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Gay Catholic Leaders Weigh In On Use Of NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From St. Pat’s Cathedral

by David Badash on May 7, 2013

in News,Religion

Post image for Gay Catholic Leaders Weigh In On Use Of NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From St. Pat’s Cathedral

New Yorkers and Catholics around the nation are responding to the use on Sunday of the New York Police Department to bar gay and allied Catholics from entering New York City’s historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Pat’s is the home of the Archbishop of New York and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who represents the Vatican in America.

READ: Cardinal Dolan Uses NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From Sunday Worship In St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Ten Catholics, responding to Cardinal Dolan’s April 25 blog post, “All Are Welcome!,” which tells gay people who wish to participate in the Catholic faith, you must first “wash your hands!,” rubbed charcoal on their hands, and before they even approached the hallowed cathedral, were headed off by eight police officers and told if they attempted entry into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, they would be barred — and arrested.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s director of communications reportedly issued a statement yesterday that Dolan was “on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France,” on Sunday, implying he had nothing to do with the arrest threats by NYPD officers, although it is hard to believe that the Cardinal doesn’t have access to email or a telephone.

The event, labeled by organizer Joseph Amodeo as a “vigil,” did not result in any arrests, nor were the activists disruptive or intent on being so. They merely wanted to make a quiet statement, no louder than the wearing of a lapel button, in response to the leader of the Catholic Church in America’s patriarchal and offensive statement that gay people are unclean and must “wash their hands” before their church will recognize their right to be at the table.

“For Cardinal Dolan to imply that LGBT people are tainted with ‘dirty hands’ is for him to utterly fail to understand God’s creation,” Ross Murray, GLAAD’s Director of News and Faith Initiatives noted shortly after Sunday’s vigil. “There is no dress code to experience the love of God. Threatening worshipers with arrest displays no grace nor pastoral care. The action clearly tells LGBT people that they are not welcome. For someone who wants to ‘do better’ at reaching out to LGBT people, Dolan is failing miserably.”

GLAAD certainly isn’t the only one who thinks Cardinal Dolan is failing.

“I applaud faithful Catholics for confronting Cardinal Dolan on his duplicitous public stands regarding social justice for God’s LGBT children,” Phil Attey, former executive director of Catholics for Equality told The New Civil Rights Movement in an email conversation:

On Easter Sunday, Cardinal Dolan went on several Sunday morning political programs, advancing the idea that he and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) must “forge a new relationship with the LGBT community.” But it’s clear from his subsequent public statements about LGBT Catholics that he had no such intentions.

Kudos to Joseph Amodeo and faithful Catholics in New York for publicly calling Cardinal Dolan on his lies. Jesus stands with them and all who stand up for social justice and for honesty.

Timmian Massie, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Marist College, told The New Civil Rights Movement also via an email conversation that the “security detail at St. Patrick’s Cathedral used the fear of arrest to stop a call for social justice, something the Catholic Church used to care about more that it apparently does now.”

“However, that response really showed the fear the Church hierarchy has in allowing members to use their gifts of intelligence, rational thinking and free will to expose the hypocrisy of the Cardinal’s statement that in the Catholic Church, ‘All are welcome.’ Obviously, LGBTQ Catholics are not welcome because the hierarchy, not necessarily its members, want LGBTQ people to be less than who we are,” says Massie, who studied theology at the North American College in Vatican City and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and taught a course in Rome on the Vatican.

“The Church does not actively and continually discriminate against any other group in its membership. The protesters had planned to receive Communion on the tongue, not in their hands, as a sign of respect for Catholic belief that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ. I have seen many people with ‘dirty hands’ approach a priest or Eucharistic Minister for Communion, but never be turned away.

“What the Cardinal and his staff at St. Patrick’s don’t realize is that they helped this small group of less than a dozen faithful LGBTQ Catholics and allies gain even more attention for the cause of equality than if they had simply allowed them to enter the cathedral in silence. In reality, the group’s witness was effective and not a failure, though being turned away at the door of one’s spiritual home may have caused pain for those involved. Jesus, who pointed out the hypocrisy of religious leaders of his day, would have approved of this simple act undertaken by people who wish nothing more than to be treated as equals in the eyes of the men who lead the Church. I believe the LGBTQ community is already seen as equal in the eyes of God.”

On Sunday evening, GLAAD noted that “Nicholas Coppola also participated in the witness.” GLAAD’s Ross Murray writes:

Coppola is the man who was stripped of all his parish duties after marrying his husband. Coppola presented 18,600 signatures with GLAAD to his bishop, asking him to be reinstated, which the bishop returned by mail with a cover letter that read simply, “FROM YOUR FAITHFUL ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP.” Coppola now has a Change.org petition, asking to meet and dine with Cardinal Dolan. So far that petition has over 22,000 signatures.

Cardinal Dolan has yet to reply.

Joseph Ward III, Director of Believe Out Loud, an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, told The New Civil Rights Movement via email, “Nobody should ever be denied entry into God’s house on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. These Catholics sent a powerful message that they and all LGBT people are wonderfully made in the image of God, and should be treated with dignity.”

Finally, the words of Joseph Amodeo, the event’s organizer, via his Facebook page yesterday:

I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me over the past 24 hours; your support means a lot. To be honest, I’m still trying to digest and understand how we were treated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday. There is one thing that I am sure of, the Holy Spirit was with us. The prayers, embraces, and tears that we shared were a powerful expression of the feelings we all had standing in front of the Cathedral. Pax et bonum.

 

Image by Gay Marriage USA

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{ 3 comments }

slowe11 May 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

although it is WRONG for the Catholic church, or any church to bar LGBT from it, I think a more fundamental question needs consideration here. Why do gays and lesbians still want to belong to these religions. Why try to get into an institution which clearly demeans us, condemns us, and rejects us? I suggest that we all consider these ancient, theistic, religions obsolete, a product of people ignorant of nature and which indoctrinates us into a dependency that is childlike and insulting. Women and LGBTs should be at the forefront of throwing off these oppressive beliefs. Consider Humanism as an alternative to theism. Create our own communities of support, unfettered by male, authoritarian hierarchies. THe Emancipation of Humanity is at hand – we only have to declare it for ourselves. No more childish, dependent, authoritarian ways.

Diogenes_Arktos May 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Dirty hands? How about the pedophile crisis??

James_M_Martin May 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm

When are these mackerel snaps going to wake up and smell the con job: the only god is Man. Their quarrel should not be with the Vatican but with the religious fraud they perpetuate. Most of these rejects were indoctrinated at an early age into a dogmatic belief system. Most Catholics also believe in choice, too. The Roman Church is out of step with its congregants, especially in the U.S. But the congregants are out of step with scientific knowledge, something the Church has attacked from Galileo on. If we'd stuck to Catholic dogma, the world would be flat and the sun would revolve around it. Wake up! The RCC is one of the worst con jobs on earth.

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