Mass to be held ‘in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics’ at Duquesne canceled at request of Bishop Zubik

PITTSBURGH — Catholics for Change in our Church (CCOC) is a Pittsburgh-based group that its president said scheduled a mass in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics for this weekend on Duquesne University’s campus.

It is now canceled at the request of Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik.

“It was absolutely going to be a typical Catholic mass. However, we did want LGBTQ Catholics to be a part of that mass,” said Kevin Hayes, CCOC president.

Hayes said this group, whose members identify as practicing, lifelong Catholics who want the church to be more inclusive, has been holding social justice masses at Duquesne’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit, partnering with other organizations in the Pittsburgh area to make them happen.

“Unfortunately, a person in one of those organizations created their own flyer and used the phrase ‘Pride Mass’ on the flyer. We had never used that phrase. It was always a mass in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics. That’s when things went sideways or off the rails,” Hayes said.

Both the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese and Duquesne University declined Channel 11′s request for an interview but sent us the following statement from Zubik.

“Thank you for your communication regarding the recently publicized Mass at the Duquesne University Chapel on June 11, 2023.

It should be noted 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 over the holiday weekend.

It was important for me to learn how this event was planned.

What we have learned is that independent sponsors, without the authorization of the pastors of the parishes listed, promoted the event with a flyer that confused some and enraged others. This event was billed as a “Pride Mass” organized to coincide with Pride Month, an annual secular observance that supports members of the LGBTQ community on every level, including lifestyle and behavior, which the Church cannot endorse.

Many of the responses to the flyer jumped to the conclusion that I gave approval to this event. I did not. Many of the responses also used condemning and threatening, and some might say hateful, language not in keeping with Christian charity, especially of the Lord’s command “to love one another as I have loved you.

The Church has invested much energy in welcoming people who are dealing with sensitive issues in their lives. As 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.

As Pope Francis has reminded us, the Church, and this diocese, have strongly encouraged welcoming, listening and accompanying those in LGBTQ communities with various ministries such as Courage and EnCourage. We need to and want to do more in our pastoral care. We welcome, listen and accompany but cannot endorse behavior contrary to what we know to be God’s law. At the same time, we must be willing to love and welcome each other as children of God.

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.

Given all that has transpired surrounding this event, I am asking that this gathering be canceled. It is my prayer we all, inclusive of the LGBTQ community, 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.

Might I also suggest that you review once again my pastoral letter The Church Welcoming.

May the Body of Christ enable us to embody Christ.”

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW

Comments on this article