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Pittsburgh diocese bans masses for gays

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 30 -- The Roam Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh Tuesday banned a group of homosexual Catholics from holding any more masses because the church teaches sex outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong. The Pittsburgh chapter of Dignity, a national Catholic gay organization, had been holding masses at St. Pamphilus Church while the diocese for years tried to persuade the group to accept church teachings.

'There was no longer a pastoral solution to this issue,' said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, secretary for pastoral life, who represented the diocese in the discussions. 'They agreed that they, as a matter of conscience, disagree with the church's teaching. Therefore, they would no longer be allowed to use the facilities at St. Pamphilus or any other diocesan facility.' Dignity of Pittsburgh said it would release a statement later this week, but a member said the break with the diocese was not bitter. Of 88 Dignity chapters nationwide, Pittsburgh's was one of five still allowed to use diocesan churches. Some conservative Catholic groups had criticized Bishop Donald Wuerl for allowing the practice. Most Dignity chapters were banned from diocesan facilities 10 years ago when the Vatican isused a statement calling homosexuality 'an objective disorder.' The church teaches that a homosexual orientation is not itself sinful, but sexual activity with someone of the same sex is a serious sin.

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