Indiana Priest Kicks LGBT Catholic Group Out Of Church After 12 Years

The pastor reportedly urged the group to repent for "struggling with same-sex attractions."

An LGBT Catholic group has been forced to find a new venue for their monthly meetings after the new pastor of St. Mary parish in Evansville, Indiana, where the group has met for the last 12 years, unceremoniously kicked them out because they are “not operating in compliance with the Roman Catholic Church rules.”

Father Gordon Mann told the members of Rainbow Catholics in Christ (RCC) to leave in February, but the group only recently revealed his decision publicly, Church Militant reports.

According to the Evansville Courier & Press, RCC meets monthly to pray and discuss social topics like “LGBTQ advocacy, fairness in employment and housing, and human sexuality and spirituality.”

Father Mann, who took over the church in January, reportedly told the group they could continue meeting at St. Mary if they adhered to the rules of Courage/EnCourage, a Catholic outreach group that organizes meetings for people “struggling with same-sex attractions.”

RCC members claim turning their group into a Courage group would inflict “spiritual and psychological harm” on members, as it teaches that same-sex attraction is unnatural, and that people with same-sex attractions should remain chaste and frequently attend confession.

Writing about her experience in an op-ed for the Courier & Press, former St. Mary parishioner Kirstin Ethridge said she was leaving the church as it is no longer “a safe space for all people, including LGBT+ Catholics”:

As soon as I was old enough, I participated in many ministries, from greeting people at the church doors to teaching First Communion classes, because I wished to contribute to this wonderful mission of God’s love. Due to the church’s change of heart, I have had to resign from my multiple ministry positions. As I said in my resignation letter, “I cannot in good conscience continue to teach at a parish which excludes. Even if I do not explicitly teach exclusion, by remaining a First Communion teacher, I would be complicit in such exclusion.”

Since leaving St. Mary, the RCC had found a temporary home at a local library before moving permanently to St. Lucas United Church of Christ in Evansville.

Father Mann refused to comment on the matter, but the diocese of Evansville affirmed that “all are welcome” at any church in a public statement.

“The Church’s respect for the dignity of every person as created in the image of God has remained consistent throughout time,” he said. “Outreach to people across society — including the LGBT community here in the Tri-State and across the world — continues to be founded in that respect for the sacredness of every person. All are welcome.”

Matthew Tharrett is a writer, filmmaker, and above all else, a Britney fan. He once shared a milkshake with Selena Gomez.