Last week I attended a conference on “Divine Renovation, Maintenance to Mission” with 650 fellow Catholics and priests from across the globe. “A building, no matter how grand and beautiful, is only as good as its foundation”, Fr. Mallon, the chief organizer of the conference stated. “The foundation of any human organization is the culture of that organization. The church is no exception.” I am grateful for the culture of brotherly love and sisterly affection at CTK and our great sense of hospitality. It was during the conference that I heard of the mass shooting in Orlando. Conspicuous among mourners are people of different faiths especially the clergy across the nation participating in vigils and prayers. Jack Jenkins in an article named “After Orlando, Faith Leaders Are Starting To Take Ownership Of Religious Homophobia,” stated that several are now speaking out against the role homophobia played in inspiring the gunman — and even examining the role religious communities play in marginalizing LGBT people.
On Monday, the Catholic Bishop of St. Petersburg, Florida, Robert Lynch posted an unusually frank blog post in response to the shooting. He expressed his shock at the massacre and acknowledged that a root cause was anti-LGBT sentiment embedded in many faith communities — including the Catholic Church. “Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,” he wrote. “Those women and men who were mowed down early yesterday morning were all made in the image and likeness of God. We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that … Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also.” I thought this was a bold statement. Similar expressions were heard from Archbishop Blasé Cupich who urged tolerance and Bishop Robert McElroy stated that the Church needed to do more to combat homophobia. “This tragedy is a call for us as Catholics to combat ever more vigorously the anti-gay prejudice which exists in our Catholic community and in our country.”
Catholic leaders were initially silent about the anti-LGBT prejudices undergirding the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and many have criticized their silence as shocking. A Jesuit, Brendan Patrick Busse, offered sharp words against church leaders who he said, “have an allergy to the word ‘gay’ in their statements of condolence.” He wrote on Facebook: “Something ‘intrinsically disordered’ revealed itself again in Orlando today and it was armed with bad religion and an assault rifle. I fear our government is complicit in one of those causes and our Church in the other. To speak around the particulars of this violence – its inspiration and its target – is to perpetuate it. “Defending the ‘dignity of all’ in public means very little if we can’t bring ourselves to defend the dignity of our LGBTQ – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer – family members in particular and in pride. “Praying for Orlando is prudent. . .Praying for Pulse is prophetic.”
I would like to express my gratitude to Fr. Vince and the young adults for leading a vigil last Friday at Christ the King. Participating in the beautifully orchestrated prayer service were people of all faiths, sexual orientation, law enforcement and the faithful of Christ the King. Our mission statement reads, “Hear the Gospel and Make a Difference.” Christ the King parish is an inclusive community of the people of God. We believe that we are all made in the image and likeness of our God. We teach that. We believe in the universality of God’s love. We teach that. We believe in the universality of God’s salvific plan. We teach that. We must stand for that!
8:00am, 5:00pm (vigil)
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:15am, 10:45am, 12:15pm, 6:00pm (youth mass)
8:00 am, 7:00 pm;
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 12 noon-7:00 p.m. (except summer)