By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Church of the Divine Child issued an apology Sept. 14 after an associate pastor gave a homily where he compared Black Lives Matters protestors to terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
The Rev. Paul Graney’s 12-minute homily took place over live stream due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was removed from the church’s social media platforms shortly after it aired.
The clip was then posted on Facebook by a Dearborn resident.
In the video, Graney spoke of the anniversary of 9/11 and about violence instead of the theme of the gospel that day which was forgiveness.
“Al-Qaeda’s goal was to come to the United States and kill Americans,” Graney said. “Really just wanted to wipe America off the map. And they would’ve done it if they could.
“But today, those who we see wanting to bring down American are Americans and they want to do it under the facade of justice, freedom and love. But it is all a big bunch of baloney. It’s anti-Christian. It’s anti-family. It’s evil.”
Along with Black Lives Matters demonstrators, Graney singled out Antifa, which he called an anti-Christian, terrorist organization. He also said the BLM organization works against the traditional family structure and is against families because it supports the LGBTQ community.
“People have been out in our streets doing incredibly violent things in the name of justice,” Graney said. “Cars have been torched, property has been destroyed, businesses looted and burned, and police officers and other people have been intimidated, assaulted and even murdered.”
In the apology, the Rev. Bob McCabe said that after the homily he spoke with individuals where he could sense their anger and hurt.
He also watched the live stream and spoke with Graney to express his opinion that the homily was neither pastoral nor sensitive to all the people hearing it. McCabe explained to Graney that the scriptures proclaimed at Mass were not mentioned in the homily.
“As your pastor, I want to assure you that at Divine Child we love and respect all persons,” McCabe said. “Every person is sacred in the eyes of God regardless of their race, religion or sexuality. At different times we need to focus in on different groups and their particular needs.
“Right now, the murder of countless persons of color demands a clear response. The entire human family needs to unite in confronting these injustices. We must protect the lives of persons of color and be the voice for people who do not have one.”
McCabe apologized in the letter to parishioners, stating that the homily brought forth division, anger, confusion and chaos.
“I, along with our principals Mr. (J. Mike) Courage and Mrs. (Jessica) Spearman, are mindful and empathetic to the pain, anger and frustration that Fr. Paul’s homily may have caused in our community — particularly our parishioners and students of color. We want all members of our community, especially our students, to feel safe, valued and supported.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])