- The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has banned two LGBTQ Catholic groups from celebrating mass with priests and using church facilities, according to the Detroit Free Press.
- The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit affirmed in a letter to one of the groups, Dignity Detroit, that the group “rejects the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.”
- In June, the Archdiocese of Detroit activated its “morality clause” to fire a lesbian musical director, the Detroit Free Press reported.
- In a lengthy statement to Insider, the Archdiocese of Detroit said, “Our desire is to provide pastoral care and ensure the salvation of all faithful, including those who are attracted to the same sex and their families.”
- Visit the Insider home page for more stories.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has banned two local LGBT Catholic groups from holding a mass on church premises, the Detroit Free Press reported on Saturday.
Dignity Detroit and Wealthy Families Detroit are both Catholic community groups in Detroit that support the LGBTQ + community. For years, the two groups have 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 the Archdiocese, asking them to ârefrain from offering massâ in Dignity Detroit – a 40 year chapter of Dignity USA, a non-profit organization that supports and advocates for LGBTQI members. who are Catholic – “lest we confuse the faithful by appearing to endorse an alternate and contradictory path to holiness,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
âA Mass for the Dignity of the Members of Detroit – which rejects the Church’s teaching on human sexuality – is not possible in any parish church, chapel or diocesan establishment, and is indeed prohibited anywhere in the Archdiocese of Detroit, âBattersby wrote.
Wealthy Detroit Families Too published on their site that a letter from Battersby dated March 14 prohibited them from meeting on the premises of the Church of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
âRecently the Archdiocese and others have tried to silence us. We refuse to be silenced and will continue our ministry in the Archdiocese,â Fortunate Families said in an announcement on its website.
Ross Murray, senior director of GLAAD, told Insider that Dignity Detroit and Fortunate Families have both “provided support and comfort not only to LGBTQ people themselves but to their families.”
âIt seems like a very bad decision by the department,â Murray said.
Detroit’s LGBTQ Catholic community disagrees with the city’s archdiocese
Dignity Detroit and Fortunate Families both used the city’s Catholic churches as facilities. Dignity Detroit is currently meeting in a Catholic chapel at Marygrove College, according to the Detroit Free Press, while Fortunate Families is holding meetings online. The president of Dignity Detroit told Free Press he is “exploring different options” but remains at his current location for now.
The move follows a growing chasm between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the LGBTQ Catholic community. In June, the Archdiocese of Detroit fired a lesbian music director from a Catholic church for activating its “morality clause”, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The archdiocese’s decisions contrast with the âeveryday faithfulâ of the Catholic community in general who âoverwhelmingly supportâ the LGBTQ + community, according to Murray. In a 2019 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, less than a third of Catholics said small businesses should be allowed to deny services and products to gays or lesbians. Pope Francis has also publicly criticized anti-gay rhetoric and homophobia.
Murray said such decisions taken by church authorities demonstrate how “the Roman Catholic hierarchy is increasingly disconnected from Catholics.”
“It ends up alienating and hurting the faithful,” Murray said. “Not just LGBTQ people, but people who believe that LGBTQ people are human beings in their own rightâ¦ that turns them away, too.”
The Archdiocese of Detroit told Insider in a statement:
âIn recent years, the Archdiocese of Detroit has made a commitment to renew and strengthen its ministry to faithful victims of same-sex attraction and their families. This determination arose from our Archdiocesan Synod in 2016, in which participants affirmed the importance of ensuring that all of these ministries appropriately accompany the faithful on the path provided to us by Christ. To this end, the Archbishop has appointed three priests as chaplains for our local chapters of the Courage and Encouragement apostolates to serve those who are attracted to the same sex, as well as their friends and families.
We communicated these developments to the leaders of Fortunate Families and Dignity Detroit, and we invited all members to join us in participating in a ministry faithful to the teachings of the Church of Christ. Our desire is to provide pastoral care and to ensure the salvation of all the faithful, including those who are attracted to the same sex and their families. “