Detroit Dignity Priest Defies Archdiocesan Mandate

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 27, 2020   

Fr. Victor Clore plans to offer illicit Dignity Masses

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Public Masses are currently suppressed throughout the United States in the wake of the Wuhan virus, but once the occasion arises, Fr. Victor Clore fully intends to continue offering Mass for Dignity Detroit despite an archdiocesan directive to the contrary.

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Aux. Bp. Gerard Battersby

Earlier this month, Aux. Bp. Gerard Battersby sent an e-mail to archdiocesan clergy forbidding Dignity Masses. 

"I wish to communicate through this letter that a Mass for Dignity Detroit members one which rejects Church teaching on human sexuality is not possible in any parish church, chapel or diocesan facility, and is indeed forbidden everywhere in the archdiocese of Detroit," Battersby directed. 

Clore responded by sending a letter of direct defiance to archdiocesan clergy on the Feast of Saint Joseph (March 19), saying "there is no question that if such a group ['gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender Catholics'] asks me to celebrate Sunday Eucharist with them, I will simply check my calendar and tell them when I am available that is who I am and what I do."

Dignity vs. Courage

In his e-mail, Battersby explained the reasoning for the decision. "As you know, Dignity Detroit has long operated its ministry in the archdiocese of Detroit while rejecting some of the Church's teachings on sexual morality," he said. "These teachings, though challenging, promote human flourishing and bring joy when received with open hearts."

Mass for Dignity Detroit members one which rejects Church teaching on human sexuality is not possible in any parish church, chapel or diocesan facility. 

"This situation is thus a source of sadness, for those who reject the teachings deprive themselves of the blessings that come with living a life in Christ," Battersby continued. "In response to Synod 16's call to offer the Holy Spirit our 'whole-hearted yes.' ... This [the suppression of Dignity Masses] will no doubt be difficult for some to hear, but it arises from heartfelt pastoral concern for members of Dignity Detroit." 


Battersby further asked for help in supporting apostolates aimed at helping same-sex attracted Catholics live chastely, in accord with Church teaching:

"I ask for your assistance and the assistance of all those ministering in the archdiocese of Detroit to ensure the pastoral care of those who experience same-sex attraction, to support the Courage and EnCourage apostolates, and to refrain from offering Mass anywhere in the archdiocese of Detroit for Dignity Detroit, lest we confuse the faithful by seeming to endorse an alternative and contradictory path to sanctity. 

Whereas Dignity describes itself as "a faith community of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families and friends who unite to celebrate God's love for all persons," Courage describes itself as "men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who have made a commitment to strive for chastity."

Father Clore's Twisting of Church Teaching 

In his letter, Clore asserted that "celibacy was not taught by Christ," but rather "is promoted as an ego strategy to sublimate sexual energy in monastic prayer and community, and to live in a service of love and care, as among Latin Rite priests."

After claiming "the most common genital sexual love is husband and wife," Clore posed three questions:

The question at hand is this: Can same-sex couples engage in supportive, loving, self-giving, fulfilling interactions, growing in love, as married persons do, in mutual care, being vulnerable in the context of promise, trust, fidelity and commitment?

Can they experience God's transcendent love by engaging in faithful, intimate, genital expression? 

Can they form a permanent, self-sacrificing bond of love in the image of Christ?

Similar to Newark Cdl. Joseph Tobin's claim that a "rethinking of the mystery of human sexuality is important, is incumbent," Clore went on to say, "LGBTQ persons ask us to consider these questions with them." 

This will no doubt be difficult for some to hear, but it arises from heartfelt pastoral concern for members of Dignity Detroit.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in section 2396, teaches: "Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography and homosexual practices." 

Pink News, which calls itself "Europe's most-read LGBT news publication," picked up the story and condoned Clore's actions with the headline, "This Catholic priest's take on sex and sexuality is so refreshing it might just take your mind off COVID-19."

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