For the past several years, there has been a prayer service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis prior to the annual Twin Cities Pride Celebration. But not this year. The prayer service, scheduled for tonight, will instead be a “peace” service; there will be no mention of rights for the LGBT community. St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt recently made the policy change.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue supports Archbishop Nienstedt:

“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 anymore than it is obligated to celebrate fornication.

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

“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, he 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 so refreshing if gay pride celebrations weren’t so different from other heritage celebrations. Sadly, they are. In New York City, the organizers of this weekend’s Heritage of Pride parade have instructed 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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