People in Dublin are preparing to hold a solidarity vigil after a church in Ballyfermot was ordered to take down a Pride flag by Catholic leaders.
Ballyfermot Assumption Parish Church put up the Pride flag and an Irish flag last Tuesday (15 June) in an effort to show that everyone in the community is welcome.
Speaking to parishioners at mass on Sunday (20 June), Father Adrian Egan said the pastoral council decided to fly the Pride flag and the Irish flag because gay people in the community told them how hurtful the Catholic Church’s anti-LGBT+ stance is, according to TheJournal.ie.
The result, Father Egan said, is that many queer people in the area feel that there is “no place for them” in the church.
Sadly, the Pride flag was removed late last week after the diocese ordered them to take it down, citing a rule that forbids churches from erecting flags.
Under diocese rules, churches are only allowed to fly national flags on specific holidays and no other flags – other than papal flags – are permitted.
In addition to the order to remove the flag, the church also received hurtful and abusive comments on social media over its show of solidarity with the LGBT+ community.
Catholics also hosted a “rosary rally” across the road from the church to protest against the flying of the Pride flag.
Community groups are coming together to show their support after Pride flag furore
Father Egan hit out at the “orchestrated” campaign of hate against the Pride flag, telling parishioners that they were confronted by people who were “aggressive and difficult” over the decision.
“At times it seems to be very orchestrated and organised between an array of different groups who network and say ring this number, make this complaint, this is happening here, put up a comment and so on,” he said.
Members of the community will come together on Friday (26 June) to show their support for the LGBT+ community by hosting a “Ballyfermot Pride” event in response to the flag furore.
The event has been organised by the Ballyfermot Anti-Racism Network and is being supported by youth groups, the local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), LGBT+ groups and elected representatives.
The flags were raised to mark Pride Month in the city, which is situated in the south-east of Ireland. On Monday (21 June), children’s minister Roderic O’Gorman travelled to Waterford to raise the Progress Pride flag in response to the incidents.