Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Real St. Francis of Assisi Pre Pride Mass

This is Gay Pride Weekend in many cities across the US and the granddaddy of them all is right here in New York City. This is where it all started at Stonewall in 1969, and the Gay community is out in force this weekend.

For the past few weeks, St. Francis of Assisi Church in midtown Manhattan has been advertising a "Pre Pride Mass" scheduled for the Saturday night before the Gay Pride Parade. Traditional Catholic blogs and websites have been slamming them for this. These Traditionalists specifically used the "Pre Pride Mass" to show the difference between the good and loyal Traditional Catholics of Holy Innocents who are being persecuted by Cardinal Dolan and the "sodomy infested" parishes such as St. Francis of Assisi, who seem to receive Cardinal Dolan's full approval.

A typical example is from "Restore DC Catholicism" from a post entitled, "By His Draconian Treatment Of Father Justin Wylie, Has Cardinal Dolan Shown His True Colors?" [HERE]
Father Justin Wylie, a priest of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa was on assignment to New York City as he worked for the Holy See at the United Nations. He was a popular priest at Holy Innocents and greatly championed the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. On May 18th, his sermon included an exhortation for the Archdiocese of New York to send sympathetic priests to shepherd those who had devotion to the Extraordinary Form. For that, not only were his faculties in the Archdiocese of New York revoked, but the Dolan crew saw fit to complain to the Holy See and to the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. I suspect that if Father Wylie had been incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York, he might have found himself laicized.
Renew America, in addition to linking to Father Wylie's sermon, mentions that the Archdiocese plans to have Holy Innocents subsumed into St Francis of Assisi parish. Notice what's on the main page of St Francis of Assisi's website; they are touting their (drums and trumpets, please!) PRE-PRIDE MASS! It doesn't take much imagination to surmise that this is not much more than a pep rally for the Gay Pride orgy that will occur in NYC soon thereafter. The parish has a "gay and lesbian ministry". Odd - I cannot seem to locate their pro-life ministry!
So Cardinal Dolan thinks that Holy Innocent Church should be absorbed into that progressive hornets' nest known as St Francis of Assisi Church? Perhaps this plan sheds some light on the question asked in this post's title.
The ultra right wing group, America Needs Fatima, even started an online petition to try to stop the Mass.  That petition has now disappeared from the Internet.

St. Francis of Assisi Church, Manhattan
When I first heard about this Pre Pride Mass, I was also concerned. How can a Catholic Church do anything in connection with Gay Pride Parades? So I made it a point to go to the Mass this Saturday to see for myself just what it was all about.

When I got there, I saw a Traditionalist whom I personally know standing outside and handing out flyers warning about the Pre Pride Mass and the terrible sin of sodomy. I told him I was going in because I wanted to see for myself. I asked him to do the same. He said he wanted no part of it, for after all, what else could "pride" mean other than that they were celebrating homosexuality? I said that St. Francis did a lot of good things, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt until we know better. He made some comment about Novus Ordo Masses, and I got the feeling that he was afraid he would catch some sort of disease if he went in.

So I went in the Church.  There was a Mass being celebrated at the time, and the Church was completely packed.  I got there a good hour before the 5:15 Pre Pride Mass, so I thought it would be especially interesting to see if the "regular" Mass was celebrated any differently than the "Pre Pride Mass."  I got there just as the priest was giving his sermon.  The sermon seemed tailor made to answer all of those blogs and websites that have been condemning the "Pre Pride Mass" for the past month.

This Sunday is the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the sermon concerned  the passage in the Gospels in which Our Lord asks St. Peter three times, "Do you love me?  Then feed my sheep."

