John M. Becker

Catholic Church's 'Pride' Event Smells Like False Advertising

Filed By John M. Becker | June 17, 2014 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Baltimore, Catholic Church, celibacy, Courage, disordered, false advertising, LGBT Pride, William Lori

embracing-gods-gift-baltimore.jpgLook what blogger Joe Jervis found on the website of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, under a banner reading "Celebrate Pride Month with the St. Ignatius Community!":

Embracing God's Gifts, St. Ignatius' Gay & Lesbian ministry, is inviting you to join us on Friday, June 13th at 7 PM in the Chapel of Grace, where we will give thanks to God for the gift of family. Through music, readings, prayer and a spirit of gratitude, we will gather to celebrate being members of God's family. Please contact Gordon Creamer... if you are interested in participating in the planning process. All are welcome and please bring a friend! A light Reception will follow in Ignatian Hall.

The archdiocesan website links to a flyer advertising the event, which reads:

As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, we are called to celebrate and share the gifts of diversity of sexuality in our church today. Our organization, Embracing God's Gifts, has been formed as an instrument for recognizing these gifts and incorporating their goodness and use into the life of our parish. Our mission is to create opportunities for the spiritual enrichment, support and inclusion of all diverse individuals, while being informed by church teaching, and to promote awareness and community building among them. We will accomplish this through a variety of endeavors that foster support, communication and social activities. We invite all to participate in this group with open-mindedness and compassion.

But don't start celebrating yet. I'll tell you why, after the jump.

Consider again the stated mission of Embracing God's Gifts:

Our mission is to create opportunities for the spiritual enrichment, support and inclusion of all diverse individuals, while being informed by church teaching, and to promote awareness and community building among them.

Did you catch that? "While being informed of church teaching." I won't bother you with a detailed description of those teachings (Click here for one I wrote last year), but to summarize, the Catholic Church essentially says that gays and lesbians are "objectively disordered" and must lead entirely celibate lives because the sexual expression of their love for one another is "an intrinsic moral evil."

Now I realize that the flyer says the group is informed by church teaching, not that it necessarily upholds it. I contacted Gordon Creamer, the aforementioned Embracing God's Gifts organizer at St. Ignatius Parish, and left a message asking him what exactly the program tells gay and lesbian Catholics about themselves and their sexuality. I also asked whether it has any affiliation with Courage, the Catholic "ministry" that uses a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous to encourage LGB Catholics to suppress their sexuality and live totally celibate lives. If Creamer responds, I'll let you know.

My skepticism, however, is further reinforced by the fact that this so-called "Pride" event was advertised on the archdiocesan website. The head of the Baltimore Archdiocese is none other than William Lori, a high-profile opponent of marriage equality who has spoken at events sponsored by the Family Research Council anti-gay hate group and chairs the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. If his name looks familiar it's because he's the prelate who said, just last week, that the American bishops would fight same-sex marriage for generations, if necessary.

Put simply, Lori's so incredibly anti-gay that any kind of actual pride event at one of his parishes -- you know, one that doesn't call sexually active LGB Catholics disordered and evil -- would have to take place in secret (which, by the way, kinda defeats the purpose of pride). There's no way in hell it'd be advertised on any website he controls.

For those reasons, this so-called "pride" celebration doesn't pass the smell test. More likely, it's part of the Catholic Church's ongoing campaign to downplay its divisive, retrograde beliefs on issues like LGBT equality by talking about them less and using more "sophistication in [their] messaging" when they do. But don't be fooled: if "Embracing God's Gifts" tells LGB people that they can only do that by accepting a life of frustration and sexlessness, well, that isn't "pride" at all.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but I won't hold my breath.

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