Picton church discourages members from attending Pride month events

A Roman Catholic church in Prince Edward County is 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.”

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.

He said: “because as a shepherd, 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.

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

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.

“In Prince Edward County, we aspire to foster an inclusive and diverse community,” he said. “I applaud the Picton BIA’s work to expand Pride Week activities in The County this year. I also support Picton BIA installing pride banners along Picton Main Street in order to make the community more visibly inclusive to all visitors as well as the growing LGBTQ2S+ community in Prince Edward County.”

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.

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