From the sermon:
Sheep are docile, dimwitted and dirty. And my dear friends, so are we. This is why I love the sheep metaphor. It actually describes us well.  Sheep stink! Sheep have all sorts of grubby little things clinging to them. And sheep routinely lose their way. On their own they wander off, they get lost, and eventually they fall victim to some predator. Outside of the sheepfold, their future is bleak. Alone, they will not survive long. Like them, in order for us to thrive, we need to be part of a community.  If we're excluded from the community, we will not do well.  And more importantly and sadly, if we are pushed away from the sheepfold, it would appear that the shepherds are not doing a very good job.
 . . 
Perhaps Jesus was asking Peter, "do you love me more than you love what is comfortable and familiar to you?"  Peter had been given a chance, a new beginning, a rebirth.  It is very likely that Peter knew that he was both sheep and shepherd. He knew that he had been cared for and therefore he had the duty to care for others. In other words, Peter would have better understood the question than we do. Perhaps Jesus was not asking Peter whether he loved Jesus more than other Christians, but if he loved Jesus AND all the other, more than those things that for so long had made Peter feel secure, his life as a fisherman, the tools of his trade, perhaps even his ideas.

And what if these things applied to us?  Include things such as preconceptions, hardheartedness, and prejudice.  If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us and asks a simple question:  do you love Me more than these?"
Fifteen minutes after this Mass ended, the "Pre Pride Mass" began. The Church was as completely packed for this Mass as it had been for the previous Mass. And this Mass was exactly the same as the previous Mass - the same priest, same prayers, same hymns, and even the same sermon, almost word for word. The only difference was that at the beginning of the Mass, Father thanked the people for coming to the "Pre Pride Mass." There were no rainbow flags, no celebrations of the homosexual lifestyle, no flouting in any way of the Church teaching on homosexuality. In fact, homosexuality was not even mentioned. It was a very orthodox, reverent Mass with absolutely nothing offensive in it to anyone.

This "Pre Pride Mass" was not in any sense of the word a "pep rally for the Gay Pride orgy that will occur in NYC soon thereafter" as claimed by DC Restore or any of the other Trad websites and blogs.  It was just as the Church of St. Francis of Assisi said it was:  a call to salvation in Jesus Christ, or as they put it on their website as pictured above, "God loves all people and calls us all into His family!"  

Our culture and almost the whole world have come to view homosexuality as a completely normal and acceptable way of life.   It was not as necessary in past generations for large ministries to homosexuals because society did a lot of our work for us in that homosexuality was condemned.  But now that this lifestyle is accepted in our culture, the Church must respond to this and do so with true Christian charity.  Yelling at people and telling them they're all rotten sinners headed to hell will only turn them away and drive them deeper into their sin.  The Church must be a warm embracing family, always rejecting the sin, but never the sinner, just as Our Lord showed us in the love He showed towards all people.  

As Pope Francis told us, the Church is a hospital.  When the wounded come to us, we must first treat their wounds, and then when they are stronger, we can get to the cause of those wounds, which is the sin in their lives.  This is what the "Pre Pride Mass" was all about at St. Francis of Assisi.

Friars from St. Francis of Assisi Church handing out
food to the homeless
St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan is a physically beautiful church, having undergone a costly renovation just a few years ago.  They offer daily confessions, several Masses each day, daily adoration, many and varied classes and outreach programs, including feeding the hundreds of homeless people in their area.  

I truly wish my Traditional Catholic friend had come into the church with me and experienced the love and warmth that was so present there.  Thank you, St. Francis of Assisi Church, for opening your doors to those who are so in need of the saving message of the Gospel.

To all those who prejudged and condemned this event, I will repeat Father's words to you: 
And what if these things applied to us? Include things such as preconceptions, hardheartedness, and prejudice. If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us and asks a simple question: do you love Me more than these?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Use away, Terry. You never have to ask. Now that homosexuality is an accepted part of society, it is very necessary that churches have active ministries, and that our outreach be done with compassion and kindness, not condemnation.

  2. On the other hand the Franciscans had a booth at the event ( a celebration of homosexual activity) with a banner that read, "Who Am I to Judge?" a statement taken completely out of context and implying approval of the gay lifestyle. That comment has gone viral in that context, so it's hard to argue it isn't seen that way by the majority of those who read it.

