April 3, 2019
To the Parishioners of Star of the Sea Parish:
I’m aware that the recent news of not allowing our parish hall to be rented to the Pride Society of White Rock has occasioned a variety of responses from the public, some in support of our stance, and others in opposition. And because the sign on the front of the building says “Star of the Sea Community Center” it is somehow being perceived as a public facility rather than a privately owned one, which is a misunderstanding. We will adjust the sign for greater clarity. We do allow others to use our hall as long as they are not in conflict with the mission and values of the Parish.
The contract that is used for any prospective renter states clearly the parameters for those outside groups that express interest in the use of our hall, ie: “The Renter acknowledges that the Premises may in no event be used for any purpose which is unlawful or contrary to the practices, or teaching on matters of faith and morals, of the Roman Catholic Church as interpreted by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.”
The Pride Society would clearly fall within the context of those who promote, practice, and celebrate the intimacy of same sex individuals, the practice of same sex marriage, and the homosexual lifestyle of these proponents. This is in stark contrast to the teaching of the Catholic Church that upholds the sanctity of the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, and the call to live a chaste life for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, outside the sacred bond of marriage. While the Church teaches the sanctity of marriage and the purity of life for all, she also teaches that all people, no matter their chosen walk of life, are beloved children of God, created by Him and in need of His loving care and mercy – everyone! The Catholic Church teaches that we hold all people in this loving regard, with an inherent right to respect and dignity, even those who live far outside her teaching.
In speaking of the love and compassion Christ and His Church has for all, it doesn’t mean that we need to cooperate in the activities of groups that are diametrically opposed to the Church’s teachings on faith and morals. Some have taken the position that the use of our facilities should be without restriction, even though they stand in contrast to our Catholic beliefs and values. That would suggest that we couldn’t decline to let our hall be used by groups such as those espousing hatred against a minority or ethnic group, or those wanting to raise funds for the sake of promoting abortion or euthanasia and assisted dying. Our Catholic facilities would not be open for such groups to use.
Our parish is a community of faith with the mission to follow Jesus Christ and to invite others to do the same. Our values are to live by faith based principles rooted in the New Testament, and our doors are open to any who want to follow the Lord and become a member of his Church.
Once again, the use of our churches, our living quarters, our school, our hall, and our meeting rooms, are to bear witness to these faith based principles, even when it seems unpopular to do so.
Thank you for your concern in this matter.
Fr. Glenn Dion