English Catholic congregation shocked as gay activist disrupts Mass with video cam
ROME, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A homosexualist activist disrupted a Mass held in a parish in Teignmouth, Devon, with a video camera last week as a priest prepared to read a letter from the country’s bishops conference opposing government efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The incident has prompted concerns that anti-Christian activists are becoming more bold and aggressive as the Church continues to oppose same-sex “marriage.”
A video, posted to YouTube, shows the priest hesitating after announcing that the letter would be read out on the request of the bishops conference. The priest, dressed in Mass vestments and standing in the pulpit, faces the camera and asks, “What’s that for?” The activist replies, “Do go on. It’s a record of what you’re about to say.”
The priest asks the activist to sit down, but when he hears that the video is to be posted on the internet, declines to read the letter for fear of further disruption. After the priest offers to have the letter available after the Mass instead of reading it publicly, the activist pans the camera over the congregation and says, “OK, we’re all happy with that? Yeah? You don’t want to hear it? Good.”
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One parishioner is heard to day, “Sit down,” and the activist assures the surprised congregants that he will be “leaving in a moment” but wants to know if any of them “feels as uncomfortable as I feel” about the Church’s opposition to “gay marriage.” He says he feels “really, really uncomfortable with you making judgments about my lifestyle of which I have no choice.”
One parishioner’s voice is heard saying, “You’re making judgments about us.” He replies, “Yeah, I am making judgments about you, because you’re making judgments about me…by supporting the Catholic Church and its attitude towards me.”
He suggests that parishioners “examine your conscience” and “if you feel uncomfortable with this statement that your preacher is too scared to read out about me then maybe you’d like to join me in walking out of the church.” The video was altered so that parishioners are not identifiable.
Calling himself a “gentle, courteous, caring person” the activists claims on the YouTube page that he decided to disrupt the service “less than an hour” before its being held, and had never before conducted any similar activism on behalf of the homosexualist movement. He writes that he had not intended to “upset or offend anyone.”
“By the time I was sat in the pew, my intention was simply to video the priest reading out the letter, then post the video on YouTube to stimulate discussion,” he wrote.
With the decision not to read the letter, “the preacher” he said, “rather cleverly took the wind out of my sails.”
The video has received hundreds of comments on YouTube, some by commenters whom appear to know the activist personally. One wrote, “Sorry David, whilst I fully support same-sex civil marriage, and strongly disagree with my Archbishops; I think you have only hurt your reputation and your cause.”
The commenter, identified as “rerum2novarum” continued, “The priest was not going to read out the letter anyway. Many members of the congregation (including someone who is gay) were very upset, and you caused grave offence. I know you are kind, caring man and may have acted in the heat of the moment.”
The video was featured last week on the popular blog of US priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. The priest consulted well-known barrister and religious discrimination expert Neil Addison who pointed out that the priest had recourse to the law. It is an offense in England and Scotland to disrupt a religious service or intimidate or harass ministers of religion. Although Addison said that such laws were mainly drafted in the 19th century, and are widely “regarded as obsolete today” they can still be prosecuted as “religiously aggravated” public order or violence offences.
The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, states that a person commits an offense if he “shall molest, let, disturb, vex, or trouble, or by any other unlawful means disquiet or misuse any preacher duly authorised to preach [in a church], or any clergyman in Holy Orders ministering or celebrating any sacrament or any Divine service, rite, or office in any cathedral church or chapel, churchyard, or burial ground.”
The letter opposing the imposition of “gay marriage” in Britain has become a magnet not only for homosexualist activists but also for increased anti-Catholic activity on the part of secularists. It was prompted by the announcement that the coalition government, led by the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, has opened its 12-week public consultation into how to go about legalizing same-sex “marriage” this week.
Legal experts have pointed out that existing civil partnership rules allow the same rights and privileges to homosexual partnerings as marriage, only without the name. But even before the last election, Prime Minister Cameron, and a number of his Tory ministers made it clear that their plan has been to introduce total legal equivalence to same-sex partnerings as to natural marriage.
The government has made it clear that some form of legalized “gay marriage” will be inevitable; the public is only being asked how exactly the change will be made. The list of proposed topics for the consultation includes questions on whether to allow same-sex couples to marry in a register office or other civil ceremony; whether to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert it into a marriage; whether to allow people to stay married and legally change their gender and whether to maintain the legal ban on same-sex couples marrying in a religious service.
Under the current law, churches are not required to conduct homosexual partnering ceremonies, but some senior churchmen have warned that with officially sanctioned “gay marriage” the churches could face legal harassment if they continue to refuse.