Gay mass goes on at Boston parish

It made headlines last month when it was scheduled, then cancelled — but the controversial “Rainbow Mass” finally went on yesterday.

The Boston Globe was there:

The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia’s Church opened its doors to nearly 700 people yesterday for a long-awaited Mass in support of gay and lesbian Catholics, capping a month of controversy over the Boston Archdiocese’s postponement of the service.

A standing-room-only crowd, larger than Easter Sunday’s, packed the pews to hear the Rev. John J. Unni’s characteristically fiery message of love, acceptance, and the forgiveness of sins.

Unni’s message, which encouraged the congregation to welcome outcasts as Jesus did 2,000 years ago, was similar to that of weeks past. The difference yesterday, parishioners said, was Unni’s courage to say those words during a Mass that has drawn so much vitriol as well as passionate support.

“This is not about taking a stand; it’s about standing in the right place,’’ Unni said as members of the congregation, packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the non-air conditioned sanctuary, fanned themselves with programs. “Be with the outcasts. Be with those relegated to the margins.’’

His words marked the fifth week of back and forth between the church and the archdiocese, which began when St. Cecilia’s announced in its bulletin an “All Are Welcome’’ Mass, scheduled during Gay Pride Month in support of a sizable gay and lesbian portion of the congregation. Many of those members came from the South End’s predominantly gay Jesuit Urban Center, which closed in 2007.

The announcement brought a storm of criticism from conservative Catholics and bloggers. The archdiocese canceled the service days later, saying the church could not appear to endorse homosexuality.

The day of the canceled Mass, parishioners from St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry, which serves the church’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, held a sidewalk prayer service instead. But Rainbow Ministry members said that was no substitute for a clergy-led Mass inside the church. About three weeks ago, the archdiocese approved the Mass, which Unni said yesterday at 11 a.m.

Leading the processional, Rainbow Ministry president John Kelly walked into the nave in front of Unni, carrying a gold cross.

“I can’t believe this is happening,’’ Kelly later recalled thinking as he approached the altar. “I never thought I’d see this day.’’

After growing up gay in South Boston, Kelly, 69, left Catholicism for more than 20 years before finding compassion and a diverse congregation at the Jesuit Urban Center.

“I went through hell,’’ Kelly said. “But today, I’ve never felt so blessed.’’

Many in the congregation wore “All Are Welcome’’ buttons showing a cross and a rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement.

“Thank you for saying, ‘This is who we are,’ ’’ Unni said to gay and lesbian parishioners at the end of Mass. “You are a beautiful and integral part of this parish.’’

Read more.

I think everyone has taken this as far as it can go.  Comments are now closed.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

66 responses to “Gay mass goes on at Boston parish”

  1. It didn’t say whether the homily mentioned gay sex as sin. I take it then they didn’t. Jesus accpeted outcasts, that is true, but He told them to sin no more. This was just a go along to get along, feel good moment. It was a sell out. That Church should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. “The archdiocese canceled the service days later, saying the church could not appear to endorse homosexuality”

    Well it certainly sounds like it was endorsed or at least something to be accepted. I wonder if the group COURAGE was mentioned at all?

  3. Can you ever imagine these Catholics being so welcoming, nonjudgmental and accepting toward SSPX Catholics? NO! ThOSE people are real outcasts. It’s all politicss. In fact, if the clergy involved in this scandal did not preach that whoever engages in homosexual relations is in a state of mortal sin and liable to lose his immortal soul, then they were unfatihful to Jesus Christ and the Church. That’s religion, not politics.

  4. Empty spaces – what are we living for
    Abandoned places – I guess we know the score
    On and on, does anybody know what we are looking for…
    Another hero, another mindless crime
    Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
    Hold the line, does anybody want to take it anymore
    The show must go on….

    so sang Freddy Mercuy.

  5. Great. The fact that the archdiocese approved this means the bishop went liberal and FAILED us. Someone should be calling the papal nuncio to America and ordering excommunications for the diocesan bishop, the celebrating priest and the other clergy involved (I would go so far as to extend that to lay ministers also, save maybe the poor altar boys, if there were altar boys at that mass.)

