CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Respectful debate needed on Pride flag, Fabbro says

  • June 4, 2021

Bishop Ron Fabbro wants a more intelligent and respectful debate about Catholic institutions flying Pride flags.

“It is unfortunate that public discussion around the flag is often not respectful and thoughtful,” Fabbro told The Catholic Register in an email.

While the London, Ont., bishop is not endorsing King’s University College’s decision to fly the Progress Pride Flag for the month of June, he wants Catholics to read and understand the reasons King’s has given for flying the flag.

“While King’s and others have embraced the flag to be welcoming and inclusive, it is a source of confusion for others in the Catholic community,” Fabbro said. “For many, it goes beyond being welcoming and inclusive and shows support for political causes that are at odds with traditional religious beliefs. Flags are symbols and as such are subject to various interpretations. The Church does not accept every interpretation that is given to this flag and for this reason I do not endorse raising the flag in our Catholic university and schools.”

The version of the Pride Flag King’s will fly adds an arrow-like chevron of additional colours to represent the transgendered, marginalized people of colour, people living with AIDS, those who have died from the disease and the stigma associated with AIDS.

“The Progress Pride Flag positions King’s as a community that is seeking to care for the entire human person while affirming the identities of all people — a community that is learning, re-assessing and responding to our ever-developing collective knowledge as it relates to equity, diversity and inclusivity initiatives,” said a King’s media release.

King’s makes the case for flying the flag as an expression of Catholic values.

“The Catholic tradition affirms that the encounter with Jesus Christ reveals the infinite love and mercy of God and transforms us, giving life ‘a new horizon and a decisive direction,’ ” said the university, quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est. “Grounded in the person and mission of Jesus, and enacting the principles of Catholic social teaching, we stand with all those who are positioned at the margins who suffer discrimination.”

Fabbro agrees.

“They are our sisters and brothers and we must love them and walk with them. Unjust discrimination against them is wrong. This is the witness that we must all give by the lives we lead.”

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