Father Lengerich & Connor Hake
An American man has been barred from singing at his grandmother’s funeral because his family’s church believes that he is gay.
In a letter, Father Bob J. Lengerich of St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church in Decatur, Indiana, told Connor Hakes that it was his “same-sex attraction” that led to the decision.
The Priest reportedly came to the conclusion that the grieving man is gay because of an old Facebook picture of Hakes attending a Pride event, even though he has not otherwise confirmed his sexuality.
Father Lengerich explained that “same sex relationships or openly advocating for them… causes scandal” in the church and therefore Hakes is not allowed “to offer [his] gifts in service” during his grandmother’s mass.
The priest said that Hakes was more than welcome to honour his grandmother in song “as long as it is outside of the Mass and outside the Church, perhaps in the Funeral Home or Parish Hall [or] at the cemetery…”
In a post on Facebook, a heartbroken Hakes wrote: “I can no longer sing at my Grandma’s funeral, because I attended a gay pride rally and a picture was posted publicly (years ago). The priest’s reasoning is by attending such event, I am opposing the Catholic Church’s fundamental marriage belief.
“Both my Grandma and Grandpa would be disgusted by their parish. Their compassion and empathy was abundant, no matter who you were. They saw beyond race, religion, sexuality, and social class. They loved everyone. That is what is means to be a Christian. That is what it means to be Catholic,” said Hakes
He later went on to add: “This incident is so much bigger than just me. It is about showing the love and respect that my Grandma showed me to everyone. Thank you for the love, support, and prayers. May we pray for the softening of hearts and the healing of those hurt.”