CNA inquired of the Archdiocese of New York whether the church’s scheduled outdoor “Pride Mass” at the monument was approved by the archdiocese.
The archdiocese has not yet responded.
The New York Post on May 7 revealed that the Church of St. Paul the Apostle was hosting an art exhibit that included a display called “God Is Trans: A Queer Spiritual Journey.” A firestorm of criticism erupted online, with many calling the artwork “blasphemous.”
Following concerns expressed by the Archdiocese of New York, the church shortened the name of the art display to “A Queer Spiritual Journey.”
‘It’s not pastoral’
Father Thomas Petri, OP, a moral theologian and president of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., told CNA on Wednesday that the Mass should not be used to make a political statement.
“Certainly it’s understandable and it’s part of our tradition to celebrate Mass in repentance for our sinfulness, which includes any unjust discrimination against a person or a group,” he said.
“However, it would be inappropriate for any Mass to be celebrated with a political end, and with political flags or campaign posters flying in the sanctuary or among the congregation,” Petri said. “It would be impious and possibly sacrilegious because it profanes the very purpose of the Mass: the worship of God by the participation in the body and blood of Christ himself.”
Petri said that the Mass is meant to “turn our minds and hearts to things that are above and not to things below.”
“All the more is this the case for the Mass at Stonewall, where the monument, the statues, and the flags carry a meaning that most people rightly identify with a lifestyle, sexual activity, and an ideology that are all contrary both to the Christian understanding of the human person and to a life of chastity and virtue,” he said.
“Insisting upon this is not to say that those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria are not discriminated against or are unjustified in their pain or anger,” he said.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
“Rather, it is to say that reveling in any identity and lifestyle that we know is contrary to living in the freedom of the children of God ultimately damages the soul and can destroy one’s relationship with God,” Petri said.
“It’s not pastoral to facilitate anyone walking that path. There are much better ways to seek justice in the world without abandoning the vocation we all have to grow in holiness,” he said.
‘It’s just a Mass’
Snatchko told CNA June 6 that the liturgy is called a “Pride” Mass because “it’s happening during ‘Pride Month.’”
“It’s just a Mass that happens right before the Pride weekend in New York City, that’s all. It’s just a Mass. Nothing special happens,” he said.
Snatchko said that the church has held a “Pride Mass” at least four times in the past.