Cardinal Timothy Dolan has issued a directive to all Catholic dioceses to focus their sermons on “traditional marriage” and opposing the “redefinition of marriage” to include LGBT people, now through June. Dolan, who is the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and thus the top representative of the Roman Catholic Church in America, is also the Archbishop of New York, but has said not one word about the skyrocketing anti-LGBT violent hate crimes in his own back yard.
As of Friday night, New York City has been home to nine anti-LGBT violent hate crimes this month, and 27 this year — almost double the rate of last year, which saw a double-digit increase over the previous year.
But instead of denouncing anti-gay violence, instead of even acknowledging it, instead of calling for tolerance and love, Cardinal Dolan issued a directive to preach anti-LGBT hate in Church, and created a “USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert,” below, to share with all Catholics across the country.
The NYPD and many of New York’s state and local politicians have denounced these crimes of ignorance and hate. Many attended the vigil for Mark Carson, the 32-year old gay man fatally gunned down just nine days ago, and many attended last Monday’s protest rally. Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally acknowledged Carson’s murder and the anti-LGBT violence in a press conference held with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly this week.
But the nation’s number one Catholic cannot find the time to even acknowledge it, much less denounce it.
When the heads of anti-gay organizations are denouncing anti-LGBT violence, and the head of the Catholic Church in the U.S. cannot, what does that say about his focus — and his attitude toward the LGBT community?
Not only has Cardinal Dolan not acknowledged the anti-LGBT hate — which even Pastor Rick Warren admits and the vast majority of Americans agree that church teachings hold responsibility for — but he has contributed to it.
In a blog post falsely claiming “All Are Welcome!,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan belittled LGBT people, demanded we wash our “dirty hands” before he could accept us into his Church — and then literally barred LGBT and allied Catholics from entering NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cardinal Dolan’s home, unless they literally washed the dirt from their hands.
Despite the clear change in direction Pope Francis has called for, Cardinal Dolan chooses to look the other way, ignoring those in his own parish who need his support.
“Since Mark Carson’s brutal murder last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has failed to issue even a minor statement regarding Mark’s death or the string of attacks that have taken place over the past few months,” writes Joseph Amodeo, the LGBT activist who organized the “Dirty Hands” event. “The absence of the Cardinal’s voice is of concern, because of the fact that these acts of violence stand in stark contradiction to Catholic social teaching and more directly the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not to mention, all of these attacks took place within a short distance from the Cardinal’s residence in Manhattan.”
“This silence is a testament to the passive homophobia that defines Catholic Church teaching and comments from the institution’s hierarchy regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This silence must be shattered: Cardinal Timothy Dolan must condemn these acts of hate,” Amodeo urges, adding:
The silence must stop. The Archdiocese of New York and Cardinal Timothy Dolan must issue clear condemnations of the violence that has taken place on New York’s streets directed at the gay community. For a moral leader who is so vocal about the dignity of the human person, his silence in the wake of these hate crimes is deafening.
If Cardinal Dolan truly wants to express the message that “all are welcome,” then he must break this dangerous silence, condemn these acts of hate, and stand in solidarity with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the face of prejudice. Passive homophobia can no longer be accepted as the status quo in our churches, because conditional statements of welcome and critiques of the innate nature of the human person provide a breeding ground for intolerance.
A pastoral response to these hate crimes from the Archbishop of New York is no longer an option to be discerned, but rather a necessary step to ensure that the dignity of life is upheld.
How many more LGBT people will suffer — or die — before Cardinal Dolan denounces the violence and anti-LGBT hate?
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