This Catholic priest’s take on sex and sexuality is so refreshing it might just take your mind off COVID-19
A Catholic priest in Detroit is defying his archdiocese by allowing LGBT+ people to join him in mass after the coronavirus pandemic has ended.
The Detroit Archdiocese has temporarily suspended public mass due to coronavirus fears, but church officials have mandated that Dignity/Detroit, a support group for LGBT+ Catholics, will no longer be allowed to participate even after the health crisis fades.
This didn’t sit right with Father Victor Clore, pastor of Christ the King Church, who has written an open letter to priests and deacons in the area declaring that he will continue to offer mass for the group when the opportunity arises.
The letter, which has been seen by the National Catholic Reporter, called upon church leaders to do likewise and extend their welcome to all.
“It naturally occurs, in all cultures, that a small but significant number of human persons have same-sex attraction. It is not a disease or a freak of nature. Same-sex love is their natural way for intimate sexual embrace,” Clore wrote.
“Some love involves genital sexual expression; other loving experiences do not – friendship, professional care such as nursing, teaching, ministry, etc. Nevertheless, we are sexual persons; our sexuality is a part of our identity, and sexual overtones are a dynamic in every relationship.”
Dignity/Detroit is a long-established group and has gathered for mass at at the campus chapel of Marygrove College for more than two decades. Before this members congregated at a local parish church.
This changed on March 9 when an auxiliary bishop, Gerard Battersby, issued a mandate stating that henceforth the group’s 66 members would be forbidden from taking mass anywhere in Detroit.
“A Mass for Dignity/Detroit members – one which rejects Church teaching on human sexuality – is not possible in any parish church, chapel or diocesan facility and is indeed forbidden everywhere in the archdiocese of Detroit,” he said.
Clore, a priest for 54 years, compared the church’s exclusion of Dignity to the Catholic parishes that practised racial segregation in the 60s – something he personally protested at the time.
In his letter he boldly urged church leaders not to suppress their sexuality but “to be aware of emotional and erotic impulses,” and he wasn’t afraid to draw attention to the Catholic church’s serious institutional failings.
“If we repress our sexuality, trying to be asexual, we risk breaching sexual boundaries, as happened in many sex-abuse cases,” he warned.
Frank D’Amore, director of Dignity/Detroit, told the National Catholic Reporter that the group will continue to meet as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends.
The group will gladly accept offers from priests, including Clore, to celebrate Sunday mass with them, even if the archdiocese forbids it in its churches.