  6. Since this was a gay mass per se, it was an endorsement of homesexuality per se….if I were this pastors bishop I would have threaten him with excommunication…but that’s me.
    This pastor and others like him will be held to account for the souls they refused to save, this is a false love to accept someones sins…if you really love someone you would try to save their soul, lead them back to salvation at any costs, also just curious…whats the objective of the churches so called Rainbow Ministry? I’m for welcoming all to the church but for salvation, redemption, turning away from sin.
    We see prominent so called Catholics in politics, in the news, in the pews mocking the church; defying it’s teaching, yet not one excommunication, as long as this continues we can expect more stories like this.

  7. It is not being liberal, it is answering the call of Jesus. Our Lord was critisized in His day for associating and dining with sinners and outcast. Don’t forget many converted and listened to the word. If we continue to keep our doors closed to any segment of the population, we will never be able to to bring them the true message.
    Sex between any two unmarried persons is a sin, but yet we are silent on the large part concerning cohabiting couples of the opposite sex. Is their sin no less grave?
    The church must find ways to minister to all God’s children, accepting them, but not their sin at the table is just one way.

  8. “Many in the congregation wore ‘All Are Welcome’’ buttons showing a cross and a rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights.”

    That juxtaposition of symbols squares with the juxtaposition of “Rainbow” and “Mass”. It is the symbol of the gay rights movement in the billing of the Mass as a “Rainbow Mass” that betrays the intent and denigrates the Mass.

    Under the Rainbow Banner:

    Sodomy Laws were struck down.

    Gays were allowed to adopt children.

    Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close for not permitting gay adoption.

    Marriage has been redefined.


    So now the Mass is linked with that banner, the Cross of Christ juxtaposed not only on a button, but literally the sacrifice on Calvary presented at the Mass. Jesus didn’t die for the redefinition of marriage or gay adoption, and using His sacrifice to confirm that banner and the lifestyle it represents is nothing less than wicked.

    If Father Unni were serious about nondiscrimination in the Church toward homosexual persons, and serious about teaching that, then he could have given a series of homilies on the following document written by Cardinal Ratzinger:



  9. so let me get this straight: they took communion? so how does that ex operare operato concept work here? I can’t believe I have to wait for my husband’s annulment and never mind that, I would not DARE to ask for the host and meanwhile this goes on?

    According to Trent, therefore, the term opus operatum signifies that the correct use of the sign instituted by Christ produces the grace irrespectively of the merits of either minister or recipient (ex opere operantis), though the intention of conferring the sacrament is required in the minister and the intention of receiving in the recipient, if he be an adult, for a valid and worthy reception of the sacrament.

  10. DcnFab says:
    “The church must find ways to minister to all God’s children, accepting them, but not their sin at the table is just one way.”

    Fair enough, but read elcid in #4:
    “Since this was a gay mass per se, it was an endorsement of homesexuality per se…”

    (1) Having a gay mass without mentioning gay sex is a sin is not in any way attempting to convert.
    (2) A mass is not the same as “associating” or “dining” with sinners. I have no problem if a priest dined or held gays as friends. Participating in an actual mass for homosexuals is in fact endorsing the behavior from a Catholic Church perspective.

  11. (Comment Continued)

    However, Unni wasn’t really interested in educating the laity. With marriage ad the Church under assault by the Rainbow folks, people in the Church are right to be angry and wary, and Ratzinger’s document parses what is acceptable and what is not.

    Did Unni call upon those in attendance yesterday to stand up as faithful gays and lesbians and denounce gay marriage? Did he call upon them to lead chaste lives? Did he volunteer to open a chapter of Courage?

    Jesus was right, “By their fruits shall you know them”.

    This is only the beginning.

  12. Please don’t cooperate in the lies of the homosexual agenda by adopting the false words that are used to gloss over sinful practices such as sodomy: See, you can read it. Sodomy. That’s what it is, call it by name. And same-sex attraction is not “gay”. It is homosexual. Say it. That’s the word.

    When you adopt your opponents language and use his illegitimate euphemisms, you are debating on his turf, and you have already lost the debate and the battle. The very fist time a Catholic, even an archbishop, used the word “gay”, the battle for truth was lost. And all out of a misguided compassion. He was guilty of collusion in promoting that agenda because he refused to call a sin by its correct (and scientific) name.

    From the comment section on a Catholic website:

    Msgr William Smith (Dunwoodie, deceased) used to insist that “Social engineering begins with verbal engineering.” In a televised debate years ago, the catholic (sic) nun he was debating said: “But Father, we are saying the same thing. We are just using different words”. He replied: “Then use my words, as we are NOT saying the same thing.””

