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Members of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics at World Youth DayTwitter

LISBON, Portugal (LifeSiteNews) –– A group of Catholics was apprehended by police after protesting against an LGBT Mass inside a church at World Youth Day.

On August 3 in the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation were many participants of World Youth Day (WYD) who identify as LGBT and had gathered in the church for an LGBT Mass. The Mass was part of the LGBT-centric series of events at WYD organized by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics and a local Portuguese LGBT group. 

Advertised only as a “praying moment,” the Mass had reportedly been scheduled to take place in a different venue, as the organizers told media outlets that vocal opposition had made the initial church apprehensive to host the LGBT Mass and series of events.

According to mainstream Portuguese media and heterodox Catholic outlets, around 3 p.m. on August 3, “ultra-traditionalist Catholics” entered the church in protest of the LGBT Mass, minutes before it started. 

The group, which had reportedly been gathering outside, entered while “chanting ‘a reparative prayer’’ against the “‘mortal sins’ resulting from ‘an LGBT ideology that today exists within the Catholic Church.’”

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Portuguese new outlet Visao wrote that organizers of the protest attested that the action was “a peaceful initiative” that was “not against the gay community.” 

“Individually, we have nothing against these people,” organizer Rafael da Silva said. “The enemy is this ideology and some priests who defend it against what the Catholic Church should be and against what is God’s will.”

According to one of the celebrants of the LGBT Mass – the openly homosexual Fr. James Alison, whose clerical life has been marked by rejection of the Church’s teaching on sexual morality – the protesters “wore long mantillas and held crucifixes and increasingly raised their voices in an effort to drown out the priests and congregants during Mass,” according to a statement published by the National Catholic Reporter. Visao noted that Mass had not started when the protesters entered the church.

“I was terribly sorry to see these people who have been led to this terrible ideology of hatred,” Alison told the Reporter. “They live in a weird, alienated world and did not look happy. We were principally sad for them.”

Adding that he did not blame the protesters for their actions, Alison stated “I blame the intellectual authors who seem to bear the responsibility for this.” 

The protest was short lived. Over 24 Portuguese police arrived swiftly and apprehended the protesters “in a muscular way.”

According to Visao, the protesters could face charges of “dismissal, disturbance or outrage to the act of worship” from Portuguese authorities.

Fr. Alison argued that the protests were due to a belief that prominent pro-LGBT Jesuit Fr. James Martin would be a concelebrant at the Mass. As LifeSite has reported, Fr. Martin was in attendance at WYD, addressing participants at the Jesuits’ center in Lisbon. However, Martin had left by the time the Mass took place in the afternoon of August 3, with such information easily available on his social media accounts.

But as news broke about the protest, Martin did reveal his close relationship with the LGBT group in Lisbon. “I had dinner with members of this LGBTQ Catholic group the night before I left Lisbon and they were looking forward to Mass the next day,” he stated.

The event was swiftly used by members of the media to highlight Pope Francis’ words from his addresses given at WYD. On a number of occasions, the Pope had stated that the Church is for “everyone,” getting the assembled WYD participants to join him in chanting “todos, todos, todos,” meaning “everyone.” Speaking on August 3, Francis stated:

Everyone, everyone, everyone! In the Church there is room for everyone. “Father, but I am a wretch, is there room for me? There is room for everyone! All together now, everyone, repeat with me in your own language: Everyone, everyone, everyone. I can’t hear you: again! Everyone. Everyone. Everyone. That is the Church, the Mother of all. There is room for everyone. The Lord does not point a finger but opens his arms. It is odd: the Lord does not know how to do this (pointing), but that (opening wide). He embraces us all. He shows us Jesus on the cross, who opened his arms wide in order to be crucified and die for us.

Fr. Alison himself is a figure by no means exempt from controversy. He lobbied the Vatican for many years to be relieved of his clerical celibacy, arguing that he joined the priesthood based on a false acceptance of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. 

The prominently pro-homosexual priest received a letter from the Congregation for Clergy around 2010 in which he was informed of his eventual laicization after refusing to cooperate in previous attempts to laicize him. 

Angered by this decision, he wrote to Pope Francis, requesting to ignore the Congregation’s decision. Francis subsequently called Alison in 2017, appearing to give his approval to the homosexual priest, saying, “I want you to walk with deep interior freedom, following the Spirit of Jesus. And I give you the power of the keys. Do you understand? I give you the power of the keys.”