 6/13/2011 - 9:07am
Brett Joyce writes:

"There is a clear lack of objectivity on the subject and Michael should let us all know if he is pushing a personal agenda with these almost exclusive pro-homosexuality missives."

Wow.  Talk about subtle.
Brian Killian | 6/13/2011 - 8:49am
If all this was about nothing more than "welcoming all people to God's house", it's hard to imagine why it would be so controversial. 

Of course, the implicit condition in that welcome is penance and conversion, not celebrating eroticism, hetero or homo. 
Crystal Watson | 6/13/2011 - 2:23am
It's important to keep bringing injustices up in public as long as they continue to exist, even if it's been said before, even if no one agrees.  Good for you, Michael.
Robert Mickens | 6/13/2011 - 2:05am
Silence is death. Bravo, Michael.