    Here's what the Southern Orders blogspot wrote about the comment:

    "So, what did the Pope say? In the context of his larger remarks on homosexuality and the priesthood, Francis was attempting to explain that a homosexual 'lobby' within his church is entirely unacceptable. The Vatican has been reeling from a report issued under Pope Benedict XVI that identified a 'gay lobby' with inordinate power and influence within the church. Francis told the reporters that he saw gay individuals as distinct from a gay lobby. 'I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad.'

    "Only then did the Pope offer his most-quoted sentence: 'If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?'"

    Does the infamous pride parade reflect gay persons seeking the Lord or lobbyists using gay pride to advance an agenda? The Franciscans presence there with that banner was scandalous, sending a message of approval of a sin that can send people to hell. How exactly does that show "kindness and compassion" rather than ear tickling? I'm sure the Franciscans do many good things? Does that excuse this? Would you drink a glass of water that had only 1/4 teaspoon of sewage in it?

    The term "gay pride" is political and it connotes not only pride in one's "coming out" as homosexual, but in the homosexual lifestyle. So does the rainbow flag motif of the Franciscans' ad. If you read the flag's history there is no doubt that it reflects pride, not only in announcing one's same-sex attraction, but in acting on it.

    The Mass may have been fine, How does using the scandalous symbols not send a confusing message?

    By the way, neither Janet (Restore D.C. Catholicism) nor I is a "traditionalist." But we do respect clear talk. Scripture says say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. We are living in confusing times, and fostering confusion is not a virtue. Just look at the recent controversies at Charlotte Catholic High School and the Prout School in Wakefield, RI. We are losing our kids to the homosexual zeitgeist. And any who saw the photo of the Franciscans' booth at the gay pride event will be even more confused. No wonder so many now approve of homosexual marriage!

    1. Nothing you have mentioned here has anything to do with the Mass at St. Francis of Assisi. For the past few weeks you and many others have been attacking this church without knowing any of the facts. I have now given them to you and you bring up everything except what we are talking about.

      Homosexuality has been accepted and approved by our culture. Now, more than at any time in Church history, we must minister to those who are caught in this terrible sin. This must be done with compassion and understanding. if we sit in condemnation of them, it will only drive them to those who will support their sin and destroy them.

      Our Lord never reached out to anyone with words of condemnation. He reached out with love and mercy. Homosexuals are not our enemies. They are people in great need of the saving mercy of Jesus Christ. This is what i saw at St. Francis of Assisi Church yesterday. Why don't you address that issue?

  3. Correction: the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name who had the booth were at the Boston Pride Parade and were from the St. Anthony Shrine in Boston not from St. Frances in NYC. You can see the photos at Same order, different friars, same confusion.

    1. As you know they are all Holy name province, so - it's part of their mission then. I didn't realize the Boston friary had a booth - that's a totally different situation and implies support of gay lifestyle. The origins in Pride is all about revolution and claiming rights that they are not entitled to - marriage being one of them. Presence at a gay pride festival is not evangelization by any means. It is either support of the movement or casting pearls before swine. It is not a family affair nor are they interested in Catholic teaching.

  4. I guess we're speaking different languages here because I disagree, Brooklyn Catholic. Of course it has to do with the Mass. Yes homosexuals need to be part of the community, but not at the expense of approving of their sin. You appear to believe that condemning sin is the same as condemning a sinner. How do you call anyone to repentance without saying, "Go your way and avoid this sin?" Aren't priests serving as other Christs?

    We hardly ever hear a word about the evil of contraception from the pulpit. After Humanae Vitae it became the verboten topic. Now it's homosexuality that's verboten. How many are converted by the false compassion of silence. We are not talking about condemnation of the person, but of the sin of sodomy...and contraception....and abortion....and lying....and greed....etc. The ten commandments is a list of condemnations. Jesus Himself said if you love me you'll love my commandments. I don't know if you've accurately represented the homily, but, if you have, there's not a word about the conversion we ALL need including those attending the Pride Parade. How does calling a Mass the same thing as a notorious celebration of sodomy not create confusion? That is not extraneous to the subject here, but intrinsic. I'm baffled that you want to avoid it and label anyone who disagrees as unkind and lacking in compassion. I have never been unkind to a homosexual including a young man I've prayed for over the years who finally rejected the lifestyle and returned to practice of his Catholic faith and a young woman, a friend of my daughter, whom I've known since she was a little girl. She now lives with her partner and she friended me on Facebook knowing exactly where I stand. Compassion and truth are not mutually exclusive. .

