LGBTQ+ advocates in western Ohio protested at a Catholic church where the pastor referred to Pride Month as “diabolical” and “unnatural.”
About 60 people gathered outside St. Mary’s Church, Oxford, to object to in a letter in the parish bulletin written by Fr. David Doseck The bulletin is used for all the churches making up the Preble County Catholic
Doseck contrasted Pride with the traditional June devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, writing:
“During this month there is a diabolic and unnatural campaign to make this month dedicated for the purpose of ‘Pride Month’ in the United States. This campaign has a history, and it is everywhere.
“The Church’s guidance seems almost surreal in a climate where homosexuality is praised in every arena of life today.
“How do we not discuss with our children what our culture unceasingly commands us to celebrate? Even Christian churches (and sadly some Catholic writers and leaders) view ‘gay pride’ as a virtue, and they happily fly the rainbow flag.”
Doseck wrote further that it was inevitable children would encounter an LGBTQ+ person or couple, commenting:
“Perhaps your child’s uncle has a ‘husband’ or maybe an older cousin has ‘come out’ or some co-workers are celebrating their ‘samesex so-called marriage’ and your family is invited to the ceremony and party. When this happens, you will have to explain that, although we love our friends and family members who have these same sex feelings, they are confused about God’s plan for them.”
Mark Radlinski, a longtime resident of the area who helped organize the protest, told Local 12 about why advocates rallied:
“‘Oxford is an inclusive community, and we all have to work together, regardless of differences we may have, to try and make this a better town. . .For a faith leader to come in with these divisive comments, it’s just not in the character of Oxford.'”
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati issued a statement saying Doseck’s bulletin letter was “in conformity with Church teaching,” as it is the “primary responsibility of all priests” to proclaim such teachings. Schnurr added, “The inherent dignity of every human being does not mean, however, that all behavior is to be condoned.”
Because St. Mary’s Church had just joined the regional parish cluster in July, Doseck’s letter and the controversy surrounding it was how many parishioners came to know about their new pastor. For the past five years, Doseck has been the only priest serving the Preble County Catholic Region cluster.
The peaceful, but firm response from the Oxford advocates is a good way for LGBTQ-negative pastors to be countered. While rotests may not change the minds of church leaders, they do show LGBTQ people that the wayward remarks of one prelate do not represent the wider community. Informed and honest dialogue with LGBTQ Catholics and allies would also be helpful if the pastor would agree to it.
—Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, July 30, 2022