By DONALD DeMARCO
Should Catholic teachers march in Toronto’s annual Gay Pride parade? This is the question that has caused considerable controversy and division with the ranks of Ontario Catholics. The Catholic teachers union voted to send as many as 100 teachers to the parade. On the other hand, Fr. Fred Scinto, CR, an adviser for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, dispatched a five-page letter detailing why Catholics should not participate in the parade (that took place on June 29, 2014).
The president of the teachers union stated that “it’s important to have a visible demonstration of support for our Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) students and staff.” Fr. Scinto pointed out that the parade is “lewd, crude, and rude” and that it displays “anti-social and burlesque elements of bondage and nudity.”
The debate, if one can call it that, is a curious one. The Catholic schools in Ontario have bent over backward to support all students ranging from initiating a policy of “zero tolerance on any expressed bigotry to inclusive clubs.” This is in step with the Church’s Pastoral Care of Homosexuals (1986) which states: “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionistic reference to his or her sexual orientation.”
There is, indeed, an issue of support, but those who march in the parade are withdrawing their support not only from Catholic teaching, but from all their colleagues who are faithful Catholic. The teachers union should be concerned about failing to support Catholics at a time when they truly need support.
In addition, the parade is not centered on the humanity and dignity of the participants, but on the lifestyle of the LGBTQ marchers. How can Catholics in good conscience support a public mockery of marriage, a celebration of sexual promiscuity, and activities that, under ordinary circumstance, would be regarded as crimes against human decency?
There are serious adverse consequences to the LGBTQ lifestyle and it pays no respect to its practitioners to deny them. As the Vatican documents states, “Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.” Those Catholics who march in the parade, by supporting a dangerous lifestyle, become accomplices in immorality rather than supporters of human dignity.
Pride is the most insidious of the seven deadly sins. Its species include vainglory, boasting, ambition, and ostentation. It also includes hypocrisy, which is the least tolerated and most embarrassing of the group. Hypocrisy is the deliberate attempt to convince others that you are better than really are. It is a form of phoniness that does not set well with people.
No one is immune to the temptations of being a hypocrite. When hypocrisy strikes, we are prone to disguise it in ingenious ways. One may convince himself that by marching in the Gay Pride parade he is superior to other Catholics (the “homophobic” ones) because he is more “inclusive” less bound by tradition, an apostle of “diversity,” an unswerving enemy of “discrimination.” Yet these may well be masks that disguise the fact that one is trying to prove his moral superiority.
Pride, including each one of its species, can be blinding. St. Paul uses homosexual behavior as an example of the blindness which has overcome mankind (Romans 1:18-32). St. Thomas Aquinas notes that the greatest kindness one can perform for a friend is to lead him from error to truth. Catholics should support truth. They are called to love the sinner but not the sin. They are straying from their rightful path when they support sin.
Catholic heterosexuals routinely condemn sexual promiscuity among themselves. They do not seek to justify immoral actions by organizing a parade and calling it an expression of their “pride.” Pride can be deceptive, and hypocrisy may be its most insidious manifestation. Catholics are called to be humble and to manifest that virtue in the confessional. The pride parade and the humble Confession represent the absolute polarities of the moral universe.
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(Donald DeMarco is a senior fellow of Human Life International. He is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., and a regular columnist for St. Austin Review. Some of his recent writings may be found at Human Life International’s Truth & Charity Forum.)