  13. elcid #8 and Gerald Nadal #10

    This was not “a gay Mass per se” and it was not billed as a “Rainbow Mass.”

    The archdiocese insisted that it be rescheduled away from “Pride Week” to avoid appearing to endorse gay pride.

    Here is what appeared in the parish’s bulletin. “ALL ARE WELCOME!


    Please join the entire Saint Cecilia Parish community for next Sunday’s eleven o’clock liturgy where we will reaffirm that Saint Cecilia is a place of welcome for all, including the LGBT community. This liturgy is in keeping with the parish’s Year of Celebration and Rededication and underscores the welcome we extend to all people.

    In order to mark the occasion, Mass will be followed by a reception and a bountiful table. We are asking for your help to make the reception festive, so if you are able to bring a contribution for the feast, please contact Melon Regis-Civetta at XXX.”
    (BTW, I copied this from a blog which has opposed the Mass.)

    There may be grounds for complaint about some goings on at St. Cecilia’s, but let’s not make things appear to be even worse than they are, and then get all upset about our inaccurate impression.

  14. DcnFab”Our Lord was critisized in His day for associating and dining with sinners and outcast.”

    No one said don’t associate with them. What we said is don’t endorse or appear to endorse their actions.

    No one here would have had a problem with a Courage Mass, with the message that the people are valuable, but have a heavy cross to bear, and offering help to bear that particular cross while at the same time requesting help from these people for bearing our own different crosses.

    But a Mass saying not just that you are useful and welcome, nor that your temptations aren’t bad unless you yield to them, but actually celebrating the lifestyle of yielding to temptation – no. Not cool.

    DcnFab”Sex between any two unmarried persons is a sin, but yet we are silent on the large part concerning cohabiting couples of the opposite sex. Is their sin no less grave?”

    Their sin is grave. It may be less grave depending on the intent (people planning to move towards marriage), but it is certainly grave regardless, and silence on this part is also grave. But a grave failure on one’s part to fail to teach the truth about this certainly does not excuse another grave failure to teach the truth about acting on homosexual impulses.

  15. Joan et al…

    Before we get too far down the road here, some things to bear in mind.

    1. We don’t know the full content of Fr. Unni’s homily.
    2. We don’t know the state of the souls of those who attended.
    3. We don’t know who did or did not receive communion, or why.
    4. We don’t know how many of those in attendance are successfully living chaste lives (just as we don’t know that for any other mass on any given Sunday, anywhere in the world).
    5. The Church’s teaching on chastity applies to people who are heterosexual, as well as those who are homosexual.
    6. Some of us here on this blog may be in a worse state of sin than some of those who were in the pews at St. Cecilia’s.
    7. Being a homosexual and attending a widely publicized “Rainbow Mass” doesn’t place one in a state of mortal sin.
    8. If this mass was validly celebrated — and we have no reason to believe it wasn’t — this liturgy offered the graces available at every mass, including the sanctifying presence of Christ in the Eucharist, in the Word, and in the Assembly.

    Finally, as with the Corapi story, all involved in this situation merit our prayers, along with our hopes that they will hear God’s call to obedience and live in full communion with His Church.

    Dcn. G.

  16. What grief this causes me and what pain it is to see something like that happen. Is mortal sin even talked about any more over there in this archdiocese? The reason stuff like this happens is because people in this country are embarrassed to be Catholic, not to mention that our society today is confused about sin! Fact: people are dancing their merry way to hell! Church Fathers even say that more people end up in Hell than in Heaven. There’s no denying it. But it seems that many in our hierarchy are scared to teach this. And the fact that many in our hieararchy has done so precious little to educate flock about things like this, abortion, contraception and so on. When is the clergy ever going to wake up? Prediction: the Church will handed over to be judged by the pagan nations. Mark my words: what happened to ancient Israel in the Old Testament will happen to us!

  17. Uhm…

    on one hand it is important to welcome everybody into the Church, at the same time it is important to remind people that ‘being a Christian’ requires commitment, a change of life and lifestyle, from sin to Grace.

    To ‘love Jesus’ it’s not something you do with words, but with FACTS.

    If an homosexual lives according to the Gospel, then he can be a saint, if not, he’ll have to deal with that at judgement’s time.

    Our duty is to teach and live with charity.

  18. For my money, DcnFab (#9) comes closest to the note that Jesus would strike. Jesus welcomed sinners. He invited them to hang out with him and he actually invited himself into their homes and ate their food.

