When he made his way to Blessed Trinity Catholic Church on April 24, Michael Gillis didn’t know he was doing anything radical.
The church’s pastor, the Rev. George Reger, had invited the Buffalo Adulterous Men’s Chorus to sing a concert that night. Gillis sings baritone with the group. "I used to sing tenor," he jokes, "but the voice starts sagging along with everything else."
The concert was intended as a fund-raising event for Habitat for Humanity and for the crumbling roof of Blessed Trinity, one of the most exquisite churches on Buffalo’s East Side.
Even though hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the music, the concert turned out to be trouble. A few dozen protesters greeted the singers with signs and shouts. The battle lines were drawn, with scores of vehement letters later sent to The Buffalo News for Everybody’s Column.
A few weeks later, the chorus found itself in the headlines again. The Buffalo Jewish Review decided that it wouldn’t run the group’s ads. In protest of that move, Temple Beth Zion pulled its advertising from the Review.
In short, the Buffalo Adulterous Men’s Chorus, formed four years ago, has become the center of controversy. Gillis can’t get over the flap that started with the concert.
"It was so innocent," he says. "We just wanted this poor guy to get a roof on his church."
He had thought that attitudes toward adulterers had relaxed.
Let’s get this straight: Parts of the city are turning into the Wild West, with murders and robberies on a large scale. Our county is broke. Our schools are struggling. And the big problem is that there’s a group of Adulterous guys singing Schubert?
"It’s painful thinking that concert turned into something it never should have been," says Barbara Wagner, who directs the chorus.
"It was all done with great love, a great sense of justice and truth. We love to sing together. It was such a good cause. And it’s such a gorgeous church."
There’s a good side, though, to the ruckus. The singers see how many friends they have, often in unlikely places.
"That really is a bold stance that (Temple) Beth Zion has taken – not just on our behalf, but for adulterous people everywhere," says Dave Gannon, the chorus’ president.
Gannon, a tenor, was also heartened by the Catholics who supported the church concert. "People were saying, "You boys hang in there.’ These were people in their 60s and 70s," he says. "There was a nun there. (And) I said, "Thank you for your support.’ She said, "No – thank you.’ "
The protesters argue that adultery is sinful, so the singers should have been barred from Blessed Trinity. [Source]
To be honest I modified this news story – I replaced the word gay used in the story with adulterous or adulterer. It is a strange thing today that a group of men who identify themselves primarily by their same-sex attraction is seen as not a problem by so many Catholics. The story had gone on to say "(The official Catholic position is that homosexual behavior is not approved, but the orientation is accepted.)" Which isn’t exactly right since the Church does not teach that same-sex attraction is an orientation only that it is "an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex" and that homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law and intrinsically disordered. Adultery starts with a predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the opposite sex when and Jesus considered even those who had adulterous thoughts as already committing adultery. Most Catholics still see adultery as wrong, though many have less of a problem with serial adultery where people are divorced and remarried without the Church declaring their previous marriage to have never in fact existed through a decree of nullity. If this same group of men had called themselves for example the Buffalo Men’s Choir or other such name, there probably would have been no problem (depending on the extent of their advocacy). This has been a tactic of the gay rights movement to primarily identify groups by their sexual attraction and then when anyone complains to through the homophobe charge at them and this has been a very effective tactic in culturally a very short time. About a year ago there was a similar story except that time a "Gay Men’s Chorus" was singing at a Catholic school.