Irish parish removes LGBT ‘Pride’ flag after archdiocese intervenes

Jonah McKeown   By Jonah McKeown for CNA

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Ballyfermot, Ireland, displays the LGBT rainbow flag / Ballyfermot Assumption Parish/Facebook

Denver Newsroom, Jun 24, 2021 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

A Catholic parish in Ireland has reluctantly taken down a rainbow LGBT “Pride” flag that was erected last week outside the church, after an intervention from the Dublin archdiocese.

Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Ballyfermot, near Dublin, last week flew both an Irish flag and a striped rainbow flag – a common symbol of “LGBT pride” – outside the parish, during the month of June which is celebrated as “Pride Month.”

The Archdiocese of Dublin last Friday asked the parish to remove the flag due to its a policy against flying any flags on church grounds, except for national flags on appropriate occasions.

Father Adrian Egan, pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption, apologized to “all those genuine people” who expressed confusion and hurt at the raising of the Pride flag, but also to “those who were hurt” by the flag’s removal.

In a statement to The Journal, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said: “On special occasions, only the Papal flag and/or the National flag, are permitted to be flown on church grounds in the Archdiocese of Dublin[.]”

Father Egan said in his Sunday homily June 20 that he approved the flying of the Pride Flag because of his desire to make the parish a “place of welcome for all.”

On June 14, Father Egan said that the parish council met and discussed June’s status as the month dedicated by the Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“We were also talking about how June has become a significant month for gay people, for gay men and women, and that there are lots of secular events and things going on in that regard during the month of June,” Father Egan said, adding that the parish council came to the conclusion that the image of the Sacred Heart represents a love that is “inclusive of everybody.”

The parish has some gay members, he said, who say they have been “hurt” by the language that the Church uses in its teaching on homosexuality. The parish council decided they wanted to send out a message that “God loves them,” Egan said.

The parish posted photos of the flag flying outside the parish on its Facebook page.

“Just an effort by a parish pastoral council to say to our gay brothers and sisters, ‘God loves you, your parish loves you, and you are welcome here’. Applies to all of you too!” an unsigned June 16 Facebook status from the parish’s page reads.

Egan said when the flag was displayed, he received many messages of “thanks and appreciation,” and also messages from “very good Catholic people” who were hurt and dismayed by the flag. He noted there were still other messages which were “aggressive and hostile and nasty.”

While the flag was flying, a group of Catholics reportedly gathered to pray the rosary across the road from the church. By Friday evening, Egan said the archbishop called to ask the parish to remove the flag.

“Am I in trouble? Probably,” Father Egan said.

“The flag is down, but the message of the banner is still out there, and it remains exactly the same. And I believe it reflects the Gospel.”

Pride Month is celebrated widely throughout June each year, with parades, parties and concerts celebrating the LGBT lifestyle.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2358 teaches that persons who experience same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” but is also clear in paragraph 2357 that “under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved.”

Fr. Philip Bochanski, the executive director of the Catholic apostolate Courage, told CNA in 2019 that the answer to the unjust treatment of people identifying as LGBT is not to change the Church’s teaching or to affirm homosexual relationships, but rather to “call all of our brothers and sisters to a life in holiness which always includes the virtue of chastity, among the other virtues.”

He also said that it’s important to present the fullness of the truth of God’s plan for sexuality, but also stressed the importance of loving people with same-sex attraction as persons, and helping them to see that their identity does not lie solely within their sexuality.

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  1. Father Egan seems more than a little confused for a Priest who should know better. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is a very old adage which he should study. Its possible to invite gays, etc to worship and treat them with kindness without approving of the physical acts in which they engage, which the church has long condemned as sinful. “Nice” should not trump morality, and especially not in the theology of any church. Raising the LBT flag looks like an endorsement and approval of the acts themselves and that cannot be permitted to stand. Bravo to this Archdiocese for telling the priest the banner must go. Would that our American Bishops could find the grit to assert themselves on obvious points of morality.

  2. Then again, to many others including me, Fr. Egan seems to be like a very enlightened man.

    ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’, is the word of God. It includes all without making any exceptions.

    Even in Confession, the only thing a priest passes along is God’s forgiveness. Not the priest, or anyone else, has the right to judge. It is God’s right and His alone.

    At moments like this, I find it helpful to remember, ‘Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.’

    • Who’s making judgments or casting stones? Is it the defenders of natural marriage, or is it those who would judge that it is suddenly time to redefine complementary human sexuality as an aberration within the fiction of flat-earth gender theory? And to impose this ideology across the board by fatwa of the Administrative State?

      The rainbow banner now is more of a political agenda and battering ram than simply a sign of respect for all persons, without exception. Fr. Egan joined the jackboot ranks of the zeitgeist’s “useful idiots.”

      Gay Pride Month compared to not even one definitive single day for Christmas or Easter, or only one day for Mother’s or Fathers. Wake up and smell the coffee…

      (The phrase, usually attributed to Lenin, refers to anyone susceptible to propaganda or manipulation, so there is no Left of Right distinction implied by my above remark.)

    • I don’t consider it love to leave people wallowing in mortal sin and praise them for it, which is what flying that flag does. That’s hatred, not love.

      “Not the priest, or anyone else, has the right to judge. It is God’s right and His alone.”

      God judges a person’s soul, but that doesn’t mean that we are not to judge whether particular actions are good or evil. Or if someone decides that there is a group that should be known “Homicidals,” because since people are tempted to commit the sin of murder it can’t be a sin, and they are going to celebrate their “lifestyle,” and comes up with an “I’m Proud that I’m a Homicidal” flag, and some parish is evil or ignorant enough to fly that flag— would you be saying, “Well, we can’t judge the Homicidal person?” I sincerely hope that you would say, “What they are doing is wrong.”

      “At moments like this, I find it helpful to remember, ‘Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.’”

      Let him, not let he. And you seem to be forgetting the rest of it: “Go, and sin no more.” Our Lord didn’t say, “You just keep on proudly doing what you’ve been doing.”

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