Connor Hakes, 23, asked to perform at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church after learning of his grandmother’s death on Nov. 21.
Hakes says he and his family have been longtime members of the parish, so he was saddened when Father Bob J. Lengerich denied his request in a lengthy letter that has since been made public. [Can be viewed at the linked article.]
In the letter, Lengerich said he was concerned that Hakes was living a same-sex lifestyle and openly advocating for LGBT rights.
“Anytime someone sins and then acts in the name of God, it causes scandal,” said Lengerich. “This is the main reason why you cannot (at this time) offer your gifts in service at St. Mary’s.”
The letter goes on to say that any person who serves in the church or as a representative of the church must uphold the church’s values.
The church suggested Hakes should perform his tribute outside of the church, saying “you are more than welcome to honor your Grandmother with a special tribute in song as long as it is outside of the Mass and outside of the Church, perhaps at the Funeral Home or Parish Hall during the viewing, at the cemetery after the committal and/or even at the luncheon.”
Hakes, who studied singing at Indiana University, says he’s performed at the church for several years, but he wasn’t surprised by Lengerich’s response.
“It was very clear that he had judged me and formed and opinion about me,” said Hakes. “There was no reason to believe I would be changing his mind.”
Hakes says the church’s decision was partly based on a photo that was posted on Facebook last year, which shows him attending a gay pride rally with friends.
Hakes says he believes his grandparents would be “disgusted” by the church’s decision.
“Their compassion and empathy was abundant, no matter who you were,” said Hakes. “They saw beyond race, religion, sexuality, and social class. They loved everyone. That is what it means to be a Christian. That is what it means to be Catholic.”
The church has responded with their usual mealy mouthed nothingness. It would be a bit more on point if they whacked their parish priest over the head with the need for actual morals. Oh wait…yeah, that won’t happen.
Full story here.