    And by sinners, I mean everyone: we are all sinners, each and every one of us. People who are gay have no monopoly on sin.

    When my priest (in Illinois) makes the people in our congregation feel welcome at Mass, I don’t have any illusion that he’s endorsing our sins. But neither do I imagine he sees the Mass as the vehicle for shaming the people who are attending. Rather, at the Mass the priest takes on the job of calling each of us into a closer, more intimate relationship with God. We all need that–not just Bob Z, who is cheating on his wife, nor Mary Y, who cheated on her taxes, nor me, who has my own bastion of sinfulness with which to struggle. The idea that people who are gay are uniquely worthy of being called out and targeted from the pulpit (“Gay sex is wrong! You all are sinners! I can’t believe you would engage in sex with another person of the same sex!”) is ludicrous.

  19. [continued…] If you disagree, however, and think that one of the central purposes of the Mass is to shame people committing various sins into wanting to slink out of church and never come back, go ahead and approach your priest and ask him to work the following lines into next Sunday’s homily: “People who engage in premarital sex are awful! People who would deny healthcare to poor people because they love tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are breaking Jesus’ heart, for he calls us to care for the poor! People who tell sexist or racist jokes are engaging in the sin of hate!” Would that fire and brimstone approach result in growth in one’s relationship with God and ongoing conversion? Or would it just leave EVERYONE feeling like they are completely unworthy of a relationship with God?

    All are welcome — all are God’s children. There should be nothing controversial about that message in any Catholic church. Saying such a thing is not an endorsement of anyone’s sins, neither yours nor mine nor your neighbor’s.

  20. “The idea that people who are gay are uniquely worthy of being called out and targeted from the pulpit (“Gay sex is wrong! You all are sinners! I can’t believe you would engage in sex with another person of the same sex!”) is ludicrous.”

    Perhaps it’s your statement is ludicrous. Jesus may have hung out with sinners, but you forget that they repented. That’s the main point the of the gospel that you don’t understand.

  21. I just don’t see the need for this kind of thing. Are there any pastors out there who were really slamming doors in the face of people with this inclination? How would any of them really have known anyway.

    I’ve never been to a church where people with that inclination are told to stay away. To me, it is another misguided, indirect attempt to legitimize what isn’t legitimate and maybe obtain special recognition. I agree with Deacon Greg’s points, and God probably isn’t a “respecter of sins,” but you don’t see any masses being held for other groups inclined to any particular sinful behavior.

  22. Deacon, with due respect to points 4, 5, and 6 in your comment, if there were to be an “all are welcome” mass for heterosexual adulterers or polygamists I think there would be virtually universal criticism. Why would homosexuality merit a double standard of acceptance?

  23. ‘The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticized as much as possible, as long as truth is not denied. It is a work of charity to shout: “Here is the wolf!” when it enters the flock or anywhere else.’

    St. Francis de Sales

  24. Deacon Greg,

    I agree with all that you have said. However, I believe that the Boston Globe would have skewered Unni had he called on gays to lead chaste lives, join Courage, announced that he was opening a chapter of Courage, and asked them to stand with the Church on marriage. You’re right that we don’t know what was said, but the Globe’s silence in these areas, coupled with the rosy story gives me a pretty good idea.

    With so many Catholics supporting gay marriage, this Mass was at best imprudent. Yes, the graces were there, just as they are at any other validly celebrated mass. This is all part of the agenda, the gradual advancement and lifestyle affirmation.

    As I said, Ratzinger’s document spells out our obligations in charity to homosexual persons, without special masses and other avenues of lifestyle affirmation.

  25. There is no forgiveness without a firm purpose of amendment to avoid the near occasion of sin. The devils have these praciticing homosexuals by their private parts, and since they have none of their own the devils are not letting go. Still the devil, having no soul and no reproductive organs(no body) cannot reproduce and neither can practicing homosexuals. Love that needs only to bring joy to the beloved and share this joy does not bring the beloved to the brimestone and fires of hell. Love that is pure is called friendship and this friendship is a gift from God.

  26. One aspect of Christianity that is largely out of fashion today is the concept of The Elect. Those who are taken out of the world, a world that is in rebellion against God, and are elected to form part of His Kingdom.

