B.C. Catholic church stands firm on decision to deny gay pride event

B.C. Catholic church stands firm on decision to deny gay pride event

Church released statement saying event is against beliefs, morals

Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Parish has issued a statement after the church denied a request from the White Rock Pride Society earlier this month to host an event in the church’s community centre.

The statement issued by the parish pastor, Father Glenn Dion, says that while the church has received public feedback both in support of, and opposition to its stance, it will not budge on its decision to deny the Pride Society’s request.

One of the concerns raised by White Rock Pride Society president Ernie Klassen is that the hall is named the “Star of the Sea Community Centre.”

“If you want to call yourself a community centre, and get the property tax relief from the city, then I’m now, as a White Rock citizen, subsidizing their taxes and I’m not allowed to use their facility,” Klassen told Peace Arch News last week.

The approximate value of the property tax exemption is $11,800.

RELATED: White Rock Pride Society ‘discriminated’ against by Catholic church, president says

The statement, issued last week, makes note of the name of the community centre.

“It is somehow being perceived as a public facility rather than a privately owned one, which is a misunderstanding,” the statement reads. “We will adjust the sign for greater clarity. We do allow others to use our hall as long as they are not in conflict with the mission and values of the Parish.”

The statement notes that the contract used for any prospective renters states that the renter “acknowledges that the Premises may in no event be used for any purpose which is unlawful or contrary to the practices, or teaching on matters of faith and morals, of the Roman Catholic Church as interpreted by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.”

The statement says that the White Rock Pride Society would “clearly fall within the context of those who promote, practice, and celebrate the intimacy of same sex individuals, the practice of same sex marriage, and the homosexual lifestyle of these proponents.”

“This is in stark contrast to the teaching of the Catholic Church that upholds the sanctity of the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, and the call to live a chaste life for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, outside the sacred bond of marriage.”

The statement says that all people, “no matter their chosen walk of life,” are children of God.

“The Catholic Church teaches that we hold all people in this loving regard, with an inherent right to respect and dignity, even those who live far outside her teaching.”

Regardless of the love Christ has for all, the statement reads, “it doesn’t mean that we need to cooperate in the activities of groups that are diametrically opposed to the Church’s teachings on faith and morals.”

The statement notes that some have taken the position that the use of the Star of the Sea Community Centre should be without restriction, even if the event stands in contrast to the Catholic beliefs and values.

“That would suggest that we couldn’t decline to let our hall be used by groups such as those espousing hatred against a minority or ethnic group, or those wanting to raise funds for the sake of promoting abortion or euthanasia and assisted dying. Our Catholic facilities would not be open for such groups to use.”

The statement says that the parish has a mission to follow Jesus Christ, and all are invited to do the same.

“Once again, the use of our churches, our living quarters, our schools, our hall, and our meeting rooms, are to bear witness to these faith-based principles, even when it seems unpopular to do so.”

Klassen said Tuesday that since PAN published an article regarding the church’s decision to deny the event, he has had an “overwhelming” number of people from Star of the Sea church offer their support to the White Rock Pride Society.

“They’re saying, please don’t give up on this,” Klassen said. “It makes me feel like the members of the local church community are not in sync with the policies of the church. It felt absolutely wonderful.”

Klassen said those who reached out to him were, for the most part, older women and grandmothers.

“They’re coming and saying, ‘My grandson is gay and I really want him to feel like he can be part of the church if he chooses to.’”

Klassen said the number of businesses, individuals, and friends that have reached out to the society to show support has been “fantastic.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

The Terrace River Kings lost 9-3 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
Regional district frustrated with CN response to grievances

‘A lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’: Houston mayor Shane Brienen

Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the fresh, fluffy snow at Fernie Alpine Resort.
Ski hill scheduled to open Dec. 4

Hudson Bay Mountain Resort will open without its usual contingent of international workers

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Most Read