Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby penned orders to clergy on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit
A Detroit bishop has ordered Catholic churches to break off ties with groups set up to support and affirm LGBT+ Catholics.
Bishop forbids queer Catholic groups from meeting in churches and attending Mass, just like Jesus wanted
Auxiliary bishop Gerard Battersby penned orders to clergy on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit, slamming the proverbial door in the face of the LGBT+ inclusive groups Dignity Detroit and Fortunate Families.
Detroit bishop forbids Mass for LGBT+ Catholic group.
Battersby forbid the groups from meeting at Catholic churches and ordered priests not to perform Mass for them.
He insisted: “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.
“Refrain from offering Mass anywhere in the Archdiocese of Detroit for Dignity Detroit, lest we confuse the faithful by seeming to endorse an alternative and contradictory path to sanctity.”
Auxiliary bishop Gerard Battersby directed the LGBT+ group Fortunate Families to disband. Dignity, which has been operating for more than 40 years, was stunned by the letter. The group’s president Frank D’Amore told the Detroit Free Press: “Dignity is still around, and we’re not going anywhere.
“We just celebrated our 46th anniversary in May. We never went out of our way to embarrass the church hierarchy. We’re on our fourth archbishop in 39 years, three cardinals. Now, all of a sudden, it’s an issue? I don’t get it.”
Fortunate Families Detroit was set up in 2014 to support LGBT+ families, and has been meeting at Christ the King Catholic Church in Detroit for years.
But in another letter, Battersby wrote: “Fortunate Families Detroit provides a misleading and harmful message. Having such an organisation, with its competing vision for the sanctification of her members, operating within the boundaries of the Archdiocese is both confusing to the faithful and detrimental to the very membership the organisation seeks to serve.”
“As delegate of archbishop Allen Vigneron, I ask that you immediately suspend meeting and disband your organisation as a group claiming to be Catholic operating in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
“Fortunate Families Detroit is forbidden from meeting in any parish church, chapel, or institution of the Archdiocese of Detroit.”
Linda Karle-Nelson, who runs the group with her husband, told Free Press: “We had no inkling… it was surprising, shocking, it was hurtful. It means we lost our parish, our home base for many years.
“The pastor there is not allowed to associate with us. We’re no longer a group with a parish home. We’re not allowed in any Catholic parish. That’s pretty harsh.”
Church wants gay members to abstain from all sex and pray for ‘salvation’.
The Archdiocese has defended the decision to cut ties with the groups, suggesting their members join church-sanctioned group Courage and EnCourage, which claims to provide “spiritual support for persons with same-sex attraction” – language commonly used among advocates of conversion therapy. The church-sanctioned groups tell gay people live solitary lives abstaining from sex and relationships while praying for “salvation” and forgiveness.
Spokesperson Holly Fournier told the newspaper: “We have communicated these developments to the leadership of Fortunate Families and Dignity Detroit, and we have invited all members to join us in efforts to participate in ministry that is faithful to the teachings of Christ’s Church.
“Our desire is to provide pastoral care for and to ensure the salvation of all the faithful, including those who experience same-sex attraction and their families.”
The Achbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, previously directed Catholics who support same-sex marriage to stop taking communion in 2013, claiming their participation would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury”.