University in Scotland fires chaplain after pride parade reparation prayers

Manchester, England — A priest who offered a rosary and benediction service in reparation for a gay pride parade in Scotland has been fired as a university chaplain.

Glasgow Caledonian University announced that Fr. Mark Morris would not be returning to his post for the new term in September.

The priest became a focus of controversy after local media learned that he offered prayers of reparation at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Glasgow July 16 after the July 14-15 Glasgow Pride parade.

Pamela Gillies, university principal professor, told the British Broadcasting Corp. July 18 that Morris had been removed as chaplain "following due consultation."

"The university will work with the Archdiocese of Glasgow to ensure the continued provision of chaplaincy support for staff and students ... when the new term starts," she said.

"The university is strongly inclusive and committed to supporting equality and diversity on campus," she added.

The university's Catholic society said in a statement posted on Facebook that the dismissal of the priest was "frankly abhorrent."

"The Catholic community at GCU would like to express our full support and solidarity with Father Mark Morris at this time," said the July 18 statement.

It said the church would not be expected to "align herself with a movement like Pride, which promotes sexual promiscuity and celebrates extramarital actions which are considered gravely sinful."

"In no way does this mean that homosexual persons are not welcome here at the chaplaincy, nor does it mean that they have fallen short of the love of God," it continued. "Anyone who knows Father Morris will know he is a gentle giant and is very careful to be truthful but also charitable. He is well-loved by the students and spends a lot of time with the homeless, providing them with meals and a listening ear."

Catholic News Service tried to contact Morris, but he was unavailable for comment.

Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here