    Before entering the Church (or being admitted to the Church) one must be baptized. If as an infant our parents must commit that the baptized child will follow the doctrines and requisites of the Church as the institution that Christ left behind on Earth for the administering of His Sacraments. For those baptized as adults, they must commit themselves to the same and they go through a process where first they are candidates. This process includes the gradual admitting to the different “mysteries” and one symbolic part is when they are dismissed from mass because they can not participate in the Mass of the faithful until the process is completed (RCIA). For those baptized infants, they have to go trough first communion and confirmation.

    Being part of the Church and being admitted into the Church is not a “right” but a privilege given to those who through the different initiations. Is not automatic.

    While all are welcome to participate in the inquiry phase if they want to be Christians, and all are of course, subject to the grace of God through Christ by the repentance of their sins and the cleansing of baptism, not all are welcomed participate in the Eucharist. While observers are allowed to be at mass, only those who are in state of sacramental grace can partake of the Eucharist. Others who do that do it at their own risk.

    The Church is not an open institution for all, but for the elect who choose to participate in the sacraments and who do so by attempting to lead a life in conformity to the will of God through Christ in the mists of the Holy Catholic Church and by obeying the Church doctrine and faith (in our confirmation and in the RCIA we are asked to believe as the Church believes)

    To pretend that all are welcomed is a misunderstanding. Yes, all repentant sinners are welcome if they are willing to go through the processes that the Church has practiced from its beginning. But it is wrong to think that anyone at any stage is admitted into the elect (by baptism, repentance, faith in Christ and the doctrines of His Church).

  27. naturgesetz #14:

    According to the Boston globe it was a mass for gay pride, one thing liberals are not afraid to reveal is their real intentions, they may have tried to disguise it somewhat by calling it a “All Are Welcome” mass, but I think anyone with any sense knows what the true motive was.
    Again I would like to know what the purpose is of the Rainbow Ministry, is it to promote the gay agenda within this church or is it to redeem homosexuals from their sins.

    Steve #20-21

    You make the same statement other people make who want to justify their sins, Jesus hung out with sinners, yes we know that…but there was something he asked in return…and for the record Jesus was pretty tough on the pharisees:

    Matthew 23:15
    Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves.

    No one is talking about singling out anyone in the pews or condeming them, just to define the 2000yr old moral teachings of the church and the bible, but the fact is this mass was scheduled around gay pride month, gays don’t need a special mass to attend they can go to daily mass, so again we know what this was really all about.

  28. “All are welcome — all are God’s children. There should be nothing controversial about that message in any Catholic church. Saying such a thing is not an endorsement of anyone’s sins, neither yours nor mine nor your neighbor’s.”

    Yes, Steve. But the word “Catholic” implies all that, as it means “Universal”. There is nothing controversial in “All are welcome” until we single out a particularly pernicious lifestyle and affirm it. Should we have Masses for adulterers, pedophiles, polygamists, porn-addicts, prostitutes, compulsive gamblers, wife beaters, etc…?

    The issue here is affirmation and validation. If all of the gays and lesbians in attendance were having a special fellowship mass for their chapter of Courage, I would have traveled to stand with them in affirmation of them. Folks in Courage don’t wear the rainbow, as they are working at living chaste lives in comportment with all that Rome teaches.

    If AA had a special mass for its members, bravo. The same for any other group of Catholics coming together in mutual support of avoiding a sinful and destructive lifestyle.

    That wasn’t the case on Boston yesterday, and thinking, compassionate, faithful Catholics know it.

  29. Deacon Greg,
    With all due respect, Judie Brown of the ALL disagrees with you!

    She said in part and I qoute:

    “Even with the deliberate parsing of words, it is clear to the faithful and the public that this Mass is intended as an affirmation of homosexual activity. St. Cecelia’s own church bulletin confirmed this as true: “a Mass in celebration of Boston’s Pride Month.”

  30. I think it’s great! Now we can have Masses for chronic masturbators and heterosexual couples living out of wedlock. How about for drug addicts and pornographers? Hmm what else….

    All kidding aside “catholic” means universal but not universal behavior. Catholic Church is TOUGH and DEMANDING! I like it like that. It is forming me by my adherence to its statutes.

    Can you imagine lobbying for pre-marital sex to be accepted by the Church? To have Masses for it?!

    The US is clearly flying off the rails is spectacular fashion!

  31. The posters here universally condemn the pastor for not condemning the gay sin yet they have never heard their own pastor condemning those present = 85% of hetero married practicing contraception.. aha double standard reigns in the suburbs.
    How about signs in the white suburbs “If you don’t have six+ children don’t go to communion.’

