PITTSBURGH (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop David Zubick of Pittsburgh is reportedly calling for the cancellation of what he described as an unauthorized “Pride Mass.”
A flyer circulating online showed the Mass scheduled for June 11, the Feast of Corpus Christi, at Duquesne University’s Holy Spirit Chapel. It is meant to be presided over by Father Doug Boud. The Daily Signal reported on May 31 that Zubick responded to the event by calling for its cancellation and claiming that neither he nor Duquesne University president Ken Gormley “knew anything about the Mass until calls came in to our respective offices over the holiday weekend.”
It’s unclear how the event was planned and, as Zubick noted, it flies in the face of the Catholic Church’s opposition to homosexual fornication. “This event was billed as a ‘Pride Mass’ organized to coincide with Pride Month, an annual secular observance that supports members of the LGBTQ community on every level, including lifestyle and behavior, which the Church cannot endorse,” Zubick wrote.
That statement reportedly came in a letter to clergy and those upset about the event, which caused an uproar on social media. Crisis Magazine editor-in-chief Eric Sammons blasted the event, tweeting last week that “The bishop of Pittsburg [sic] has a sacred obligation to shut this sacrilege down and discipline all clerics associated with it.”
— Eric Sammons (@EricRSammons) May 27, 2023
It’s unclear whether the Mass has been officially canceled. The diocese and Fr. Tom Burke, the pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Pittsburgh, did not respond to LifeSite’s requests for comment. Vicki Sheridan, who is listed as a “scripture commentator” for the Mass and coordinator for St. Mary Magdalene Parish’s “LGBTQ” ministry, likewise did not respond.
Other co-hosts listed are the “LGBTQ Ministry at St. Joseph the Worker” and Pax Christi. The flyer lists other co-hosts as APP, apparently referring to the Association of Pittsburgh Priests, and CCOC, the acronym for Catholics for Change in our Church.
According to an article in the Pittsburgh City Paper, Sheridan’s daughters “are part of the LGBTQ community” and attended Pittsburgh Pride in 2017. The article, published last April, quotes Sheridan saying that “she wanted to be someone who supports LGBTQ Catholics ‘exactly as they are.’”
It claims that Sheridan received permission to start the ministry in 2000 from Fr. Burke, whom the outlet indicated had said that “an LGBTQ ministry group” could work at St. Mary Magadalene parish because of its economically and racially diverse congregation. The parish’s website says the group “recognizes that all the baptized, in the diversity of our sexual orientations and gender identities, are called to full participation in the life, worship, and mission of the church. The ministry seeks to foster an appreciation of the gifts that our LGBTQ members, their families, and allies bring to our community and to create a safe and supportive space for their social and spiritual growth.”
Burke reportedly said the ministry didn’t seek to oppose Church teaching (e.g. “perform a same-sex marriage”) but also claimed that “[b]eing a police in the bedroom, that’s not my job. My job is to be the pastor.” It’s unclear what Burke meant by “being a police in the bedroom,” but the Church has long taught that homosexual acts and the inclination toward them are “intrinsically disordered.”
“They are contrary to the natural law,” the Catholic Catechism reads. “They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
In his response, Bishop Zubick echoed the Catechism in condemning homosexual acts while encouraging love toward individuals who experience same-sex attraction.
“As Pope Francis has reminded us, the Church, and this diocese, have strongly encouraged welcoming, listening and accompanying those in LGBTQ communities with various ministries such as Courage and EnCourage,” he said, referring to faithful ministries for same-sex-attracted Catholics and their families. “We need to and want to do more in our pastoral care. We welcome, listen and accompany but cannot endorse behavior contrary to what we know to be God’s law. At the same time, we must be willing to love and welcome each other as children of God. My hope is that the Church of Pittsburgh is welcoming to the LGBTQ community and in turn that the LGBTQ community is welcoming of the Church and her teachings.”
The scheduled Mass came amid broader concerns about “Pride Month” and how Catholic institutions handle the secular festival. On Thursday, the University of Notre Dame received backlash for posting a tweet celebrating Pride Month. “Happy #PrideMonth!” It read. “We celebrate all LGBTQ+ identities and reaffirm our commitment to being a welcoming, safe and supportive place for ALL members of the Notre Dame family.”
St. Mary Magdalene in Pittsburgh has also promoted the work of Fr. James Martin, who regularly pushes highly controversial views on the issue. Facebook posts from last year show the group notifying followers of discussions of Martin’s “Building a Bridge” book and documentary.
Duquesne did not immediately respond to Lifesite’s requests for comment.
Readers can contact the diocese using the contact form on its website.