KANSAS CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A homosexual hymn-writer was scheduled to perform at a Catholic parish, but the event has been moved off church grounds after pushback.
Church Militant reported Wednesday that Dan Schutte, an ex-Jesuit priest and homosexual, was scheduled to perform April 28 at Our Lady of Visitation parish in Kansas City, Missouri. A number of locals wrote to the diocese expressing concern, and Catholics responded strongly to the news report of Schutte's appearance on diocesan property.
Now sources are confirming that the venue is being moved off parish property to a new location.
Many of Schutte's songs have been published in the Gather book and other popular "contemporary" hymnals. Perhaps the best known of his songs is "Here I Am, Lord," which some have described as a "gay anthem."
The 70-year-old composer is himself widely believed to be an active homosexual. 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 the obituary of Marie Schutte, Dan Schutte's mother. Further investigation revealed both men lived at the same address in San Francisco. Together, the pair formed the now-defunct group Pilgrim Music.
Schutte himself has not spoken publicly about 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."
Earlier this week, a diocesan employee told Church Militant that he personally objected to the concert, noting that it is against Church law for a parish to charge admission for a performance inside a church. Accepting donations at the door is acceptable, but charging an 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, "Entrance to the church [for concerts] must be without payment and open to all."
Decades ago, Schutte was a member of the St. Louis Jesuits, a group of men in priestly formation with the Society of Jesus back in the 1970s who penned folksy worship songs and played them during Mass. Some of the St. Louis Jesuits, including Schutte, would leave formation in the years that followed. Others would go on to enter the priesthood.
The St. Louis Jesuits — consisting of Bob Dufford, John Foley, Tim Manion, Roc O'Connor and Dan Schutte — were instrumental in bringing contemporary folksy pop music into Catholic liturgy. Their compositions, especially those of Schutte, have become commonplace at Novus Ordo parishes throughout the United States.