  32. Right but Friscoeddie, there are no masses for Contraceptors, no Contraception Pride Month.

  33. @Frisco:

    Your first point may be valid, even though I suspect you do not really object to artificial contraception. But these people in the pews do not go out wearing contraception “rainbow” sashes and flags and do not have a lobby that wants to validate their “life style”. Gays and Lesbians can participate at mass anytime they like. What is objected is the vociferous validation of their lifestyle and affirmation they seek for that.

    On your second point, well, not very intelligent is it?

  34. “The posters here universally condemn the pastor for not condemning the gay sin yet they have never heard their own pastor condemning those present = 85% of hetero married practicing contraception”

    But then when was the last time you heard of a Mass celebrated for couples who openly pratice contraception?

    Let’s be honest, anything these days that uses the “Rainbow” designation is clearly intended to push acceptance of a certain life style. It isn’t used without an agenda. The use of it for this mass was deliberate–not to simply welcome but to approve.

    I also don’t think that anyone needs to be reminded that they are welcome to come to mass. As far as sin, I think we all pause at the beginning of Mass to call to mind our sins.

  35. If all are welcome, why don’t we have a Mass for divorced parishioners or a Mass for alcoholic parishioners or a Mass for polyamorous parishioners or a Mass for physically abusive parishioners…

    All ARE welcome. Having a Mass the specifically targets one group conveys the message that “this particular group is welcome.” It turns the Mass into a political and social statement.

  36. @Joesph:

    I agree with you. Unfortunately we already had somewhere in the world a mass for the groups you just mentioned (OK not exactly with those names).

    We’ve had clown masses, children masses, youth masses, “folk” masses, “hippie” masses, western masses, beach party masses, Halloween masses, dance masses, singles masses, mariachi masses, rock masses.

    None so politically loaded as the “Rainbow”. I wonder if we are going to have a pro-choice mass soon.

  37. @ Steve: “The idea that people who are gay are uniquely worthy of being called out and targeted from the pulpit . . . is ludicrous.”

    Actually, it’s part of Catholic catechesis that sodomy is among the specially loathsome sins that “cry to Heaven for vengeance.” See CCC # 1867.

    So, far from ludicrous, it is in fact the Church’s millennial tradition to specially “call out” the sin of sodomy.

  38. Gerald Nadal; Many engaged Catholic couples no longer seek church weddings as the deacon will attest to. down about 50% in the last decade. about 75 % of couples asking for a sacramental wedding are already sexually active as the deacon will attest to. POPE John Paul II asked those of us in marriage ministry to “take the people where they are and move them along to Christ’ .. that’s what Jesus asked of us too. rounding up the gays at Mass is what I call ‘moving them toward Christ’… believe it or not that’s what the gays want too =movement toward Christ. If you think they get up on Sunday just to make a political statement you are naive or prejudiced or both.

    Joesph.. we do have Masses for divorced. alcoholics etc..retreats too..Church meeting rooms for them too.. get real

  39. Friscoeddie,

    So I take it that you have no interest in discussing the Church’s well-established protocol for the pastoral care of homosexual persons. I guess that’s because you know it cautions bishops against anything that might be construed as affirmation.

    You list a host of heterosexual’s sins in a disingenuous attempt at invidious distinction. Not here. Not with this readership. It doesn’t fly.

    Taking gays and lesbians where they are and moving them along toward Christ means leaving the rainbow buttons at the Church door and entering into Courage Ministry. Anything less is affirmation and validation of what that rainbow stands for, and against.

  40. The question we should ask ourselves is what we want. Do we want to hear of priests telling one particular group of sinners that they are in danger of hell? Do we want those sinners to be converted? If the latter, how will it be accomplished? Do we seriously think that if the priest stands up in the pulpit and denounces sodomy, people will be converted. If so, do we think that if a priest stands up in the pulpit and denounces artificial contraception, in vitro fertilization, or cohabitation people will be converted? Are not the latter sins far more frequent? Should we not be focusing on them if our real intent is the conversion of sinners? Isn’t the fixation on homosexuality because it’s not so close to home but makes us personally more squeamish than the other, more common sins I’ve mentioned against chastity and the sacredness of life.

