On June 22, 2017, the gay-affirmative Catholic ministry of Out at St. Paul is planning to hold an outdoor “Pride” Mass at Sheridan Square (Christopher Park) in Manhattan; the location is across Christopher Street from the historic Stonewall Inn. The neighborhood was the site of the June, 28, 1969, Stonewall Riots which ushered in the modern era of gay liberation. According to a history of the events submitted to the US Government for consideration of Stonewall as a National Historic Landmark:
The Stonewall uprising has been widely recognized as an exceptionally significant event in the gay rights movement. Stonewall was not the first time members of the gay and lesbian community had sought their rights. Rather, its significance lies in its role as a catalyst for the decades of significant change that followed. In this sense, Stonewall has been compared to the Boston Tea Party and to Rosa Parks sitting in the front section of a bus. The Boston Tea Party was not the first act of civil disobedience in the Revolutionary period, but it was a significant turning point; Rosa Parks’ act of civil disobedience was not the first step in the black civil rights movement, but her actions were a catalyst for change. In the same way, the events of Stonewall galvanized gay men and lesbians and led to the development of the modern gay rights movement.
Since the Riots, the month of June as well as nationwide and international “Pride” festivities and parades are coordinated to take place as near as possible to the anniversary of the original raid on the Stonewall Inn; the 2017 New York City “Pride” parade will take place on the 25th of June. In 2000, National Historic Landmark status was awarded to the Stonewall Inn. In 2016, the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding neighborhood were designated by President Barack Obama as a US National Monument; it is the first such area dedicated to LGBT history.
Last year, the Out at St. Paul “Pride” Mass also took place in Christopher Park which is the home (see above) of artist George Segal’s sculptural group “Gay Liberation;” it is the first piece of public art in the world to commemorate the “gay” community. At the 2016 “Pride” Mass, the makeshift altar was draped in the rainbow flag.
Following the “Pride” Mass, attendees are invited to a gathering at The Duplex gay bar and drag show cabaret. The Duplex is adjacent to the Stonewall Inn. Earlier in 2017, Out At St. Paul hosted a “Spring Social” at the Hell’s Kitchen gay bar Bottoms Up.
On July 16, 2017, James Martin, S.J., will speak at St. Paul the Apostle Church to discuss his new book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.” Martin has spoken positively about both the parish and Out at St. Paul.
Out at St. Paul is a dissident gay-affirmative ministry located at the Paulist motherhouse of St. Paul the Apostle Church in the Archdiocese of New York. In 2015, the ministry and the parish sponsored a video project entitled “Owning Our Faith.” In the series, a number of Out at St. Paul members, including a “married” same-sex couple, were interviewed; most of whom disagree with Church teachings regarding homosexuality; for example, one “gay” man stated:
“I think what’s interesting is that the Catholic Church probably thinks that it is accepting of gay people, because its message is ‘gay people exist and we should love them and not discriminate against them. But because the Church also tells gay people essentially that they need to be celibate, what the Church is saying is ‘you cannot live fully. You can be gay but you can’t live that life.’ And so that inherently is discriminatory.”
Recently, Out at St. Paul via its official Facebook page promoted the idea that St. Joan of Arc was “a cross-dressing teenage warrior who led the medieval French army to victory…She is a queer icon, girl-power hero.” In addition, Out at St. Paul applauded as “wonderful news” the decision by the Church of Scotland to accept same-sex marriage.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Monsignor Edward Weber
Phone: 212-371-1011 Ext. 2931