KANSAS CITY, MO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholics are pushing back at news that Dan Schutte, a former Jesuit and active homosexual, is offering a concert at a Catholic parish in Missouri.
Schutte will be performing at Our Lady of Visitation in Kansas City on April 28. Tickets cost $20. Schutte composed a number of hymns that were included in the Gather hymnal, commonplace in Catholic parishes in the Unites States. Traditional-minded Catholics often criticize Gather for being sappy and secularized.
Among his best known songs are "Here I Am, Lord," what some have described as the "gay anthem" of LGBT Catholics. The 70-year-old composer is himself widely believed to be an active homosexual after leaving priestly formation with the Jesuits. According to a 2004 article by Dr. Brian J. Kopp, Schutte is "a partnered gay man."
Schutte and a man named Mike Gale were named as "partners" in Marie Schutte's obituary, Dan Schutte's mother. Further investigation revealed both men lived at the same address in San Francisco, and together formed the now-defunct group Pilgrim Music.
Schutte has not publicly commented on his sexuality. According to a 2014 USA Today article, "Schutte said he never publicly discusses his own personal life in relation to his music because he said it can affect how people experience the music itself."
Church Militant reached out to the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri. A diocesan administrator told Church Militant he is not privy to how the bishop is responding to the scandal, but he personally objected to the concert, saying it is against Church law for a parish to charge admission for a performance on church grounds.
Accepting donations at the door for an in-church concert is acceptable, but charging a mandatory admission fee violates a rule stipulated by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Vatican liturgical authority said in a 1987 declaration on having concerts in churches, "Entrance to the church [for concerts] must be without payment and open to all."
Church Militant contacted the local branch of National Association of Pastoral Musicians, sponsoring the event at Our Lady of Visitation parish, but as of press time received no response.
In the archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, Church Militant contacted Vicar General of Pastoral Affairs Fr. Gary Pennings, who declined to comment, noting that the scandal pertained more to the Missouri diocese.
Schutte's songs are among the most popular in the Gather book, rivaling the compositions of Marty Haugen — a Lutheran whose songs are all over the hymnal's pages. In a satirical song about the state of affairs in the Church, First Things contributor Clare Coffey referred to the Gather hymnal as "that infernal Haugen hymnal-book."
Schutte was in formation with the Society of Jesus in the 1970s in St. Louis, Missouri. He and a handful of other Jesuits in formation wrote new songs for the liturgy, and became known as the St. Louis Jesuits. Consisting of Bob Dufford, John Foley, Tim Manion, Roc O'Connor and Dan Schutte, the group of songwriters introduced folk, pop and rock music to the liturgy in the United States.
Gale, who has been listed as Schutte's same-sex partner, published a book in 2006 called The St. Louis Jesuits: Thirty Years. It details the group's rise to fame during the liturgical innovations of the 1970s, and heaps praise on their work. The publisher of the book was Oregon Catholic Press, an organization with a history of promoting the work of Schutte and the other St. Louis Jesuits.