MOTHERWELL, Scotland (ChurchMilitant.com) - A bishop in Scotland is condemning one priest's pro-LGBT advocacy.
"I take issue with Fr. Morton's uncritical approval of the Gay Pride marches," Bp. Joseph Toal of Scotland's Motherwell diocese told Church Militant. "Footage of any such marches often show people dressed as priests and nuns with the clear intention of belittling and making a fool of the Catholic Church."
Church Militant reported Friday that Fr. Paul Morton, parish priest of St. Bride's Church in Cambuslang in southeastern Glasgow, had published an open letter on his church's Facebook page criticizing a fellow priest for refusing to promote the LGBT Pride parade. Instead, Fr. Mark Morris had offered a Rosary in reparation "for the gross offense to God which is Pride Glasgow."
As a result of Morris' reparation service, he was fired last week as chaplain at Glasgow Caledonian University, which claimed his beliefs were "antithetical to [the views] held by the University."
Morton added to the criticism, publicly scolding Morris for a position that "deeply hurt" those who identify as LGBT.
"Many have especially come to see Pride as an event that is both a culturally liberating and joyous moment in the lives of people who identify in this way," Morton added.
After backlash from faithful Catholics, Morton took down his letter from Facebook Friday afternoon. His bishop is also expressing disapproval of Morton's actions. In a response to Church Militant's query Saturday, Bp. Toal wrote:
While Fr. Morton feels justified in telling Fr Morris that he should have sought the permission and support of his Ordinary before having the Rosary in Reparation for the Gay Pride Gathering, I don't see him applying the same rule to himself in regard to seeking my permission, as his Ordinary, in writing his open letter to Fr. Morris. Fr. Morton chooses therefore to speak on this matter as an individual and he does not represent me nor the Diocese of Motherwell.
I take issue with Fr. Morton's uncritical approval of the Gay Pride marches. Footage of any such marches often show people dressed as priests and nuns with the clear intention of belittling and making a fool of the Catholic Church. I understand why they engage in this tomfoolery but for me and other Catholics it creates a negative impression and probably a dislike of such events. I don't agree therefore with Fr Morton's uncritical approval of activities which mock the Church of which he is a public representative. We do need to support and minister to those in our Church who experience same-sex attraction but we can't deny the Church's teaching and throw in our lot with those who do so.
+ Joseph Toal
Meanwhile, Catholics have asked the bishop to lend his public support to Fr. Morris, and a petition is circulating seeking signatures on behalf of the orthodox priest.
Individuals can add their names to the petition at this link.