Dublin church cancels concert by gay men’s choir: ‘Deeply hurtful’

A Roman Catholic church in Dublin has cancelled a concert by a gay men’s choir, saying that it was “not compatible with our mission.”

St Andrew’s Church, on Westland Row, cancelled the Dublin Gay Men’s Chorus Pride in the Name of Love summer concert because it was a “Pride festival event”.

The concert, set for 23 June, was to be Ireland’s only all-male gay choir celebrating the tail end of Pride month, with a new repertoire of songs.

Choir chairman Patrick McNamara confirmed he had received an email from St Andrew’s saying that it had “learned that in form and content it is being presented not as a simple choral recital but as a Pride festival event”.

The email went on to say: “The parish is not in a position to make the church available for that concert. The parish is happy to welcome groups from all backgrounds to perform concerts, as you know from your concerts here as a musical director on many occasions.

“However, the parish is disappointed that the nature of this event was not made clear at the time of booking.”

It concluded by saying the parish would be unable to host the event because it is “not compatible with our mission as a Roman Catholic parish church”.

Members of the Dublin Gay Men’s Chorus inside St Andrew’s Church. (Facebook)

McNamara told The Irish Times that he was surprised at the response because the booking was made under the name Dublin Gay Men’s Chorus and that there was no reason to suspect the church was not aware of who they were.

In a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday (13 June), McNamara said the decision was “deeply hurtful” and that he was particularly disappointed by the framing of the concert as “incompatible” with the church’s values.

McNamara added that it was especially painful in the wake of Pope Francis’ second use of a homophobic slur against the LGBTQ+ community.

“This decision sends a clear message: LGBT+ choirs are not welcome if they seek to express pride in who they are, and show solidarity with one another and the wider cause of greater dignity and inclusivity for LGBT+ people.”

A spokesperson for the church said they were “happy to welcome groups from all backgrounds” but reiterated that the event was incompatible with its mission.

The choir has found a new venue and will be issuing details soon.

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