    My take on it is that if we have not thoroughly catechized our young people in the Theology of the Body by the time they finish religious ed or Catholic high school, they have probably absorbed the attitudes of contemporary culture. Showing them the truth of the Church’s teachings requires patience and the soft sell. They all know what the Church teaches, and telling them again from the pulpit won’t add anything to that. What they need is to come to understand why the teaching is true. Within the Church, they live in a tension between their beliefs (and often actions) and what they already know the Church says. The Holy Spirit can use that tension, in ways adapted to each individual, to bring them along, in God’s good time, to conversion. Woe betide anyone whose harsh or ill-adapted words send someone away from the Church, away from that environment of tension, to a place where they have nothing but reassurance that nothing is wrong.

    There is room for pastoral judgment about how best to draw people to conversion, and there is room for people to disagree about how good the judgment of various individuals is. But those of us who are not the pastors involved need to respect the pastors who make these decisions unless or until we see them explicitly condoning sin.

  41. As for welcoming GLBT specifically:

    First, it is important to recognize that in logic, it does not imply acceptance of unchaste behavior.

    Second, not all LGBT are sinners, whereas all adulterers, artificial contraceptors, premarital cohabitators, and members of the other classes are sinners. So to compare a Mass for GLBT with a Mass for adulterers is a false analogy.

    Third, many GLBT, including many who were raised Catholic, have the idea that the Church rejects or hates them and says God rejects or hates them. It is a false idea which those who oppose the Church’s teaching are only to happy too promote and publish and exploit. Therefore it is important for the Church to continue to make it clear to all GLBT that the Church does not reject or hate them, nor do we believe that God does so. We must do so as long as the false idea persists. Much more than people subject to other temptations, they need to be reassured that they are welcome, and that our moral teaching is not rejection of them as individuals or as a category.

  42. Acceptance rather than exclusion. Good for the Rev. Unni. I’m glad he was able to pull this off. He knows from experience what it is like to be told he is/was sinful due to his gender attraction. As for the physcial act that some find “sinful” between same gender folks—-that particular act is practiced at times in some loving opposite gender couples. Guess they are in a state of mortal sin too. That is something to be worked out individually. Since none of us are perfect, life goes on and we do the best we can with what we have—trying to, in my case anyhow and most of the folks I know, to not harm others.

  43. Elcid, you wrote: “…and for the record Jesus was pretty tough on the pharisees…”

    I completely agree. Jesus had a big problem with the Phariesees. He called them on their attempt to aggrandize themselves and put themselves in places of high honor with God. The question that keeps coming to mind, though, is who are the people who are the modern-day Pharisees? Who are the ones that claim they are more righteous than their neighbors, more entitled to the title of Faithful Christian, less burdened with sinfulness?

    Unless one happens to know every sin as well as every act of charity performed by every member of the congregation, I would be really careful about assuming that one is safely aligned with the humble tax collector and not the self-righteous Pharisee. Speaking only for myself, I do not want to be guilty of thumping my chest and saying, “It’s so good that I am not like them, Lord.”

    I am a sinner and I know it. I wonder if all those who look down on gays and lesbians are fully aware of their own sinfulness–or if they have accidentally slipped into the role of the Pharisee. (Can any of us afford to not be vigilant about that?)

  44. As a sinner whom Christ and his church welcomed, there is a world of difference between “love, acceptance, and the forgiveness of sins” in spite of those sins, and confirming souls in their sins.

    “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others”
    “Go now and sin no more”

  45. “Not to harm others”. There is many ways to harm others, beyond physical harm. Yes sodomy is a mortal sin even between married couples.

    Again the point is not the person who thinks he is gay or she is lesbian (and transgender, and cross dressing and whatever other denomination there is). These people are welcome to mass, are welcome to the Church, are welcome to live a life of chastity. I assure you that if you are gay or lesbian and come to mass and seat in a pew, people will not even give you a second look, because they will probably not even know it.

  46. The issue is that the gay/lesbian person wants to mold the Church to their own behavior and not the other way around. Yes we are all sinners (if you believe in sin), but we are supposed to be sinners looking to live lives of conformity with the holiness called forth by Christ. In the end the sin of homosexuality beyond its sterile sexuality is pride. It is the belief that I can do what I want because I like it.

  47. Read Naturgesetze again folks and get ye an orthodox stance for evangelizing. With rapidly declining Catholic church attendance we need more people then ever with the PROPER stance for evangelization in this secular culture. Let go of 1940s, 50s triumphalism.. it’s is a dead dodo. The wild eyed need not apply for the evangelical jobs. . Say hello to Patrick , Boniface, Francis.

