All Are Welcome*
*Certain exclusions apply; see your local diocese for details.
The Boston Globe reports on a Catholic parish in a gay neighborhood of the city that had planned to hold a Mass proclaiming that all are welcome, to have its plans scrapped by the archdiocese following complaints from anonymous conservative bloggers:
“The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia Parish invites all friends and supporters of the LGBT community to a Mass in celebration of Boston’s Pride Month,’’ the bulletin said. “The theme of the liturgy, ‘All Are Welcome,’ honors Christ’s message of hope and salvation to all people. We will also celebrate the diverse community that finds its home at St. Cecilia.’’
But after protests from conservative church members, the archdiocese intervened.
“The wording and placement of a bulletin notice announcing that the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry will be joining the parish at a Mass on June 19 may have given the unintended impression that the Mass is in support of Gay Pride Week; it is not,’’ said Terrence C. Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese. “The pastor will clarify this issue at the Masses this coming weekend.’’
The pastor of the church, the Rev. John J. Unni, did not return calls. Donilon said that he spoke for the parish and that the decision was made by senior officials at the archdiocese.
A member of the parish council was taken aback by the controversy, and she articulated a particularly beautiful aspect of our diverse church that appears to be threatening to some:
“We have all kinds of people at our church. We have straight people and gay people, rich people and poor people, white people and people of color, old people and young people. We’re a community, a big tent.’’
Having a church service coincide with a gay pride event may seem anathema in some circles, but several churches and other religious groups are well represented at such celebrations. In Washington, DC, many denominations have a presence during pride celebrations, including Dignity Washington, a group supporting gay and lesbian Catholics in the city. The church proclaims rightly that all are welcome to God's house, and for that statement to be true, we've got to drop the asterisk.