Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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English Catholic congregation shocked as gay activist disrupts Mass with video cam

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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