When TFP supporters in St. Louis heard that pro-homosexual activists would be gathering on the steps of the city’s Catholic Cathedral on November 7, they immediately thought of an act of reparation. An obscure group called Catholic Action Network for Social Justice was calling for a National Week of Prayer and Vigils to demanding the Catholic Church’s “tradition of opposing discrimination and oppression to include the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.” The group had even bought a conspicuous billboard along a major interstate with a call to recognize homosexual couples. The vigil on the cathedral steps promised to be a high-profile media event.
While the Church has always shown compassion for those with homosexual tendencies, this group wanted nothing short of the Church to renounce its unchangeable teachings on homosexuality as “objectively disordered” and homosexual acts as being “an intrinsic moral evil.”
On this occasion, it was important that faithful grassroots Catholics who uphold Church teachings stand up and be counted.
As a small group of 40 activists assembled on the cathedral steps, TFP Supporter Mark Serafino and eight others looked on nervously as they prepared an act of reparation and counter-protest. They felt that even with such few numbers, they needed to get a good position in front of the Cathedral.
The nine protesters were resigned to make their symbolic presence known when a group of twenty-five more Catholics suddenly arrived. Now the protest and counter protest contingents were nearly equal. A local priest also came and courageously spoke out.
The strategy was simple. Some were eager to debate, while most others wanted to protest by praying. The debaters freely discussed Church teaching with the dissident activists while the others formed a line and prayed the Rosary while walking in front of the church.
The protesters formed in twos and the “procession” extended quite far. The rosary started just as the Network activists began giving testimony and sharing thoughts of “happiness and love” for each other and employing empty rhetoric against Holy Mother Church.
Each time the Catholic protesters marched towards the activists praying the Rosary, the speaker was forced to stop as they passed by. The activists tried to disrupt the prayers by joining in or even by singing “We Shall Overcome.” Before long, it was obvious that they had not overcome. The unexpected counter-protest had deflated their balloon. The speakers were limited to choppy dissertations. The activists started to lose interest and leave early. The protesters marched, prayed and sang even after the activists had disconnected their amplifier and ended their “vigil.”
In the end, the protesters stood somewhat in disbelief and shell shocked as they finished the Rosary. Father and others read the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus standing squarely in the middle of the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps to the Cathedral.
The police had arrived, but seeing the protesters moving along the sidewalk in a peaceful and orderly manner, simply looked on and left. The other amazing thing was the absence of media. It seems an equal representation of faithful Catholics and dissident activists does not make for good press.
What had become evident is that despite amazing odds and unexpected attendance, Our Lady and her rosary won. She defeated those who would use the cathedral steps to promote their agenda. She proved that those who stand up for the Church and Her Teaching can be effective. Those attending considered it a privilege to be part of this effort confronting this Revolutionary agenda against the Church.