LAFAYETTE, Louisiana, July 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Supporters of a Catholic priest who stood by his criticism of the New Orleans Saints for celebrating the “gay rights movement” have launched a petition in his defense after a separate petition called for his removal.
Fr. Andre Metrejean, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Erath, in the Lafayette diocese, recently responded to a Facebook post by the New Orleans Saints that publicized the team having lit up its stadium with the “Pride” rainbow colors.
“Come on NOLA Saints. We want to support you. But this kinda of stunt hurts society and souls. Don't bow down to these pressure groups. Kids have rights. Children deserve to have a dad and a mom. Plz dont support immorality. Cancel the PC Culture,” the parish’s post stated.
The post by the parish attracted more than 500 comments, many of which were negative and accusing the parish of “hatefulness” and “bigotry.”
Parish priest Fr. Metrejean has now removed the post, but he responded to the criticism by posting a recorded statement, as well as sharing a documentary produced by Courage International, an apostolate that encourages Catholics who experience same-sex attractions to find happiness through greater closeness to Christ and in chaste friendships.
“In light of a recent petition launched by Ashlie Langlinais requesting that the Diocese of Lafayette remove Fr. Andre Metrejean from his pastorship of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Erath, LA, because of alleged homophobic and racist comments, this counter-petition intends to correct the slander unjustly thrust upon this faithful priest and demonstrate that the majority of Christians in his parish and beyond uphold perennial Church teaching and stand behind this bold leader of the People of God,” the petition in Metrejean’s support reads.
At the time of publication, in just over 24 hours, almost 3,000 people have signed the petition in support of Fr. Metrejean, whereas fewer than 400 have signed the petition calling for his removal, despite it having been launched five days ago.
As well as receiving criticism on social media, Fr. Metrejean has also been the focus of local news coverage.
PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.
The Lafayette Daily Advertiser claimed that in his statement defending his post, Fr. Metrejean “took aim at same-sex couples in a social media post, suggesting they represent ‘immorality’ and those who disagree are like the devil who ‘twists the truth.’”
In fact, Fr. Metrejean said that the devil encourages people to think the Church is full of hate because of its teaching on homosexual acts. The Lafayette Daily Advertiser published in full the quote it was referring to farther down in its article.
“What does the devil do? The devil always takes truth and enters lies with it. The devil twists the truth. And so the devil is going to say, ‘Since the church teaches and preaches against same sex sexual expression … that the church is full of hate,’” he said. “In fact, when people accuse us of hate or disdain because we preach the truth about sexuality and Gods plan for it, they are lying. It’s a bully tactic. This is what bullies do. They accuse you of something you are in fact not guilty of,” Fr. Metrejean said.
“My parish, my Church, my Bible, my Catholic tradition, my Lord, we don’t hate you, we love you. That’s why we preach what we do. This is not about exclusion, this is not about judging others, this is about saving souls and bringing people the power of the blood of Christ,” he added.
“Though Fr. Metrejean surely counts it a blessing to be persecuted in the name of Christ in accord with the Beatitudes, we as Christians cannot stand idly by as a just man is unjustly torn down,” the petitioners conclude.
“We especially cannot remain silent when our own Father, a true Father who has done so much for the people of Erath, is calumniated by the media.”