Catholic priest flies Pride flag in front of church
It’s a sight that years ago would have been pretty unlikely, some people even surprised by it today. The pride flag flying high outside this Catholic church in Little Bras d’Or.
“Just a little bit of negative feedback, a few emails, people quoting the bible, I would say out of context,” Father Peter McLeod, the St. Joseph’s Parish priest said about some of the reactions. “Generally though, it's been positive.”
The reaction has also been positive from Madonna Doucette, a member of the LGBTQ community in Cape Breton.
“With a Catholic church, you don't usually hear of that ever happening, especially in small-town cape Breton,” Doucette said. “But individuals can be the difference makers within their organization and clearly this priest has a mission to send a message out that they're all loved, I think it's a great start.”
McLeod says he was approached by two members of his congregation during Sydney's pride festival to fly the flag.
He feels it was a chance for his church to make a statement of inclusion that it’s something that needs to be looked at further.
“I’ve seen the effects of the bigotry and prejudice against some of these people, especially younger people,” McLeod said. “It's a painful thing to see.”
While Doucette supports the move, she's skeptical that much will change.
McLeod says he did speak to the bishop about the flying the flag, those conversations were, as he puts it, “positive.”
We tried reaching out to the Diocese of Antigonish for comment, but they didn't respond by news time.
“Catholicism is not a religion that is known for being deeply accepting of the LGBTQ community and in fact as we all know there's countries all over the world that are still persecuting gay, and trans individuals for their identities,” Doucette said. “A lot of that is leveraged by the beliefs of the Catholic church.”
While the flag is down here at the church now, McLeod is not ruling out putting it back up next year.
McLeod thinks it's a symbol that should make everyone feel comfortable and non-judgmental; a message he feels the church should pay attention to.
“Over the centuries, there has been a lot of pain meted out to members of the LGBTQ community,” McLeod said. “That's something as time will unfold, we will probably have to recant for.”
McLeod says the bishop was apprehensive at the time because it’s something new for the church, but, he says, it's an experience in which the positive has outweighed the negative.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.