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Roman Catholic Pastor Admits Harsh Language around LGBT People Will Have to Change

Father Peter Daly, pastor of a conservative Roman Catholic parish near Washington, D.C., says that while he doubts the Catholic Church will change its sacramental view of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the church’s “hyperbolic and harsh language” around LGBT people “will have to change.” 

In the National Catholic Reporter, Father Daly writes about his experience in his parish, St. John Vianney in Prince Frederick, Maryland saying that younger Catholics “nearly always know someone who is out as gay and find it very easy to accept.” He added that the church’s harsh treatment to LGBT Catholics will determine whether these same young people “will remain Catholics.”

While the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops warns of the dangers of accepting LGBT people as members of the Catholic family, Father Daly dispels this fear, ensuring that his parish has generally been unaffected by the participation of same-sex couples in civil marriages.  “We welcome them to the Eucharist if they are Catholics.  We baptize their children. We register the children in our activities and programs, just like any child.  Welcome means welcome.” He later writes, “Maryland legalized gay marriage a little over a year ago.  So far, it has not caused even so much as a ripple in our parish.”

Father Daly does not stand alone as an advocate for LGBT inclusion in the Catholic Church.  He joins a rapidly growing chorus of Catholic voices arguing for equality across the country, and even the globe.  These voices are speaking out not in spite of their faith, but precisely because of their deep commitment to Catholic values.  Just this past February, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said, “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God.  They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people.” 

HRC’s Religion and Faith Program seeks to engage all faith traditions in a deeper dialogue on questions of fairness and equality for LGBT Americans. For more resources from HRC’s Religion and Faith program, visit http://www.hrc.org/issues/religion-faith.

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