Utah priest drops mass for gay catholics

Anthony Cuesta | March 09, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY — A Roman Catholic priest in Utah plans to end a monthly Mass for gays and lesbians after drawing fire from conservative parishioners.

Monsignor Robert Bussen started the service in January at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Park City. According to the Associated Press, some parishioners have complained that Bussen failed to explain the church's position on homosexuality and instead gave mixed messages during a sermon.

“This is not about Father Bob. He's a wonderful, caring man,” St. Mary's parishioner Joseph Ozog told the AP. “We just want to be sure that he's representing the views of the church.”

Catholic Catechism holds that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

At the same time, homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity,” the Catechism says.

Ozog told the Salt Lake Tribune that Bussen seeming to celebrate it rather that help people resist its temptations. "You're not supposed to be ambiguous as far as church teachings are concerned," he told the Tribune. Ozog, who has a tape of the sermon, says it leaves the impression that "it's OK to be a practicing homosexual."

The AP reports that Bussen, who declined to discuss his sexual orientation, said he was trying to reach out to Catholics with gay family members.

"The Mass was more symbolic than anything, reaching out to families who love their church and their children and don't want to have to choose," he told the AP. "They will not tolerate any more rhetoric that attacks their children."

There is no indication that church officials had a role in Bussen's decision to drop the Mass. The last will be March 17.

“He's not doing anything unorthodox,” Monsignor Terrence Fitzgerald said to the Tribune. “We have special Masses for youths, teens, elderly and Hispanic. Our bottom line is to care for the people, and that's what he's doing.” – Issued by Gay Link Content

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