Catholic church removes Pride flag after hostile response

Catholic church Pride flag

An Irish Catholic church has been forced to remove a Pride flag flown on the premises following backlash from the Diocese and some of the public.

Ballyfermot Assumption Parish Church in Dublin erected both an Irish Tricolour and an LGBT+ Pride flag last week.

The flags were flown last week by decision of the parish pastoral council and parish priest Fr Adrian Egan to show that everyone is welcome in their church.

On 17 June, a spokesperson for the church shared a photograph of the flags along with a message which read:

“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! That’s all it is folks, but conspiracy theories abound these days!”

But, within days, the church was ordered by the Dublin diocese to remove the flag.

The diocese claimed the church could not fly any flag on the grounds apart from national or Papal flags on appropriate occasions.

The church received many messages of support following the initial photo and announcement.

One man wrote that he “never thought I would see” an LGBT flag flying on Church property, writing: “As a religious person and a person who is gay, this is a lovely sight.”

But, Ballyfermot also received others fuming that the message was ‘anti-Catholic’. One person wrote that the church was “not following Christ’s teaching.”

“This is not truth. It is not love. This is false teaching and causing huge suffering,” they wrote.

Fr Egan told the congregation on Sunday Mass that the Church had “received a lot of messages in various forms. Many were aggressive, hostile, nasty, loud, accusatory and condemnatory. They were also claiming we were up to all kinds of things.”

“Because I’m the parish priest, some of it came directed at me. I was the anti-Christ, the heathen, I should be ashamed, I should be removed, I should be dismissed.”

“Somebody said to me, ‘enjoy the next time it snows because you won’t see it where you’re going to’. It did get to me, I will admit,” he said.

The Ballyfermot Anti-Racism Network and the Ballyfermot Youth Service have organised a vigil at the roundabout near the church. They want to show they are “in solidarity with all the Pride community and young people in Ballyfermot”.

People Before Profit Councillor Hazel de Nortúin said that the hateful responses about the Catholic church flying a Pride flag sent by some were “not a true reflection of the people of Ballyfermot.”

The local community will come together “to show we will not be tolerating that sort of behaviour” and to support “those in the area who would have been affected by this.”


Irish Post

Irish Times

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News category: World.

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