ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics in the archdiocese of Atlanta protested the sex abuse crisis and homoheresy outside the cathedral on Sunday.
About 20 to 30 protesters turned up Sunday morning outside Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta, including members of Church Militant's Resistance. Among their grievances were the priest sex abuse scandal, the archdiocese's acceptance of the homosexual agenda and Abp. Wilton Gregory's recent decision to invite pro-gay celebrity Jesuit Fr. James Martin to speaking gigs in October.
James Dirr, a Resistance member, told Church Militant that the atmosphere Sunday morning was, for the most part, "very quiet, very peaceful."
Dirr said that protesters had a few calm discussions with passersby about what they were there for. He noted, "There was nobody rude on either side. It was very polite."
"I did not see any confrontations," he added.
Dirr told Church Militant he did not witness the reporters and cameramen, so they probably arrived at a time when he was not there.
In the 11Alive video report, one of the protesters slammed the sex abuse crisis, saying, "It's disgusting, and it's ridiculous, and it's completely unacceptable in our Church."
Protesters held signs saying things like, "Protect Our Children" and "No More Cover-Ups in the Catholic Church."
One large placard showed a photo of Abp. Gregory next to disgraced ex-Cdl. Theodore McCarrick with the caption, "McCarrick and Gregory Failed us in 2002."
Some signs addressed the homoheresy, with one stating, "STOP Fr. Martin's Homosexual Agenda."
There was also a large banner with a quote from St. Catherine of Siena: "We've had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence."
Responding to Sunday's protest, the archdiocese cited Abp. Gregory's statement last month on the sex abuse allegations against McCarrick and his subsequent removal from the College of Cardinals.
In that Aug. 9 statement, Abp. Gregory tried to convey sympathy with the laity over the scandal, saying, "I express my profound anger, sadness and distress."
The archbishop's statement also said, "I am hurt, because my respect and fraternal esteem for Theodore McCarrick were clearly misplaced."
Some of the protesters told WGCL that the protest was about the priest sex abuse crisis; but others said they were opposing Abp. Gregory's decision to invite Fr. Martin to give speeches at two parishes in the archdiocese.
Father Martin has said that gay couples should be comfortable kissing during the Sign of Peace at Mass; that members of the LGBT community are not obligated to be chaste because they have not "accepted" the teaching; and that men who leave the gay lifestyle and practice chastity are living a lifestyle that is not "integrated."
The fact that Fr. Martin was invited to speak in Atlanta, according to some, is just a consequence of the pro-gay agenda being advanced in the archdiocese of Atlanta under Abp. Gregory.
Archbishop Gregory has welcomed pro-LGBT group Fortunate Families into the Atlanta archdiocese.
One parish in the archdiocese, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is notoriously pro-gay. The shrine sends a delegation to Atlanta's gay pride parade annually. Archbishop Gregory allows it year after year, despite outcry from faithful Catholics.
In August, some faithful Catholics were outraged that the pastor of the pro-gay shrine, Msgr. Henry Gracz, is also one the of the archdiocese's three official spiritual directors for victims of clerical sex abuse. They are worried that a priest who heads a pro-gay parish would have a blind spot concerning the role of homosexuality in the clerical sex abuse crisis.