Protesters in Oxford stand outside parish, show support for LGBTQ+

Protestors hold signs across from St. Mary Church in Oxford on Sunday, July 3, 2022. New priest Fr. David Doseck had penned a letter with what some called homophobic language.
 CONTRIBUTED/Kobe Gaines/WCPO

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Protestors hold signs across from St. Mary Church in Oxford on Sunday, July 3, 2022. New priest Fr. David Doseck had penned a letter with what some called homophobic language. CONTRIBUTED/Kobe Gaines/WCPO

Protesters stood outside St. Mary Church in Oxford on Sunday morning, holding rainbow flags and signs of support for the LGBTQ+ community, on the first day for the parish’s new priest.

A letter in a June bulletin caused an outcry over the language used to describe Pride Month and same-sex relationships.

“Something that he wrote was so disturbing, he used the word ‘diabolic’ in his first few sentences,” said Donna Hofmann. “We could not simply sit and do nothing; it makes me very emotional to even talk about it.”

A June 19 St. Mary bulletin included a letter from Father David Doseck, who joined the parish from Preble County this weekend. In it, Doseck described a “diabolic and unnatural campaign to make this month dedicated to the purpose of Pride Month.”

Doseck addressed those in same-sex relations as “confused about God’s plan for them.” He offered thoughts for parents of children who will see same-sex relationships in public and within families.

“If someone is romantic with someone of the same sex, there is a problem and we can never say that it is good or be happy about it,” Doseck wrote.

Protesters included members of the parish, members of the local PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), as well as concerned community members and Miami University students.

“This change in tone from the new priest was disturbing,” said Mike Radlinski. “When I was president of Oxford PFLAG, St. Mary actively and enthusiastically participated in our faith forum and pointed out that, although we may have some differences and things they may have to do with Catholic doctrine, they were a welcoming place for LGBTQ individuals.”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati said Sunday the letter was written for parishoners at Fr. Doseck’s former location. He served the Preble County Catholic Parishes for three years. The Archdiocese said the letter was republished by St. Mary Church without his knowledge or permission and was not intentional outreach to the new congregation.

“The constant teaching of the Catholic faith includes love and respect for all our brothers and sisters because they and we are each made in the image and likeness of God,” wrote Archbishop Dennis Schnurr. “The inherent dignity of every human being does not mean, however, that all behavior is to be condoned. Father David Doseck’s pastoral statement is in conformity with Church teaching.”

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese echoed that sentiment Sunday in Oxford, but added that Fr. Doseck was open to meeting with anyone who had concerns about his statements.

“Specific word choices and tone and things that are harder to hear, those are done best in conversation and relationship together,” said Jennifer Schack. “And that didn’t happen in this situation.”

For those gathered with signs and rainbow flags across High Street from the church on Sunday, there was a hope for common ground and common respect.

“I think we all might say some things that we might regret later on, we might come on too strong to things,” said Radlinski.

Others were more firm.

“He is homophobic,” said Hofmann. “I believe he is now aware of how so many people feel.”

Fr. Doseck was not available for comment directly on Sunday.

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