‘God Is Trans’ Church No Longer Hosting ‘Pride Mass’ at Gay Monument, Cites Security Concerns
Dominican Father Thomas Petri, a moral theologian and president of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., spoke about the parish’s decision, saying that the Mass should not be used to make a political statement.
A Catholic parish in New York City that planned to have a “Pride Mass” on Thursday at a federal monument with sculptures of two same-sex couples and groups of gay and transgender pride flags has announced a change of location.
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle said in a Wednesday email to parishioners that the National Parks Service informed it that the Stonewall National Monument, which commemorates a June 1969 LGBT uprising against a police raid, “will not be open to the public tomorrow due to concerns over the security of events in the area.”
“Because of this, we will not have access to the park to celebrate our annual Pride Mass scheduled for tomorrow,” the church said in its email.
The Mass will still be held at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle at 6:30 p.m., the email said.
CNA called the Stonewall National Monument to inquire about the security concerns but was unable to reach anyone.
The change of venue comes amid criticism against the parish for its decision to hold a “Pride Mass” and for its choice of location, with some calling it “blasphemous.”
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle is the same church that hosted a controversial art display earlier this year called “God Is Trans,” which also received severe criticism.
Paul Snatchko, a spokesperson for the Paulist Fathers — who run the church — told CNA in June that the point of hosting the “Pride Mass” at Stonewall was to evangelize in the public square by singing hymns and proclaiming the word of God during the liturgy.
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle held a Mass at the Stonewall National Monument in 2019 and a video shows a visiting priest, Father Gil Martinez, celebrating the Mass, saying “Sisters, brothers, siblings, Christ called us here today to this sacred space to commemorate the sacrifice of those who came before us.”
“50 years ago, queers, considered the lowliest of the low, made a stand for their dignity. And though they were beaten by police, they were not broken. Their hope, faith, and rage built the revolution on which we stand. Take a moment to pause and look around you, see their legacy in the faces of those around you. See what God is doing in our world.”
Stonewall National Monument is a 7.7-acre park in the West Village neighborhood of Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan, New York City, dedicated to “LGBT rights” and history. It was designated as a national monument by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2016.
Dominican Father Thomas Petri, a moral theologian and president of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., spoke with CNA on June 14 about the parish’s decision, saying that the Mass should not be used to make a political statement.
“Certainly it’s understandable and it’s part of our tradition to celebrate Mass in repentance for our sinfulness, which includes any unjust discrimination against a person or a group,” he said.
“However, it would be inappropriate for any Mass to be celebrated with a political end, and with political flags or campaign posters flying in the sanctuary or among the congregation,” Father Petri said.
“It would be impious and possibly sacrilegious because it profanes the very purpose of the Mass: The worship of God by the participation in the body and blood of Christ himself.”
Father Petri said that the Mass is meant to “turn our minds and hearts to things that are above and not to things below.”
“All the more is this the case for the Mass at Stonewall, where the monument, the statues, and the flags carry a meaning that most people rightly identify with a lifestyle, sexual activity, and an ideology that are all contrary both to the Christian understanding of the human person and to a life of chastity and virtue,” he said.
“Insisting upon this is not to say that those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria are not discriminated against or are unjustified in their pain or anger,” he said.
“Rather, it is to say that reveling in any identity and lifestyle that we know is contrary to living in the freedom of the children of God ultimately damages the soul and can destroy one’s relationship with God,” Father Petri said.
“It’s not pastoral to facilitate anyone walking that path. There are much better ways to seek justice in the world without abandoning the vocation we all have to grow in holiness,” he said.
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