For the Season of Pride: Join the Parade – It’s A Catholic Duty!

In the northern hemisphere, summer is here – and summer is the season for Gay Pride.  At The Wild Reed, Michael Bayly kicked off his annual Pride celebration by posting a reflection by Steve Lenius, on Gay Pride as a celebration of true humility. This sounds like an oxymoron (how can pride be humble?), but it makes sense to me. Here’s the key point:

The Seven Deadly Sins, of course, have a counterpoint in the Seven Virtues, each one of which directly opposes one of the sins. The virtue opposite pride is humility, which through the centuries has been described as “knowing ourselves as we truly are,” with the corollary of not getting uppity and thinking we can challenge . . . God (see Lucifer, above).

This is “true humility,” as opposed to “false humility,” which in insincerely pretending to be lesser, lower, or something other than what we truly are in order to receive approval and praise. False humility is pretty much universally condemned.

To me, that definition of false humility sounds like staying in the closet in order to receive society’s approval. But . . . true humility – knowing ourselves as we truly are and living our life authentically – is what a Pride celebration is all about.

Read the full piece at The Wild Reed.

In the comments thread, Ecce Homo asks, “How can a mortal sin be a virtue”?  This of course simply assumes that homoerotic orientation is in fact a mortal sin – it emphatically is not, as both the Catechism and Homosexualitatis Problema make clear.  Gay Pride is not necessarily a celebration of sex (of any variety), even though many of the participants may see it as such, but simply a celebration of an identity. This orientation is deeply embedded in human history and culture, and many societies recognize that people with minority sexual or gender identities are more likely than others to have special spiritual gifts. A queer identity is not inimical to religion or spirituality, but may enhance it. Participation in gay pride marches, or information tables, is not in any way something to be seen as a celebration of sin. Indeed, for queer Catholics, it can even be seen as a Catholic duty. Consider here, some words from Vatican documents:

From the Catholic Catechism:

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.” (2333)

“Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another” (2337)

and from Homosexualitatis Problema:

The Lord Jesus promised, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Scripture bids us speak the truth in love (cf. Eph. 4:15). The God who is at once truth and love calls the Church to minister to every man, woman and child with the pastoral solicitude of our compassionate Lord.

“Speaking the truth” on sexuality is what the CDF singularly fails to do. Participating in Pride, especially by manning the information tables, is one way in which we can speak the truth, and help others to find it – thus helping to set them free from Vatican – induced guilt for doing what the Catechism commands, acknowledging and accepting their personal sexuality, and integrating into their lives. In San Francisco, the people of the Parish of Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro will once again be participating in this year’s SF Pride parade. The writers and readers at the California Catholic Daily is outraged at the supposed outrage, but  they should not be. Catholic participation in Pride marches is indeed an evangelical outreach, which Catholics should support – reaching out to countless numbers of gay and lesbians who have given up on the Church, demonstrating that indeed there is a place for all in genuine Catholicism. Returning to sacramental life in the Church, with participation in the Mass, prayer, and the development of a personal relationship with the Lord should be encouraged – and that is precisely what Catholic participation in pride does. In Boston, the internal contradictions in the Church’s stance on Pride celebrations was played in dramatic fashion in the on-again, off-again egg dance over a celebratory Pride Mass at St Cecilia’s. This parish has an existing, established ministry and declared place of welcome for gay and lesbian Catholics, but was forced by Diocesan pressure to cancel, apparently after an anonymous blogger objected. Here’s the irony: the parish priest, Fr John J. Unni, has emphatically reaffirmed the parish’s welcome to all:

“We here at St. Cecilia’s have an agenda,” he said, walking up and down the main aisle of the church. “I have an agenda. Our agenda is the Jesus agenda.” As Unni went onto explain it, “Jesus loved people. He accepted people. He ate with people, those who were the marginalized and ostracized sinners of his day. And by that compassion and interacting as Jesus did at this [communion] table by loving in a good way, people are strengthened, people are healed, people are reminded of their dignity, their beauty, goodness and worth – ready, ready – as they are!” The last part of “Jesus agenda,” Unni said, “and I dare say the cardinal’s agenda” is to be “supportive of all.”

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2 comments for “For the Season of Pride: Join the Parade – It’s A Catholic Duty!

  1. Sebastian
    June 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    You often raise the question of what a gay priest should do. The NYT Magazine has an interesting article on the therapist’s obligation to help people balance apparently irreconcilable religious and sexual identities.  See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/magazine/therapists-who-help-people-stay-in-the-closet.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=living%20the%20good%20life&st=cse

    • June 20, 2011 at 7:25 am

      Thanks for the link, Sebastian. I’ll take a look later.

      You’re right, I have often raised the question of gay priests. It’s an important question, and I don’t think most people are giving any serious thought to just what these people realistically can do.

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