OTD: Pope John Paul II denounces first WorldPride event, held in Rome

On today’s date in 2000, Pope John Paul II denounced the first WorldPride, held July 1-9 in Rome, as “an offence” to Christian values.

Also known as John Paul the Great, the pope remarked from a balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City that homosexuality was “an offence to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world.”

Held in the Italian capital, the nine-day event drew about 250,000 people.

Other WorldPride events have been held in Jerusalem (2004); London (2012); Toronto (2014); and Madrid (2017). In 2019, New York City hosted WorldPride as part of “Stonewall50,” the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. In August 2021, for the first time, WorldPride will be hosted by two cities in two countries—Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, and the Swedish neighbouring city Malmö.


In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI wrote about homosexuality in the Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders: “With regard to homosexual inclinations, the Letter Homosexualitatis Problema states that ‘Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.'”

In regards to men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” joining the seminary, the document said: “Deep-seated homosexual tendencieswhich are found in a number of men and women, are also objectively disordered and, for those same people, often constitute a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. They are called to fulfil God’s will in their lives and to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter.”

The document states, in accordance with “the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,” that the church, “while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.'”

The document later states “his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination.”

An official first-day cover honouring Canada’s 2005 passing of the Civil Marriage Act was also issued in 2017 by Canada Post.


In 2013, while aboard the papal airplane returning from his first foreign trip, this to Brazil, Pope Francis said he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters in Italian but using the English word “gay,” according to a 2013 report by The New York Times.

“Tendencies are not sin. If you have a tendency to anger, it’s not a sin. Now, if you are angry and hurt people, the sin is there. … Sin is acting, of thought, word and deed, with freedom.”

More recently, in a book-length interview released last year, Francis opined on men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” being admitted to the Catholic clergy.

“The question of homosexuality is a very serious one,” Francis told Spanish priest Fernando Prado for the book, The Strength of Vocation, adding the people entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain all candidates are “humanly and emotionally mature” before they are ordained.


On May 9, Canada Post unveiled a stamp, this honouring the 2005 passing of the Civil Marriage Act, as part of its 10-stamp Canada 150 program.

In 2005, as the Civil Marriage Act made marriage equality the law across the country, Canada became the fourth nation – and the first outside of Europe – to extend marriage equality to its citizens.

With support growing, more than 20 countries have legalized same-sex marriage on the national level around the world; however, the fight for equality continues today.

The Marriage Equality stamp unveiling was held at The 519 on 519 Church St., and depicts a section of a rainbow flag, which is a familiar symbol of pride for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2) communities.

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