Crowd protests outside church in Picton after priest publishes anti-Pride statement

A crowd of protesters waving rainbow flags, and carrying signs protested outside a Catholic Church in Picton Sunday morning in response to an anti-Pride message in the weekly bulletin.

The protest was organized after the church priest, Father Robert Chisholm published a message telling church members not to attend any Pride Month events because they go against Christian faith and morals.

“I don’t know where he’s coming from,” said parishioner John Simmons whose daughter was baptized at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church 38 years ago. Simmons added, “He kinda sounds to me like we’ve got our own Westboro Baptist Church here in Picton.”

Among the crowd of around 500 people, were members and supporters of the Prince Edward County Gay-Straight Alliance Facebook group.

Carolyn Cole started the group after the bulletin was published. At the rally today she said, “I feel like he (Fr. Chisholm) should be forced to apologize, and if he doesn’t choose to apologize he should lose his job here.”

Father Chisholm isn’t giving any interviews about the controversy.  But the Archbishop of Kingston, Michael Mulhall did release a statement, saying in part, “I did not sanction this message, and it does not reflect the spirit of accompanying charity and compassion that should always characterize our faith.” The statement goes on to say, “The Archdiocese has spoken with the pastor of the parish. He regrets any hurt that his inappropriate comments have caused.”

As parishioners came and went from the church for Sunday mass, they were met by a crowd singing songs about love building bridges, and carrying signs with slogans like; “Hate is not a Christian value,” “Pride not prejudice,” and “There is a cure for homophobia: education.”

Officers from the Ontario Provincial Police kept an eye on the protest.  But no arrests were made.