News » Religion

Anti-Gay 'Pop Star Priest' Shoved Off Stage in Brazil

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jul 16, 2019
Screen grab / YouTube
Screen grab / YouTube  

A "pop star priest" with a large following of young men, several best-selling books, and more than a dozen CDs to his name — as well as a history of anti-LGBTQ commentary — was shoved off the stage while in the middle of a public appearance, reports UK newspaper the Mirror.

Father Marcelo Rossi was in the middle of remarks delivered during the closing ceremony of a youth camp in the Brazilian city of Cachoeira when a 32-year-old woman darted up and shoved him off the stage.

Rossi's fall was picked up by his microphone and could be heard clearly. Members of the audience — which some reports said was 50,000 strong — leaped to their feet and screamed in shock.

Rossi was not seriously injured in the fall, reported Newsweek. He returned to the stage and resumed his comments. Reports said he was later seen by medics. The woman, who press reports said was believed to be mentally disturbed, was briefly detained by police. The woman reportedly claimed that she ran onto the stage because she was excited about Rossi's presence and wanted to speak with him, but she grew frightened when security guards pursued her.

Rossi did not press charges, reports said.

The "pop star priest" was honored with a Latin Grammy in 2002, a Wikipedia article notes, and has appeared as himself in two feature films.

Rossi's flamboyant approach to his ministerial duties has been met with criticism from some quarters, with his archbishop and superior, Odilo Cardinal Scherer, having expressed skepticism in the past about priests acting as "showmen" and making the mass into a "show."

Reports in the LGBTQ press noted that Rossi has said that same-gender sexual activity "can't be a good thing" because, he claimed, it "causes pain." Rossi has also reportedly said that gay people suffer from an "illness."

Mental health professionals have rejected the notion that non-heterosexuality is a mental or emotional disorder, and have warned that so-called "therapy" that purports to "cure" gays can, in fact, be harmful.

Watch the video clip of the incident below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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