Pride controversies involving Catholics have continued all month, but theologian Fr. Bryan Massingale has written about how Pride is very much in keeping with the Church’s social teachings. And New York City Catholics are living that out with a whole series of programs for World Pride this month.
Fr. Massingale wrote in U.S. Catholic about some of the tensions that Pride and the larger movement for LGBTQ equality have provoked in the Church, the “flashpoints for unresolved tensions in the Catholic community’s engagement with the profound mystery of human sexuality.” He recalled the riots at Stonewall first led by transgender women of color and linked those protests with Catholic values, concluding:
“Perhaps Stonewall’s lasting legacy is the conviction that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual expression, are equally human and possess fundamental human rights. This is a value shared by Catholic social teaching as its own bedrock conviction. This is why many Catholics publicly participate in Pride events and maintain membership in the church as their faith community wrestles with the implications of that fundamental belief for its relationship with LGBTQ persons.”
That connection and those questions raised have led LGBTQ-friendly parishes and faith communities in New York City to host a number of liturgies and dialogues this month as the city welcomes World Pride and the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
Speakers have included Fr. James Alison, an openly gay theologian, Fr. James Martin, and theologians Kathleen Talvacchia and John Falcone of Union Theological Seminary. Hosted by St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, St. Paul, and Dignity/New York, topics ranched from discussions about Frederic Martel’s book on homosexuality at the Vatican to coming out as an ethical practice to histories of the LGBTQ movement.
This coming week, a major discussion on global LGBTQI activism will be hosted at Fordham University. Moderated by Jamie Manson, a National Catholic Reporter columnist, and Craig Ford, a theologian at Fordham, the forum features speakers from LGBTQ Catholic groups in the Philippines, Mexico, and Uganda. It will consider both what is emerging in the “period of revolutionary change” worldwide, as well as how LGBTQ people in the U.S. can support activists in other countries. Details about the June 26th event are available here.
Later in the week, the three LGBTQ-friendly parishes mentioned above will each host Pride Masses. You can find information about these events and the whole month’s programming by clicking here. In Hoboken, New Jersey, Our Lady of Grace and St. Joseph are hosting their second annual Pride Mass on June 30th. Information on that celebration is available here.
As LGBTQ people and allies mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, it is good to see Catholics recognizing the truth that Fr. Massingale affirms: participating in Pride is very much consistent with the Church’s teachings and traditions. Congratulations to Catholics in New York City and elsewhere who have given the People of God opportunities to celebrate LGBTQ people as “wonderfully made” in contexts of faith and community.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, June 23, 2019