The Mass took place despite calls for Gregory to cancel it, which gained considerable traction online.
A Catholic convert who struggles with same-sex attraction named Anna Katherine Howell, 31, led the call to stop the event.
According to Howell, “’Pride’ events sponsored and/or attended by Catholics are contrary to Catholic teaching, give scandal, and actually do harm to faithful, chaste Catholics with same-sex attraction who do not wish to celebrate or be identified by their worst impulses or past sins.”
Far from being loving, Howell told CNA that Pride Masses, which have been scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh, D.C., New York City, and Chicago this June, present a grave threat to both the Church and those who struggle with same-sex attraction.
What same-sex attracted individuals need from the Church, Howell said, is “charity and clarity.”
“To affirm, turn a blind eye to, and certainly to celebrate evil is evil. We cannot be unclear or mushy about the fact that homosexual acts are inherently gravely sinful,” Howell said.
“We have to be very clear that we love all human beings, that all human beings are called to Christ, to his Church,” Howell stated. “But from that love, we must then be exceptionally clear about God’s call to same-sex attracted people, which is just like his call to everyone, which is chastity, which is holiness, which is a life as a Catholic where we’re devoted to God, ordered toward flourishing, and ultimately ordered toward a full experience of God in the beatific vision.”
Though Howell said she estimated hundreds of others joined her call for Gregory to cancel the Mass, she said she never received a response.
Neither Gregory nor the Archdiocese of Washington has issued any statement regarding the pride Mass.
The archdiocese has not replied to CNA’s request for comment.
A similar event advertised as a “Pride Mass” at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University on June 11 was canceled after the diocese’s bishop, David Zubik, disavowed the event in a letter sent to priests, deacons, and seminarians.
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“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 wrote, concluding that “given all that has transpired surrounding this event, I am asking that this gathering be canceled.”
Kevin Hayes, president of Catholics for Change in Our Church, one of the groups organizing the Pittsburgh event, decried the bishop’s letter, telling CNA his group “was sad, hurt, disappointed, and upset the Mass was canceled by Bishop Zubik.”
“While we understand there may have been some threats, we think it would have been more powerful to stand up in love and support having the Mass,” Hayes said.