[Warning: Very graphic and sexually explicit links.]

On January 31, 2018, the Catholic LGBT ministry, Out at St. Paul (OSP), located at the Paulist Fathers motherhouse of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in New York City, will host their “Winter Social” at the Rise gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen. The Rise bar is a well-known gay bar in Manhattan which is often included on lists ranking the best gay bars in New York City. The bar is particularly known for its elaborate weekly drag shows and the bartenders (pictured above) who wear nothing except a jock-strap. According to Out at St. Paul:

Please join us for the OSP Winter Social on Wednesday, January 31st, at Rise Bar, which is located at 9th Avenue at 56th Street in (you guessed it!) Hell’s Kitchen. This is a great opportunity to catch up with your old friends in the OSP community and to meet new friends as well. Please join us, especially if you are a newcomer to the OSP community! All are welcome.

But this is not the first time that OSP hosted an official gathering at a local gay bar. On March 22, 2017, OSP held their “Spring Social” at another notorious gay bar: “Bottoms Up.” Coincidently, a separate gay-affirmative Catholic LGBT outreach, also in the Archdiocese of New York, from St. Francis of Assisi Church, hosted their annual “Mardi Gras” party at Rise bar on February 28, 2017.

St. Paul the Apostle Parish and OSP are favorites of Jesuit author James Martin; he often mentions OSP as an example of a “vibrant” Catholic LGBT outreach; during a 2017 interview, Martin was specifically asked to recommend Catholic LGBT ministries:

Interviewer: You mentioned the different ways that LGBT people have been mistreated by the Church, but I assume that there are parishes or individuals who are making or do outreach to LGBT people. Are there any examples that come to mind that have been especially good?

Martin: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean the one that comes to mind that’s nearby is the Church of St. Paul the Apostle that has a group called Out at St. Paul, there’s Most Holy Redeemer Parish in California, St. Francis Xavier in New York. Yeah, as I say in the book, not every bishop needs to be castigated; not every parish needs to be scolded. Because you are right there is a lot of great outreach going on…

Martin has repeatedly spoken to OSP and he featured the group and its controversial video “Owning Our Faith” in one of his official promotional videos for “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity;” here are some excerpts from “Owning Our Faith:”

“My gender transition was immensely spiritual to me. It was a journey…I think a lot of people think of this as just a physical journey, they just look at the physical aspects of transition, but it’s an emotional one, it’s a spiritual one.”

“If we leave it, if we abandon the Church then it’s never going to change. So we have to continue living here, being an example and encouraging other people to be that example because that’s what’s going to change the Church.”

“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.”

In 2017, when James Martin faced criticism for his unorthodox statements regarding homosexuality, and a speaking invitation from the Theological College of the Catholic University of America was rescinded, the Paulist Fathers defended him in a published letter; they wrote:

“this incident exposes the ugliness of homophobia and intolerance in our Church…”

There are several gay-affirmative LGBT ministries in New York City; they include: St. Francis de SalesSt. Francis XavierSt. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

In his book “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church,” Fr. John Harvey, the founder of Courage, wrote:

“A person with same-sex attraction must avoid gay bars, magazines, and Internet websites, just as a heterosexual person should not go to movies and night clubs which hold chastity in contempt.”

Please contact:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Phone: 212-371-1000

Monsignor Edward Weber
Phone: 212-371-1011 Ext. 2931
Email: Msgr.Edward.Weber@archny.org