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By Kevin Jones, EWTN News/CNA, June 7, 2018
Washington D.C. – While the month of June is marked by LGBT pride events, some Catholic critics have voiced wariness and concern that the events draw people away from God’s plan for humankind.
“Pride Month fills me with sadness, for gay pride parades are events that ultimately show how much man has forgotten God and how much he loves us, as a loving Father who created us in his image, solely as male and female,” Daniel Mattson, author of the book “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” told EWTN News.
“Gay Pride Parades are masquerades that obscure man’s dignity, rather than honor it,” he said.
Mattson voiced gratitude for the opening words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s section on Life in Christ, a passage from a sermon of St. Leo the Great, which says “Christian, recognize your dignity.” Mattson also voiced gratitude that the Church “points the path away from pride in what are ultimately socially constructed identities to the truth of our nature.”
Mattson suggested that parade marchers will find true happiness only through “humility before God, their creator, recognizing the inherent dignity he gave them, as his sons and daughters, created male and female.”
LGBT pride parades and other observances are held in June to commemorate the June 1969 riots and protests against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City. This month’s events range from low-key events, marches and advocacy, major corporate-backed events, and events that include public nudity and immorality.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island has also commented on the observances.
“Catholics should be very wary of events in the June LGBTQ month. It’s not a fun-filled, family-friendly celebration of respect,” Tobin said in a June 1 Twitter post. “It promotes a lifestyle and agenda that, in the extreme, is morally offensive.”
Mattson said he was grateful for Bishop Tobin’s “clarity and warning” about attending the events.
“I pray that many will heed his words of caution,” he said.
Pride events also drew comment from Father James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large of America Magazine. In several June 2 Twitter posts that seemed to counter Bishop Tobin’s remarks, Father Martin said: “Catholics need not be wary of June’s Pride Month. It’s a way for LGBT people to be proud that they are beloved children of God, they have families who love them as they are, and they have a right to be treated with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity’ after years of persecution.”
Father Martin received an award from the dissenting Catholic group New Ways Ministry and his speech to the group became the basis for his 2017 book “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.” The book drew praise from Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, as well as Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark.
However, the Guinean-born Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, criticized the book in a September 2017 editorial in the Wall Street Journal, saying that Catholic outreach to LGBT individuals must always include the truth about Catholic teaching and chastity.
“As a mother, the Church seeks to protect her children from the harm of sin, as an expression of her pastoral charity,” the cardinal said.
Mattson, who did not comment on Martin’s tweets specifically, suggested that the Church’s message for those who self-identify as LGBT should be “Recognize your dignity and reject the limiting reductionist sexual labels of the world.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that those who experience same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” while explaining that LGBT individuals, like all Catholics, are called to the virtue of chastity with regard to the sexual expression.
“You were called into being by God the Father who knit you in the womb, made male and female, in His likeness. Claim your true nature, in humility, recognizing that you are a creature, made by God,” Mattson said.
“Humility, not pride, is the only path to peace and true human freedom.”
He suggested another appropriate response to pride parades is “sorrow, bowed heads, and prayers for all those who march around the world.”
These prayers should be “guided by the confident hope that through the grace of God, they might one day come to know the Father’s love for them, and in his tender gaze, finally understand who they truly are.”
“Such has been the gift the Church has given to me,” Mattson told EWTN News.