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DETROIT, Michigan, March 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Archdiocese of Detroit has ordered priests to “refrain” from celebrating Masses “in any parish church, chapel, or diocesan facility” for the pro-homosexual group Dignity/Detroit.

Bishop Gerard W. Battersby, an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, explained in a statement that the group “rejects Church teaching on human sexuality.”

According to Dignity/Detroit’s website, the organization, which was founded in 1974, “works for respect and justice for people of all sexual orientations, genders, and gender identities — especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons — in the Catholic Church and the world through education, advocacy, and support.”

Members of the group claim they have a “right” and a “duty” to live the sacramental life of the Church. “We believe that we can express our sexuality in a loving, life-affirming manner that is in keeping with Christ's teaching,” Dignity/Detroit stated on its website, indicating that members openly live an active homosexual lifestyle.

Bishop Battersby pointed out that the archdiocese’s measures against Dignity/Detroit arise “from heartfelt pastoral concern for members” of the group.

“As we endeavor to provide a culture of empathy and understanding throughout the Archdiocese according to the light of the Gospel, it is essential that the Church not seem to condone Dignity Detroit’s competing vision for growth in holiness,” Battersby clarified.

“I ask for your assistance – and the assistance of all those ministering in the Archdiocese of Detroit – to ensure the pastoral care of those who experience same-sex attraction, to support the Courage and EnCourage apostolates, and to refrain from offering Mass anywhere in the Archdiocese of Detroit for Dignity Detroit, lest we confuse the faithful by seeming to endorse an alternative and contradictory path to sanctity,” he stated. 

He admitted that certain things, for instance Dignity/Detroit’s outreach to the poor, “are commendable.” However, “the organization’s rejection of the Church’s teaching on chastity is incompatible with the path of sanctification on which Christ bids his Church to travel and is at odds with the important work of the Courage and EnCourage apostolates.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law.” The catechism is very clear that homosexual activity can never be approved. 

At the same time, people who suffer from same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

“These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” Homosexuals, the catechism continued, are called to live chaste lives.

Courage is a ministry geared to “men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who have made a commitment to strive for chastity.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said of Courage members, “These men and women testify to the power of grace, the nobility and resilience of the human heart.”

EnCourage is part of Courage but “dedicated to the spiritual needs of parents, siblings, children, and other relatives and friends of persons who have same-sex attractions.”

Bishop Battersby explained in his statement that he invited current members of Dignity/Detroit “to join us in our missionary efforts to promote the New Evangelization and to participate in a ministry to the same-sex attracted that is faithful to the teachings of Christ’s Church.”

Church Militant, which is based in Detroit, reported in December that Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit allows “pro-homosexual Dignity Masses to continue under his watch because he fears a ‘rebellion’ by gay priests.”

“Vigneron has been tight-lipped about his support for the dissident group Dignity throughout his nearly full decade as archbishop of Detroit, installed in January 2009. Indeed, there are no known public or private comments about Dignity from Vigneron as to why he consents to the scandalous Mass at Marygrove College, which is now in its 44th year,” Church Militant continued.

Michael Voris, the founder of Church Militant, expressed his relief about the archdiocese’s decision to ban Dignity/Detroit from organizing Masses.

“After more than TEN YEARS of being shamed by Church Militant – Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron … FINALLY relents and forbids the ‘celebration’ of the gay Dignity ‘Mass’ in (Detroit) – Longest in continual existence on earth,” he tweeted.

In 2013, Archbishop Vigneron said that Catholic supporters of same-sex “marriage” should not present themselves to receive Communion.

As the Archdiocese of Detroit is stopping homosexual ideology from being spread, the Latin Mass parish entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Detroit has been elevated to “Archdiocesan Shrine” by Vigneron.

“With this designation, we recognize that the St. Joseph Shrine, continuing its vibrant renewal under the pastoral care of the Canons of the Institute, will be a sacred place of pilgrimage, a source of deep devotion to St. Joseph, and a welcoming place of rich liturgical life for all the faithful,” the archbishop said.

The Institute of Christ the King started its apostolate in Detroit only in 2016. Now, the parish has a growing membership of 220 registered families while also serving “as a ‘second home’ parish to more than 1,200 households seeking and supporting the traditional Mass.”