Italy’s Catholics Push Back Against Gay Pride Parade

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by Juliana Freitag  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 26, 2017   

Catholics planning public day of reparation receive no support from local clergy

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"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It's up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church." ~Ven. Abp. Fulton J. Sheen
 
Last week Catholics from Reggio Emilia in northern Italy decided to take action against the first-ever gay pride parade to take place in their town on June 3.
 
The town of Reggio Emilia, currently under the rule of Italy's Democratic Party, also hosted the registration of the first civil union between two homosexual men, immediately after the controversial law was sanctioned last year.
 
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Flyer for event in reparation of gay pride parade
When a group of faithful heard the city would be the stage for the official beginning of "gay pride season," with full support of the mayor and city funds, they created Comitato Beata Giovanna Scopelli (Committee Bl. Giovanna Scopelli, in honor of Carmelite Bl. Reggio Emilia) and announced the organization of a reparative procession on the same day as the LGBT parade.
 
Emails to Catholic blogs and journalists followed, and soon the committee was an item on every national news outlet in Italy. The reason for all the attention was the delivery of the grim truth: Homosexuality is objectively disordered.
 
The committee isn't subtle. Its flyer depicts the scourging of Christ with a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae: "Wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God, the Author of nature."
 
Their first public statement read:
[O]ur aim is to organize a great procession in reparation for the public scandal that the gay pride [parade] will cause. ... The impure sin against nature, as taught by the Catechism, cries to Heaven for vengeance. ... As Catholics, we must make these our worries again, showing and expressing our faith, especially in public. In defense of the only real Creed ... in defense of the virtues of purity and chastity, and of everything our Holy Mother Church has entrusted us to do along the centuries. ... The moment has arrived for all Catholics of good will to unite, as it once happened during the gay pride [parade] of 2000 in Rome, where many factions of Catholics came together for reparation, under the name "Committee for a Christian Rome." 
The criticism started pouring in from the public administration, the press, LGBT communities and celebrities.
Arcigay, the LGBT group behind the gay pride rally, couldn't miss the opportunity of being blasphemous and used the procession to promote its official late-night event as the "party for re-reparation of sins." And Dario de Lucia, town councilor for the Democratic Party, said he would like to meet and confront the group "so I can give each of them a hug and replace with love all the hate they have in their hearts." 
 
 
This is all expected; Christians are not of this world. The real disappointment came when the attacks started coming from Catholics themselves, once again proving that the main problem with the Church today is the enemy within. 
 
The headlines all over the newspapers were "Curia Distances Itself From Traditionalist Group." Edoardo Tincani, spokesman of Bp. Massimo Camisasca, declared on Reggio online, "The diocese wishes to disassociate from the Committee Bd. Giovanna Scopelli, whose names of reference are completely unknown to us. We were unaware of their initiative. Our approval for this demonstration wasn't requested by the diocese, not even for the use of the cathedral's porch" (where the procession was set to begin).
 
Tincani added that he learned of the group's intentions from the newspapers, and therefore "the diocese will not approve the use of the cathedral's premises for this activity." But the pro-family organizers are rejecting Tincani's portrayal, confirming with Church Militant that a member of the committee had been to the diocese "long before the media chaos started in order to let them know we were organizing the act of reparation." 
 
Alberto Nicolini, president of a local chapter of Arcigay, asked Bp. Massimo Camisasca to take a stance on the issue "because silence perpetrates violence."
 
Church Militant asked the committee what its thoughts are regarding the curia's lack of support. "Formally, Camisasca still hasn't spoken," the group told Church Militant. "We are hoping he'll do it in person, soon and unequivocally." 
 
A local priest had harsh words for the pro-family committee. Father Giordano Goccini, responsible for Reggio Emilia's Youth Pastoral, remarked in an interview to local newspaper Gazzetta di Reggio, "They'd be better off praying in a church rather than taking [to the public square]. Praying for other people's sins is presumptuous."
 
The priest went so far as to claim the pro-family group aren't Catholics. "Their arguments create controversy with the bishop and the pope," he complained. "They are not in communion with the universal Church. We shouldn't call them Catholics." 
 
This revolting display of lukewarm, politically whitewashed faith, triggered a series of responses from Catholic periodicals.
This revolting display of lukewarm, politically whitewashed faith, triggered a series of responses from Catholic periodicals. La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana published a piece explaining to Fr. Goccini the basic theology of Catholic reparation, stating:
[T]he ignorance of the most fundamental professional competences that we take for granted in a priest is the cause of such gross errors. That ... together with the obscene ideological manipulation of the language they use to treat the most beautiful and most sacred themes of the Catholic Faith. This is how we arrive to the incredible point where we hear a priest say that offering prayers to God in reparation for the sins committed in the world is presumptuous! 
They also quote the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Pope Pius XI as the perfect summary of what it means to pray in reparation of sins: "O sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thy altar eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries, to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject."
 
It was also Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, who said:
The creature's love should be given in return for the love of the Creator; another thing follows from this at once, namely that to the same uncreated Love, if so be it has been neglected by forgetfulness or violated by offense, some sort of compensation must be rendered for the injury, and this debt is commonly called by the name of reparation.
Father Giorgio Bellei from the diocese of Modena wrote a letter of correction to fellow Fr. Goccini. "You have sentenced that those from the committee shouldn't define themselves as Catholics because they aren't in communion with the Church," he noted. "Haven't you judged them harshly?
 
Members of the committee who attended last weekend's March for Life in Rome used the opportunity to ask for Cdl. Raymond Burke's blessing. Cardinal Burke, who recently declared he'd participate in the march "until I have the strength to do so," gave his official blessing to the pro-marriage group  in the form of a handwritten note offering his blessing and signed by the prelate. Burke's approval of the group created more expectations that Bp. Camisasca would break his silence — something he has yet to do. 
 
Church Militant asked the committee if it feared physical attacks from LGBT protesters, considering all the controversy surrounding its procession. "We're still planning security," the group told Church Militant, "but they [LGBT protestors] had better watch out — there will be too many of us." 
 

 

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Juliana Freitag

Juliana Freitag is Church Militant's Italian correspondent.