A transgender person who claims to be a Christian confronted an Ohio Catholic priest during his sermon last Sunday after the priest denounced an LGBTQ+ nonprofit group, further fanning the flames in an already intense culture war raging in America.
June is Pride Month, and the sparks are already flying in only its second day. With conservatives boycotting businesses such as Target, Bud Light and Kohl's—with the former two losing billions of dollars for recent flamboyant pride ad campaigns—St. Raphael Parish Priest Timothy W. Gareau spoke out against the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Sunday during his sermon, cleveland.com reported. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a pro-LGBTQ non-profit organization in California comprised of an "order of queer and trans nuns."
The group recently received a community hero award from the Los Angeles Dodgers and was invited to the team's LGBTQ+ Pride Night this month.
Garreau spoke his mind clearly about the cultural battle.
"Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers," he said. "Look what's happening. Defaming the name of Jesus Christ. Defaming the name of every Christian here on earth. It just burns a hole in my heart, angers me and embitters me. And it should you.
"I don't want to give these people a name," he said. "I don't want to give them that much credit. But it's happening. And it's being affirmed. I want to cry. But we have the Spirit. We have theSpirit of the living God, who is upon is, who is with us, who is among us and within us."
The report said Garreau didn't specifically mention the Sisters of Perpetual Induglence, but what he said upset his parishioner, and she interrupted the Mass and approached the altar, speaking out against Garreau's criticism.
Later, police were called to incident outside the house of worship, Cleveland.com reported.
The parishioner, whom Cleveland.com said goes by the name of "Avery," said during her speech that "Queer and trans people also carry the Holy Spirit, and that was really painful to hear. That was really hurtful.
"You baptized me," she said. "I carry the Holy Spirit within me. I know you're talking about the Sisters of Indulgence, and I understand that from the outside it looks like they are defaming the Catholic faith. There are queer children here. The spirit of God moves through all people."
Initially after receiving backlash for their decision, the Dodgers retracted the Community Hero Award and withdrew the invitation to attend the team's Pride Night on June 16. Last week, however, the Dodgers apologized and reinvited the group and reinstated the award.
Many parishioners attending the service in Bay Village Sunday said they would not be returning to the church following Garreau's sermon.
In a statement, the diocese said people who disagree with the church's teachings are free to do so, but "are not free to disrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to express their opinion."
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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