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On Canceled Gay Chorus Performance, Springfield Bishop 'Missed An Opportunity'

The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus in 2016.
Tynan Power
The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus in 2016.

The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus said the Springfield Catholic Diocese canceled a scheduled perfomance at a South Hadley church over the holidays. 

The group said Bishop Mitchell Rozanski canceled the appearance after the diocese received complaints. 

Henry Gibson, who sings with the gay men's chorus, said the incident doesn't sit well with him.

"It's upsetting and disappointing and shocking that this would happen in Massachusetts," he said. "It's overall very accepting and progressive in the issue of gays."

A spokesman for Rozanski said the diocese wouldn't comment on the matter.

"It's very unfortunate," said panelist Dave Eisenstadter on Rozanski's public silence. "I mean, it is absolutely unacceptable to have that. And if it is based on discrimination, it should not be tolerated. If the bishop has some other explanation for why this is the case, he should absolutely say so."

Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen took the diocese to task and also couldn't get a comment.

Panelist Larry Parnass noted not only did Cullen write about the issue with the chorus, he delved into the diocese's history of sexual abuse settlements.

"[It's] come to about $45 million to nearly 60 victims," Parnass said.

Parnass said he thinks the bishop "missed an opportunity" to articulate why he made this decision — if he was indeed personally responsible for it.

"And I do think that this is an internal question for the Catholic church," Parnass said. "This was a church issue, and the church has been historically opposed to homosexuality. But why shouldn't a religious leader then speak to, and help illuminate, how they see it that way? And then it's up to Catholics, I think, to decide whether that's the right call."

In Vermont, the Brattleboro Retreat — the state's largest inpatient psychiatric facility and the only one designated to treat children — may close. A state agency recently declined to give the facility $2 million to help keep it going. Its CEO said closing is the worst-case scenario.

There's been some progress of late in the lengthy process to connect parts of rural western Massachusetts with broadband internet service

And we hear about how the Pioneer Valley Women's March is shifting locations this year, from Northampton to Springfield.

To wrap things up, we get our guests' thoughts on the Massachusetts election they're most looking forward to in 2020. 


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