- The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit forbid two LGBTQ Catholic groups from holding Mass with priests and using church facilities, according to the Detroit Free Press.
- The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit claimed in a letter to one of the groups, Dignity Detroit, that the group “rejects Church teaching on human sexuality.”
- In June, the Archdiocese of Detroit activated its “morality clause” to fire a lesbian music director, the Detroit Free Press reported.
- In a lengthy statement to Insider, the Archdiocese of Detroit said: “Our desire is to provide pastoral care for and to ensure the salvation of all the faithful, including those who experience same-sex attraction and their families.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit banned two local LGBT Catholic groups from holding mass in church facilities, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.
Dignity Detroit and Fortunate Families Detroit are both Catholic community groups in Detroit that support the LGBTQ+ community. For years, both groups held Masses in churches in Detroit with the support of Catholic priests leading the Mass, according to the Detroit Free Press.
On March 9, Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby sent a letter to all priests in Archdiocese, asking them to “refrain from offering Mass” to Dignity Detroit – a 40-year-old chapter of Dignity USA, a nonprofit organisation that supports and advocates LGBTQI members who are Catholic – “lest we confuse the faithful by seeming to endorse an alternative and contradictory path to sanctity,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
“A Mass for Dignity Detroit members – one which rejects Church teaching on human sexuality – is not possible in any parish church, chapel, or diocesan facility, and is indeed forbidden everywhere in the Archdiocese of Detroit,” Battersby wrote.
Fortunate Families Detroit also published on their website that a letter from Battersby dated March 14 forbid them from meeting in the Archdiocese of Detroit’s church facilities. “Recently, the Archdiocese and others have attempted to silence us. We refuse to be silenced and will continue our ministry in the Archdiocese,” Fortunate Families said in an announcement on their website.
Ross Murray, a senior director at GLAAD, told Insider that Dignity Detroit and Fortunate Families have both “provided support and comfort not just for LGBTQ people themselves but their families.”
“This seems like a really poor ministry decision,” Murray said.
Detroit’s LGBTQ Catholic community has been at odds with the city’s Archdiocese
Dignity Detroit and Fortunate Families have both used the city’s Catholic churches as facilities. Dignity Detroit currently meets at a Catholic chapel at Marygrove College, according to the Detroit Free Press, while Fortunate Families is holding online meetings. The President of Dignity Detroit told the Free Press that it’s “exploring different options” but are staying at their current location for now.
This decision follows a growing chasm between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the LGBTQ Catholic community. In June, the Archdiocese of Detroit dismissed a lesbian music director at a Catholic Church for by activating its “morality clause,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
The Archdiocese’s decisions contrast with “everyday churchgoers” in the Catholic community at large who are “overwhelmingly supportive” of LGBTQ+ community, according to Murray. In a 2019 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, less than a third of Catholics stated that small businesses should be allowed to refuse services and products to gay or lesbian people. Pope Francis has also publicly criticised anti-gay rhetoric and homophobia. Murray stated that decisions like these made by church authorities demonstrate how “increasingly out of touch the Roman Catholic hierarchy is with Catholic people.”
“It ends up alienating and hurting the faithful,” Murray said. “Not just LGBTQ people but folks who believe that LGBTQ people are full human beings… it turns them away too.” The Archdiocese of Detroit told Insider in a statement:
“In recent years, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been committed to renewing and strengthening its ministry for members of the faithful who experience same-sex attraction and their families. This resolve grew out of our Archdiocesan Synod in 2016, during which participants affirmed the importance of ensuring all such ministries appropriately accompany the faithful along the path provided to us by Christ. To that end, the Archbishop has appointed three priest chaplains for our local chapters of the Courage and EnCourage apostolates to minister to those who experience same-sex attraction and their friends and families.
We have communicated these developments to the leadership of Fortunate Families and Dignity Detroit, and we have invited all members to join us in efforts to participate in ministry that is faithful to the teachings of Christ’s Church. Our desire is to provide pastoral care for and to ensure the salvation of all the faithful, including those who experience same-sex attraction and their families.”
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