A Roman Catholic mass to be held in western Pennsylvania this weekend in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics has been canceled after flyers for the service switched the designation to a “Pride mass”.
The cancellation of Sunday mass at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh came at the request of the diocese after protesting emails and calls, some of them threatening, officials said. While the exact nature of the protest messages is unclear, they come at a time when major brands like Target, Bud Light and Starbucks have faced rightwing backlash for using the Pride labeling.
The Pittsburgh mass had been organized by Catholics for Change in Our Church with the help of LGBTQ+ outreach ministries, said group’s president Kevin Hayes, and similar in nature to other outreach efforts toward Black or Hispanic parishioners.
Trouble arose after independent sponsors of the event promoted the mass with a flyer “that confused some and enraged others”, according the Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh diocese.
“This event was billed as a ‘Pride mass’ organized to coincide with Pride Month, an annual secular observance that supports members of the LGBTQ community on every level, including lifestyle and behavior, which the church cannot endorse,” Zubik said in a letter to priests, deacons and seminarians in the diocese.
Zubik added that protesters incorrectly assumed that he had approved the event, and that the critics of the mass had used “condemning and threatening, and some might say hateful, language not in keeping with Christian charity”.
Bishop Zubik said he asked that the gathering be canceled “given all that has transpired surrounding this event”.
Kevin Hayes, president of Catholics for Change in Our Church, said that group members “are very sad and very frustrated”. He added that the goal had been to “just have LGBTQ Catholics feel welcomed as beloved sons and daughters of a loving God and just be affirmed for who they are within the context of the Eucharist, which we feel is appropriate.”
Source: The Guardian