June 14, 2019 3:18 pm
Updated: June 16, 2019 8:38 pm

Picton church allegedly discouraging members from attending Pride month events

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A Roman Catholic church in Prince Edward County is allegedly telling its members and “all Christians” to stay away from Pride events this month.

St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church included a note in its weekly bulletin, written by Father Robert Chisholm.

In the note, Chisholm wrote the events “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals.

“This is especially harmful to children because it could lead them away from God’s revealed Truth,” the note continued.

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When contacted by Global News for an on-camera interview, Chisholm refused but did briefly explain why he included the note about Pride month in the church newsletter.

READ MORE: Pride month: Honouring the LGBTQ2 community’s progress and recognizing the work still to be done

“Because as a shepherd,” he said, “it’s my duty to keep my flock safe.” When asked to elaborate, he said he was “very busy” and then hung up the phone.

The Archbishop of Kingston, Michael Mulhall, responded to queries from Global News with a statement:

“I did not sanction this message, and it does not reflect the spirit of accompanying charity and compassion that should always characterize our faith. The archdiocese has spoken with the pastor of the parish. He regrets any hurt his inappropriate comments have caused.”

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Meanwhile, reaction to the newsletter has been swift. Picton resident Carolyn Cole set up a Facebook group on Thursday titled “Prince Edward County Gay-Straight Alliance.”

“I was really surprised to see Picton didn’t already have a Gay-Straight Alliance Page, so I started one,” she said.

As of Friday afternoon, almost 200 people started following the page and sharing its message.

“After the Prince Edward County Community Page denied those defending the LGBTQ+ community from persecution that has taken place in the county, I have made this page as an outlet for conversation,” Cole wrote on her newly created Facebook page.

Prince Edward County mayor Steve Ferguson was also critical of St. Gregory’s position.

“I was disappointed to read these critical remarks about Pride Week in Prince Edward County,” he said in a statement.

READ MORE: Officials kick off Pride month at Toronto city hall with flag-raising ceremony

“In Prince Edward County, we aspire to foster an inclusive and diverse community,” he said.

The Prince Edward County Gay-Straight Alliance is planning a protest at St. Gregory’s at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 30 minutes before the second mass of the day.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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