Should Catholics attend ‘pride’ events?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly teaches that people with same-sex attraction must be treated with love and respect, and that the promotion of same-sex sexual relationships is contrary to faith and morals, and God’s plan for human sexuality. Given these two teachings, what should a Catholic do if invited to participate in “Pride” events?
On June 1, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence tweeted that Catholics should not attend Pride events during the month of June, which is commemorated as “Pride Month” throughout the United States.
“A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June,” Tobin tweeted. “They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”
By the following day, the bishop issued another statement after widespread backlash against his original tweet. While the bishop expressed regret that some people took offense at his tweet, he did not apologize for or retract any of the content of his original statement.
“The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I,” Tobin said, adding that “individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.”
During this very month, the just question may arise: what should a Catholic do if invited to participate in “Pride” events?
The commemoration of June as “Pride Month” was officially established by President Bill Clinton in 1999, but it was already being unofficially celebrated for decades prior to that.
Pride Day, which eventually grew to be Pride Month, has been commemorated since June 1969, during the Stonewall Uprising, when activists and other New Yorkers took to the streets to protest against police raids at the Stonewall Inn, a popular bar and lounge at the time for people identifying as gay and lesbian.
Today, Pride Month is celebrated throughout the U.S. with parades, parties and concerts celebrating the gay rights movement and celebrating the LGBT lifestyle.
Chris Stefanick, a Catholic author, speaker and lay minister at Real Life Catholic, said in a video posted to his Facebook page that he would not be attending “Pride” events, and that he also discouraged other Catholics from doing so, especially with children.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church is really clear about this,” Stefanick said. He cited the Catechism’s paragraph 2358, which states that people with same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. But “Pride Parades” today encompass a much larger agenda than anti-discrimination, Stefanick pointed out.
“They’re largely funded by, supported by, attended by, the secular LGBT agenda. And while one sliver of what they’re standing for and pushing against in society is upholding the dignity of the person, which I would agree with, there’s a whole lot more that they’re pushing for that’s directly against my faith,” he said.
“So much confusion exists around this issue,” Stefanick said.
“And that confusion is often perpetuated by people in Church leadership who add to the world’s perception that anything said with clarity is hateful and hurtful and bigoted. It’s perpetuated by people who refuse to clarify which aspects of the LGBT movement we agree with, and which ones we have to absolutely reject… not because we’re moralists, but because Jesus Christ is the fulfillment and happiness we’re looking for, and nothing else will do!”
Courage is a Catholic organization for people with same-sex attraction and for those who love them. It supports them in leading a chaste life and building community and deep friendships with others in the Church who support them.
Courage is active in about two-thirds of the Catholic dioceses of the U.S., as well as in multiple other countries, with more than 150 Courage Chapters and just under 100 Encourage Chapters. Encourage is the apostolate for relatives and loved ones of people who identify as LGBT.
Fr. Philip Bochanski, the executive director of Courage, told CNA that Catholics should keep in mind that Pride events “were originally meant to draw attention to unjust discrimination and harsh and sometimes even violent treatment against people because of their sexual attractions and their understanding of their sexual identity.”
‘It’s deplorable that homosexual people have been and are the object of violence malice in speech and in action, and that such behavior deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors whenever it occurs,’” Bochanski added.
“The Church has always been in agreement that people who are living with these experiences should not be discriminated against unjustly and should not be treated with malice or violence,” he said.
However, the Church also teaches that the answer to the unjust treatment of people identifying as LGBT is not to change the Church’s teaching or to say that homosexual relationships are good or moral.
Fr. Bochanski emphasized loving people with same-sex attractions as full persons, and helping them to see that their identity does not lie solely within their sexuality. And continued: “I believe that God has a plan for your life and for your relationships and for sexuality, and if you follow that plan, it’s going to lead you to be happy.
Yet, it’s important to present the fullness of the truth of God’s plan for sexuality, which is a Church teaching that cannot change: that’s always going to be true, because it comes from the Word of God.”
“The answer really should be to teach the truth more clearly about the dignity of the human person, and call all of our brothers and sisters to a life in holiness which always includes the virtue of chastity, among the other virtues,” he added.