  48. Strange how everyone seems to assume that anyone who is gay is guilty of “sexual perversions.” In doing so, according to statistics, you are also condemning a large percentage of priests as well as lay people.

    Someone mentioned that the many gay people believe that the Church hates them, they certainly are not going to hear anything different from most of these comments.

    Most do not seem to be willing to admit that either they hate gays or are afraid of them, why don’t you just come out and tell them to go away, not to contaminate the good Christians that belong in Church. It seems to me that you are seeing them not as people, not as loved by God, but as just being something, maybe not quite human.

    How you see this mass tells something about who you are. I see it as saying “come to Christ, receive grace, repent.”

    Mike L

  49. “Thank you for saying, ‘This is who we are,’ ’’ [Rev] Unni said to gay and lesbian parishioners at the end of Mass.

    A priest thanking people for being in sin??!! I think that really sticks in my throat. If there was any doubt that this was a mass glorifying homosexual lifestyle, then you can drop it; it was. That priest should not only be ashamed of himself, he is going against the teachings of the Church and in error.

  50. @Mike L – Where’s the message of repentence? I just quoted the priest for thinking them for being in sin. No repentence was mentioned.

  51. The result of such abominations is that people like Kelly, below, already an old man, will die in his very serious sins because the devil’s useful idiot, Fr. John J. Unni, has paved a saccharine path to the Catholic Church without the need of conversion. Unni is a devil and must be removed from the Church.

    “After growing up gay in South Boston, Kelly, 69, left Catholicism for more than 20 years before finding compassion and a diverse congregation at the Jesuit Urban Center.”

  52. “Most do not seem to be willing to admit that either they hate gays or are afraid of them”

    How does condemning homosexual behavior (not the person) translate into hatred or fear? It is simply stating what we have always believed. Of course they are welcome to any mass but does it have to be under the Rainbow banner? Can’t they attend just like the rest of us sinners?

    The old hatred trick is the same one used now by anyone who would dare speak out against same sex marriage. We are mean old bigots. Just like criticizing the White House resident is racism. Baloney.

  53. naturgesetz,

    Nice try. But you are just word-playing.

    A chaste GBLT is like a chaste fornicator. For all practical purposes, a saintly chaste GBLT is not a GBLT at all.

    And I do suspect that saintly chaste GBLTs do not use rainbow bottoms and do not take part in Gay Masses.

  54. Allan, are you certain you have not committed serious sin by writing, “Unni is a devil…”?

    Regarding a human being as something other than human–and regarding him as demonic in nature–strikes me as very treacherous ground. I truly hope you wrote in haste and that you do not regard labeling a priest (or any person) as a “devil” is Christian behavior.

  55. Dinosaur,

    I went through a spate of having comments rejected for being “spammy.”

    Eventually I learned that the filter is set to reject comments that mention s-e-x more than once or twice. This includes the word “homosexual.”

    I get around it by replacing the letter “e” with an asterisk, but I suppose a dash or and underscore or an exclamation point would also work.

    Try again. Anybody who quotes Plato can’t be all processed luncheon meat!

  56. Manny,

    I see no justification for twisting “Thank you for saying, ‘This is who we are,’ ’’ into “A priest thanking people for being in sin.”

    As I pointed out in an earlier comment, not all people with same-sex attractions commit sins against chastity. Our bishops say
    “To Church Ministers:
    Be available to parents and families who ask for your pastoral help, spiritual guidance, and prayer.

    Welcome homosexual persons into the faith community, and seek out those on the margins. Avoid stereotyping and condemning. Strive first to listen. Do not presume that all homosexual persons are sexually active.
    — Always Our Children (emphasis added)

    Even if you’re not a Church minister, I think you’d do well to heed the second paragraph.

  57. One must remember that we are all created in the image and likeness of our God. So all are welcome should be welcome. When I receive the Eucharist, no one asked me if I have seriously sinned nor should we assume that gays and lesbians have and should not receive the Eucharist.

    God loves all of his creation, divorced men and women, liars, cheaters, gamblers, alcoholics, married couples, priests, religious, even murderers. Never did Jesus ask his disciples if they were gay… So how can we as God’s people be so quick to judge, so quick to condemn.

    I ask God to forgive me for my faults and my failings and I suggest that all of you do the same. May God bless you.