A Catholic church in Kentucky held what it called a "Service of Atonement and Apology to the LGBTQ+ Community" on Thursday night – the final night of Pride Month.
Saint Paul Catholic Church in Lexington posted a copy of the program to its Facebook page saying the service was an apology to the community for "the Church's lack of respect, compassion, and sensitivity and for unjust discrimination."
The service was led by the church's director of Catholic LGBTQ+ ministry. In a letter titled "Apologies and Reconciliation," the director wrote: "The words the Church uses to describe me still sting, but I believe we are witnessing the evolution of doctrine, so I have hope. I know many LGBTQ+ persons – far too many – have been hurt by the Church and many have left. So have their families and friends. LGBTQ+ persons left with good reason: to survive. Apologies aren't coveralls for the past wounds, but they are a beginning."
During the "Call to Prayer" portion of the service, the director said: "We gather to celebrate our unique diversity that has not always been celebrated, not always held sacred. We gather to seek reconciliation for the hurtful words and actions of the Church toward LGBTQ+ siblings and their families and friends."
In another prayer, the service called for parishioners to "build a just society and church, for LGBTQ people" and called for their actions to always "include rather than exclude."
The prayer went on to call on God to make parishioners "disruptors of the status quo" and "disruptors of stereotypes, philosophies, or would-be-theologies, that do not consider every person as equal and worthy of dignity."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexual acts are "acts of grave depravity." It says "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and they are "contrary to natural law."
It does, however, go on to state that those with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity." According to the Catechism, homosexual persons are called to chastity.