A group of Catholics holding the banner of their parish, St. Andrews, marched in the Portland Pride march today despite being asked by their archbishop not to.


This year, members of St. Andrew Catholic Church, who have been participating in the parade since 2001, were asked specifically not to carry a banner representing the church.

But they did just that.

“It has been a very important part of our ministry and our outreach,” said parishioner Joy Wallace, who is co-chair of the Welcoming the Whole Family Committee.

She said many parishioners were surprised when newly installed Archbishop Alexander K. Sample asked the church to skip the parade this year.

“The archbishop would prefer no parishes be in the gay pride parade and be identified as a parish,” said Wallace. “As individuals we could walk but not as an identified church.”

But parishioners say representing their church is the whole point. That’s why church leaders made the decision to march in the parade despite the archbishop’s request.

“It isn’t a case where we are trying to be disobedient,” said parishioner Jerry Deas, who is also a co-chair of the Welcoming the Whole Family Committee. “We’re trying to be obedient to the gospels and obedient to this mission.”

One might wonder where they’d get the idea this was acceptable.

Well, the banner on top of the home page of St. Andrews reads:

St. Andrew is a faith community baptized into one body, which honors and celebrates diversity. We welcome and include persons of every color, language, ethnicity, origin, ability, sexual orientation, gender expression, marital status, and life situation.

Oh. That’s where.

The parish’s “Whole Family Committee” states on the parish website this description:

St. Andrew is proud of its ministry to gay, lesbian, transgendered, questioning and queer people since 1996. The Welcoming the Whole Family Committee consists of lots of straight allies, as well as gay people, who work to make our parish a welcoming place to all people.

Goal: To support St. Andrew Parish in its mission to honor and celebrate diversity, especially in making gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual Catholics feel welcome.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with tolerance and welcoming. But too often that’s code for anything goes.