Pittsburgh ‘Pride Mass’ canceled after bishop’s letter disavows event

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An event advertised as a “Pride Mass” scheduled to take place on the feast of Corpus Christi at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University was canceled after the diocese’s bishop, David Zubik, disavowed the event in a letter sent May 31.

The event was canceled by university officials, according to WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station.

Representatives from the private Catholic university declined to confirm with CNA if they were responsible for canceling the event. Instead, university officials forwarded Zubik’s letter that requested the Mass be canceled in light of the controversy.

The Mass to which LGBTQ Catholics, families, and “allies” were invited was set to take place in Duquesne’s Holy Spirit Chapel on Sunday.

According to a flier advertising the event, it was organized by Catholics for Change in Our Church (CCOC) in conjunction with various other groups including Pittsburgh parish LGBTQ ministries at St. Mary Magdalene and St. Joseph the Worker churches.

After word broke of the planned Pride Mass, a significant backlash erupted, culminating in Zubik’s letter, which was sent to priests, deacons, and seminarians of the diocese.

In his letter, Zubik stated that “neither I, as bishop of the diocese, nor President Ken Gormley of Duquesne University knew anything about the Mass until calls came in to our respective offices.”

“Many of the responses to the flier jumped to the conclusion that I gave approval to this event. I did not,” Zubik wrote.

“What we have learned is that independent sponsors, without the authorization of the pastors of the parishes listed, promoted the event with a flier that confused some and enraged others.”

Though distancing himself from the event, Zubik decried “many of the responses” to the Pride Mass as “threatening” and “not in keeping with Christian charity.”

“The Church has invested much energy in welcoming people who are dealing with sensitive issues in their lives,” Zubik said. “As [a] Church, we all have the responsibility to love those who have same sex attraction. But at the same time, the Church cannot support behavior that goes against God’s law.”

Zubik concluded that “given all that has transpired surrounding this event, I am asking that this gathering be canceled.”

“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,” Zubik said.

Zubik also expressed his hope that “all, inclusive of the LGBTQ community,” would “gather together on June 11th in our churches and chapels to celebrate the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, and focus our attention on the Body of Christ in the Sacred Eucharist and the Body of Christ as the Church.”

Kevin Hayes, president of CCOC, one of the groups behind the event, expressed dismay over the cancellation of the Mass.

“We just wanted a Mass in which LGBTQ Catholics could feel welcomed as beloved sons and daughters of a loving God and just be affirmed for who they are,” Hayes told WESA.

Duquesne University was founded in 1878 as the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. According to its website, Duquesne remains committed to the congregation’s values of “service to the Church, the community, the nation, and the world.”

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