    1. Again, you are bringing up all kinds of issues that have nothing to do with the Mass at St. Francis. When you invite people to your house, do you start attacking them because they don't believe everything you do? Or do you offer them hospitality and friendship and try to build a relationship on that? As you become closer and more trusting with one another, then you can start bringing up more controversial issues. The Pre Pride Mass at St. Francis was an invitation for people to come and experience the Mass. It was not the time to start preaching fire and brimstone to them.

      And just what was there in the sermon that condoned homosexuality? I recorded the sermon and transcribed it word for word. As I stated, there was nothing unusual about the Mass. It was not in any way a celebration of homosexuality as so many had characterized it. You, for whatever reason, refuse to believe this.

      Mary Ann, why do you think that hitting people over the head is the way to wake them up? Why would they want to come to a church that condemns them when they can go to a society that accepts them with open arms? When Our Lord hung on the cross next to the thieves, did He say any words of condemnation? He just showed love and mercy, even to those who were cheering His death. Dismas, the good thief, was a witness to the great mercy shown by our Lord, and his repentance was so complete Our Lord promised that he would be in paradise that day.

      You come across as very judgmental and very angry. Your attitude will not bring people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Our Lord said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." When people are wounded, that is not the time to yell at them and tell them how wrong they are. It is the time to bind their wounds and care for them until they are strong enough to bear more.

      This is exactly what was happening at St. Francis of Assisi. They were trying to counter all the madness of Gay Pride Weekend in the city by opening up their church and inviting people to hear the Word of God. The church was packed. It was a beautiful Mass, and the Word of God was powerfully preached and witnessed to. Why are you condemning that?

      "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." (Isa 61:1).

      If you want to beat people over the head, you go right ahead. I prefer to follow the ways of Jesus Christ.

    2. When people are wounded, that is not the time to yell at them and tell them how wrong they are.

      Unless they're traditionalists. Then Catholic in Brooklyn will make it her personal mission to repeatedly tell them how wrong they are.

    3. There is a big difference between being wounded by sin as homosexuals are and striking out at the hierarchy and causing disunity. I would think that Traditionalists, many of whom represent themselves as the only true Catholic Church, would understand that.

  5. Well, it all depends on whose ox is being gored. You also come across as angry and judgmental, CIB, against Fr. Wylie, for example. It's not okay for him to criticize the cardinal because he is "in authority" but it's okay for you to criticize Fr. Wylie, a priest in authority. It's not okay to condemn the sin of sodomy because that's hitting people over the head, but it's okay to condemn "traditionalists" (whatever that means -- I value tradition myself -- and so does the Church since it bases its doctrine on both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition) and hit them over the head. So I guess it's just a question of where your anger is directed. Question: What would you have had the laity do during the Aryan heresy and in Elizabethan England and revolutionary France and during the Protestant Revolution when so many clergy abandoned the faith? -- follow the apostate clergy? We are in much the same situation today.

    And what would you say if the parade was a celebration of "choice" and the Franciscans had a "pre-choice" Mass?

    1. There are some rogue bishops and priests who seem to be supporting the homosexual lifestyle, but the point is that they are rogues and are going against direct Catholic teaching, and no we are not obliged to follow them an in fact must reject them. But just what was apostate about the Mass at St Francis this weekend? I was there the entire time and did not hear one word against orthodox Catholic teaching. That is what we are talking about, not the Aryan heresy.

