In recent years there had been a prayer service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis prior to the Twin Cities Pride Celebration. But not this year. The prayer service, scheduled for June 25, was instead a “peace” service; there was no mention of rights for the LGBT community. Minneapolis and St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt made a policy change before the event took place.

The annual prayer service at St. Joan of Arc was never held to honor gays as equal members of the Catholic community, rather it was held to celebrate the LGBT lifestyle. That’s not a small difference. The Catholic Church welcomes people of all sexual orientations, but it is not obligated to celebrate sodomy any more than it is obligated to celebrate fornication.

The attacks launched on Archbishop Nienstedt were vicious. One local gay Catholic leader, David McCaffrey, said that Nienstedt was guilty of “yet another volley of dehumanizing spiritual violence directed at LGBT persons and their families under [his] reign of homophobic hatred.” This was a remarkable comment given that Nienstedt didn’t take over as archbishop until May.

Even before Nienstedt took command of the archdiocese, radical gay Catholics were gunning for him. Just over a week before he assumed his new duties, Nienstedt was blasted by Catholic Rainbow Parents for giving “license to hatred and violence against all of us.” Lucky for people like them that American libel laws are not as loose as they are in England, otherwise they could have been prosecuted.

It would be refreshing if gay pride celebrations weren’t so different from other heritage celebrations. Sadly, they are. In New York City, the organizers of the Heritage of Pride parade had to instruct participating groups that “New York State has a law against public nudity below the waist and the police enforce it.” Why gays are the only group that has to be told to keep their pants on while marching is revealing.

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