Today was a most interesting day at Basilica, my home for Sunday Mass almost every Sunday.
Inside, it was business as usual. Outside, a short block away in Loring Park was the Gay Pride Festival, and shortly after 9:30 Mass concluded, the Gay Pride Parade would literally pass by the street corner next to the Church. This was an exultant day for the Gay Community, understating the obvious, days after the Supreme Court rulings, and only about a month since Gay Marriage was legislated in Minnesota.
I’m not sure that “Gay” is a proper “one-size-fits-all term in this situation. Nonetheless, I’m happy for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community this day. I’m straight. The issue has never bothered me.
The guy at Archdiocesan headquarters – the local Archbishop here – is probably not in a celebratory mood. He has spent years and loads of anonymously donated money to make sure Gays could never marry, including a massive and expensive campaign back in 2010 – a DVD in every Catholics mailbox.
But the LGBT community can celebrate, and (I believe) largely because the Gays have come out of the shadows and made themselves known in families everywhere, there is now no going back. Living anonymously didn’t work. They won’t be anonymous again, thankfully.
(Someone in our family called our attention this morning to this video in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. One of the two in the video is a relative of ours; her Dad is seen momentarily as well. A wonderful man in one of the groups I belong to announced the wedding of he and his partner on Sep 21. “Sorry you can’t expect an invitation – it will be a big wedding”, he said. The nephew of my daily coffee buddy came out a couple of years ago…and on and on.)
As Catholic parishes go, my Church is a welcoming place for the LGBT community. Indeed, one of the intercessions this day was “for respect for all people [including their] sexuality.”
Still there are and will continue to be discomforts. Coming in, today, I met two friends in my age group. There were a couple of “wink and nod” kinds of comments about what was going on in Loring Park and would be, later, on Hennepin Avenue. I didn’t nod. There are ways to send messages without making a scene.
Going out of Church I took a photo towards Hennepin Avenue outside:
I was thinking back to a day a few years ago when I took another photo from the other side of the street, and wrote a blog about what I was experiencing that particular day, October 3, 2010.
The blog speaks for itself.
Lucinda’s project, along with others efforts, was immensely successful, but the wounds remain to this day.
Leaving the Church I had some free ice cream, and passed on the opportunity to write a postcard to my lawmakers supporting the euphemistically named initiative for “religious freedom”, which is a major campaign of the hierarchy of my Catholic Church, and has no useful effect other than to work towards increasing the power of the Catholic Church in the public square. NOT a good idea.
Back home, I took a photo of a reminder of Lucinda’s project back in 2010. It has remained prominently displayed in our house ever since we purchased it, a constant reminder about one of the ways a supposedly powerful ad campaign can be turned on its head. There are 15 of those DVDs in the sculpture, all of them once featuring the Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis campaigning to prevent what the LGBT community is celebrating this day.
There is a message for advocates in that, and not just advocates for the Gay community….