      It was Father Wylie who compared the New York Archdiocese to Reformation England and Cromwellian Ireland, when the government was persecuting Catholics and priests literally had to be smuggled in. Do you think it is right to compare the spiritually ordained bishop of New York - who is in good standing in the Catholic Church and preaches no heresy, despite Michael Voris' accusations - to Elizabeth I who had Catholics drawn and quartered? You really believe that Father Wylie – whom I have personally met and like – who has taken a vow of obedience to his superiors, had the right to stand in the pulpit and denounce his superiors? That cannot be tolerated, and sadly, there was no choice but to discipline him.

      You are honestly comparing Cardinal Dolan and other priests and bishops to those who literally rejected the authority of the Pope? Things may not be the way you want them to be. You have made it quite clear that you want more preaching about sin and hell than we are hearing. But which of our bishops are literally preaching heresy? Do we as laity have the right to sit in judgment of them just because we don’t like what they are saying even though it does not go directly against Church teaching? That is what you are promoting.

      You are really getting hung up on words and not looking at the reality. It is quite obvious that the Church of St. Francis used the word "pride" because it was more likely to get the attention of those they wanted to reach. They were making a very courageous attempt to bring those who are in desperate need of the saving grace of the Gospel to the Catholic Church, and they did succeed. Why do you want to condemn them for that?

      I think "pre choice" would not be bad at all, because it means that you have not yet made the irrevocable choice to abort your baby and can still choose the right way. Pre pride would basically mean the same thing. You can choose to reject "Pride."

  6. That is good reporting on the Pre-Pride Mass. It was a good message from the Homilist.
    God Bless

  7. Cardinal Dolan is preaching a form of heresy wit his "bravo" comment, and his telling Muslims to hang on to their false religion when he tells them to "keep the faith," praising them for it. The parish having "pride" symbols on their website, a booth at the parade is offering a form of acceptance of those in grave sin. Those who are loyal to the Dogmatic Truth of the Church (SSPX- NO THEY AREN'T IN SCHISM, FFI until wrecked by Francis, FSSP, ICK) are flourishing with vocations, full seminaries. The worldliness of the Prelates of the VII sect make us believe that the past 50 years are all that matter in the Church, hence it is in perhaps the worst crisis in its history. Meanwhile, the Traditional orders previously mentioned are blessed abundantly and thrive, because they teach undiluted Truth. Father Wylie is a hero of great courage, as we have few so shepherds who clearly teach the Truth of Catholic Faith.

  8. You did a service by your investigation. I am happy to hear that that there were no rainbow flags or signs of supporting a homosexual lifestyle.
    But is that enough?
    You yourself noted, "When I first heard about this Pre Pride Mass, I was also concerned." Why were you concerned? I assume it is because the mere fact of calling it a "Pre-Pride Mass" on the day of the March made it sound like it was in support of the March.
    From your recounting, it seems that calling it a Pre-Pride Mass was a form of deception to draw in homosexual activists. But, why? Perhaps so they could here the homily?
    But, what would they hear? (This is different from what was said.)
    I find the homily skillfully crafted and inspiring. But, when I recall the context, I find it somewhat troubling, again not in itself, but in context. (But, I notice you leave out parts so maybe I missed something.)
    First, the Gospel prescribed by the Liturgy was that of Matthew 16: "You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church." So, did the priest read another Gospel on his own arbitrary choice and not trusting the Church's requirement? (The Ordo gives no option.) Perhaps not. Perhaps he just chose to preach on the passage from John. It would be helpful if you could indicate that.
    Second, the problem with the homily is the context of a "Pre-Pride Mass" made clear by the advertisements and welcome. The gay pride movement is all about breaking down what it considers heterosexual "preconceptions, hardheartedness, and prejudice" against an actively homosexual lifestyle. Thus, who was Father's homily geared towards? Was it encouraging conversion from a sinful sexual activity? Since he did not mention homosexual activity as sinful, it seems the chief sin he is against is prejudice. This is a good message, but again we cannot forget context. We know how "Who am I to judge?" has been misused, especially by the gay pride movement. Moreover, you yourself imply that the message applies to those who were concerned with the "Pre-Pride Mass" rather than with those celebrating homosexual activity.
    So, I for one, am in no way edified by the fact of this deceptive "Pre-Pride Mass." It was deceptive from the start and its message was ambiguous, and can even be considered affirming for those who want to claim to be practicing Catholics and active homosexuals.

