Certainly one of the most memorable events of the World Meeting of Families week in Dublin was a musical performance held literally and figuratively “outside the gates” of the pastoral congress’ venue. At lunch time on Thursday, an LGBT choir from Dublin,singing only two songs, Something Inside So Strong, a rousing anthem used during the anti-apartheid movement, and We Are Family, a celebratory tune made popular by Sister Sledge, the choir inspired smiles and thumbs-up from all passersby.
They wore T-shirts emblazoned with the message of their musical demonstration to the WMF organizers: “Hear Our Voices.”
Ursula Halligan, a Catholic lesbian woman who has spoken forcefully against church language about LGBT people, helped organize the event. She told The Independent that the Rainbow Choir had applied for an exhibit booth, but never received a response to their application.
As she introduced the choir, she reiterated her plea to church leaders to change their teaching about LGBT people. The Independent reported:
” ‘We need actions – if the church is truly welcoming it would get rid of this language that calls us “objectively disordered and intrinsically evil”,’ she said, adding that this language was damaging young people and the church controls 90% of the schools in this country.
“She said that she was doing this for younger people coming up, saying: ‘I don’t want them to have to wait until they are 53 years of age to come out.’
” ‘Love is the most important thing in life. Why would you want to stunt that in any human being?’ she asked.
” ‘Please look upon us as human beings,’ she said.”
Halligan told a reporter from The Irish Times:
“If the church is serious, it needs to change its theology. It needs to recognise LGBTI families as real families.”
Reuters reported on an interview with an elderly, gay Catholic man who echoed Halligan’s message:
” ‘There are a lot of nice words being spoken, but in reality nothing really changes on the ground,’ said Jim O’Crowly, a 77-year-old gay man who said he attends Catholic Mass every week.
” ‘If they want to do something, they should start by changing the very offensive language that is in Church teaching about homosexuality, regarding it as being disordered and intrinsically evil.’ “
You can watch and listen to the performance on the video at the end of this post.
Jamie Manson, columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, who penned a good summary of some of this week’s LGBT events surrounding the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, wrote about a touching event she observed during the choir performance:
“Before the chorus arrived, a wild wind and rainstorm blew through for a few minutes. I found shelter inside the RDS and watched activists brave the elements and set up their flags. A short-haired, young woman from Eastern Europe stood next to me taking in the scene. She was one of a number of young people I noticed that day who had decided to wrap themselves in large Vatican City flags, wearing them like a sort of cape.
“She turned to her friends, who were significantly older than her, and said that she wanted the activists to know they were welcome.
” ‘I’m going to stand with them,’ she said. Though her group supported her, she stepped outside alone. She remained inside the RDS gates watching the pride flags waving in the wind as the skies began to clear. She paused for at least a minute, looking through the tall iron fencing as the media and the choir gathered, the Vatican flag now wrapped around waist. Without a word she slowly retreated back inside the WMOF hall. I didn’t see her again.”
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, August 25, 2018