  9. The "Unknown" post for July 1, 2014 at 7:20 AM is by Bruce T.
    I am sorry that I am somewhat computer illiterate I haven't figured how to set up my i.d.

  10. One comment on their facebook page goes: "I am straight and support gay rights.I am so happy St Franics is an inclusive church." and it was 'liked' by the official page. (!!!)

    So, we have a "Pre-Pride Mass", rainbow flag in the background of the invitation, very ambiguous homily at the mass and pro-gay comments on their official facebook page liked by the moderator of the page. And you expect us to believe everything is fine, and we have nothing to worry about? Sorry, but we're not blind.

    This "LGBT ministry"-nonsense in Catholic parishes has to stop! If they want to help those people, they have Courage. No ambiguity and rainbow flags there...

    1. This is a total and complete lie. There is no such comment on my Facebook page. I have no idea who you are and you don't know who I am. I do not have anything about "gay rights" one way or another on m Facebook page.

      This is what people stoop to to prove their point? Pathetic.

    2. That is not a lie! Go to their official facebook page and see their announcement from June 5, look at a comment from Fran Ayers and tell me who liked that particular comment. It's not ok to call someone a liar without checking the facts...

    3. btw. I didn't mean YOUR facebook page but facebook page of St. Francis of Assisi. You didn't understand me.

    4. Then why are you writing this on my blog? You're right I don't understand you, nor do I think I want to,

    5. Why am I writing this on your blog? - Because it's a relevant information for this topic. You say there is nothing wrong with this "Pre-Pride Mass" and the parish of Saint Francis, I say there is...

      You don't want to understand me? - You don't have to. I think my point was clear - if a parish not only tolerates, but even supports pro-gay comments on its facebook page, then we have a problem. If you don't want to see the problem, it doesn't mean it's not there ;)

      God bless you.

    6. I accidentally deleted this comment. Here it is, and I apologize

      Athelstane has left a new comment on your post "The Real St. Francis of Assisi Pre Pride Mass":

      Hello CiB,

      So the preliminary recommendation is that Holy Innocents be permanently closed, and the parish merged into St. Francis of Assisi, which you have visited and found surprisingly condign, and worth giving a chance to by the members of Holy Innocents.

      I think some questions are in order, however:

      1) During your time there, was there any explicit teaching, either from the pulpit, CCD materials, or other information you gathered, making clear the great evil of acts of sodomy, the sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance, out of the pastoral care for the souls of the many LGBT members of the parish? Is there any evidence that St. Francis's pastoral staff does this? Do their RCIA and CCD classes make plain this teaching? Should pHoly Innocents parishioners with children feel confident that their children will receive sound, orthodox catechesis at Holy Innocents? If they will not, should they quietly accept whatever is on offer anyway?

      2) Does St. Francis host a Courage ministry, and if they do not, have they expressed an openness to the same? I see no evidence online that this has ever been the case, but perhaps you have better information than I do.

      3) New Ways Ministry has been identified as a ministry not in compliance with Church teaching on homosexuality by the USCCB. Its website identifies St Francis of Assisi as a "gay-friendly parish." Does it do so because St Francis agrees with New Ways rather than the Magisterium on this moral issue, or is there evidence that this endorsement is unwelcome?

      4) Is there any evidence that the pastoral staff of St. Francis of Assisi is now open to the regular celebration of the traditional Latin Mass (and other sacraments), either by its own staff, or by outside priests with proper faculties? Should the Holy Innocents parishioners have any expectation at all to have such a request heard or granted pursuant to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae?

      Thanks. Much obliged.

      Posted by Athelstane to Catholic in Brooklyn at July 1, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    7. I rarely go to St. Francis. All I know about is this Mass, and there was nothing against Catholic teaching at the Mass. If you want to know anything else, asl them.

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