Tagged: Catholic bishops

Cardinal Dolan to LGBTs: Wash Your Hands Before Entering My Church

Archbishop Timothy Dolan smiles during the Solemn Vespers ceremony for Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New YorkNew York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the American Catholic Church’s most outspoken homophobe, caused a stir last month when he acknowledged that the Church needs to be more “welcoming” to gays and lesbians. He then proceeded to denigrate loving and committed same-sex relationships as mere “friendships,” although this detail was largely overlooked in coverage of his remarks thanks to a misleading and overly optimistic New York Times headline.

Things got even more confusing at the end of April, when Dolan expounded on his “let’s welcome the gays” message in a jaw-droppingly arrogant blog post where he made clear that any such “welcome” would be conditional: only those who accept the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings could be truly welcomed into the fold, in the same way that children must wash their “dirty hands” before they can be welcomed to the dinner table.

Naturally, Dolan’s condescending comments provoked outrage among equality-minded Catholics. Last Sunday, a small group of them — LGBTs, straight allies, and parents of LGBT children — decided to see whether Dolan meant his remarks literally. They gathered a few blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, soiled their hands with ashes, and prepared to walk to the Cathedral for Sunday Mass. Their intention was to see whether or not they would be welcomed, and if they were, to be a peaceful, silent presence during the service in order to draw attention to the Cardinal’s exclusionary remarks and the marginalization experienced by LGBT Catholics.

How did Dolan respond? By calling out the New York Police Department to prohibit the group from entering the cathedral for Mass — unless they washed their hands. Continue reading

Another Anti-Gay Catholic Bishop Arrested for DUI

bishop_mcmanusAnother Catholic bishop has joined San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on the list of anti-gay drunk-driving prelates: Bishop Robert J. McManus, leader of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, was arrested last weekend in Rhode Island for driving under the influence. Continue reading

Irish Constitutional Convention Votes Overwhelmingly for Marriage Equality

ireland_flagLast weekend, the Irish Constitutional Convention — a body established in 2012 to discuss proposed amendments to the Constitution of Ireland — voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing a referendum on civil marriage equality. Out of 100 delegates, 79 voted in favor, 19 against. Inside Ireland reports that 78% of convention delegates also voted for a directive amendment declaring “that the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage.”

The government will decide whether to accept the recommendation after a debate in Parliament. The debate must be held within four months. Continue reading

Marriage Equality Coming to France

IMG_3567Last night, after more than ten hours of debate, the French Senate passed marriage equality on a vote of 179-157. While a few more steps remain, this vote was the most critical hurdle for the freedom to marry; now that it’s been cleared, it’s all but assured that same-sex marriage is coming to France.

The article voted on by the Senate last night is the marriage equality provision of the marriage and adoption equality bill that passed France’s National Assembly in February. According to John Aravosis of AMERICAblog, the way things work in France is that the law gets broken up into its component parts and each is voted on individually.

BuzzFeed‘s Chris Geidner reports that the Senate is expected to wrap up voting on the remaining articles, including the adoption equality provision, by the end of the week. Once that happens, the Senate votes once more on the bill in its entirety. The only way last night’s vote would not be the final word on marriage equality is if the Senate rejects the entire bill in this final vote. However, since the marriage equality article was by far the bill’s most controversial portion and the Senate passed it without any changes, this possibility is considered extremely remote.

french_senatePresident François Hollande pledged during his presidential campaign last year to pass a law allowing same-sex couples in France to marry and adopt children in 2013. His Socialist Party controls both the National Assembly and the Senate, and Socialist lawmakers have carried the measure through both chambers. All of the Socialists in the Senate voted in favor of marriage equality, and five members of France’s right-wing UMP Party also crossed over and voted to support the measure.

If the bill passes its final Senate vote later this month as expected, it will go to Hollande, who will sign it into law.

While the exact date is unclear, it looks like same-sex couples will be able to marry in France sometime this summer. France will become the world’s 12th nation to enshrine full marriage equality into law. Marriage equality also enjoys majority support among the French people.

After the historic vote, Socialist Party president François Rebsamen said:

Despite attempts at obstruction from the right, the Senate has adopted Article 1 which allows same-sex couples to marry. The adoption of this article by a vote of the entire Senate majority, puts an end to the discrimination that resulted from sexual choices of citizens.

Rebsamen continued, noting the alarming surge in homophobic protests and violent anti-gay attacks that France has seen as the marriage equality bill worked its way through Parliament:

Given the abuses that took place either by manifestations of violence in the street, either by verbal excesses in the chamber, the vote on this article marks a victory for the fight against homophobia, that of tolerance and democracy.

french_flag2The fact that last night’s vote happened despite an aggressively homophobic campaign against the law by France’s Catholic bishops and the U.S.-based National Organization for Marriage makes this pro-equality victory even sweeter.

Barring the unforeseen, marriage equality is coming to the land of libertéégalité, fraternité.

Vive la France!

Cardinal Dolan Demeans Gay Relationships As He Says Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gays

TimDolanAs I paged through today’s New York Times, a surprising headline greeted me: “Dolan Says the Catholic Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gay People.” I was incredibly intrigued, of course — considering that Dolan is one of the American Catholic Church’s most outspoken homophobes — so I read on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near naïve enough to have expected a departure from the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings. But I wondered after reading the headline if perhaps Dolan might be advocating that his church soften its bigotry by shifting focus away from its worldwide crusade against LGBT rights and onto something that Jesus actually talked about, like feeding the hungry and serving the poor.

It didn’t take Cardinal Dolan long to disappoint. According to the Times, Dolan implied in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the Catholic Church’s opposition to equality will continue unabated. What he thinks needs improvement is the messaging around the hierarchy’s homophobia:

He defined marriage as “one man, one woman, forever, to bring about new life,” but, he told Mr. Stephanopoulos, “we’ve got to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people.”

“And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that,” the cardinal continued. “We try our darnedest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody.”

Translation: we still oppose your right to legally enter into a civil marriage with the person you love and intend to continue spending time and money fighting against your equality, but we’re not anti-gay! And for heaven’s sake, please don’t think we’re attacking you!

Seriously. Remember last year when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which Dolan is president, decided to launch an “ambitious public relations drive” in an attempt to rehabilitate the American Catholic Church’s tattered public image? This strikes me as a continuation of that strategy.

The conversation between Stephanopoulos and Dolan continued (transcript provided by Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress):

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you know, especially this week – because it’s been at the top of the news – for many gay and lesbian Americans –– gay and lesbian Catholics, they feel unwelcome –– in the Church. And what do you say as a minister, as a pastor – to a gay couple that comes to you and say, “We love God. We love the Church. But we also love each other, and we –– want to raise a family in faith. What do you say to them?

DOLAN: Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally.

Did you get that? As far as Cardinal Dolan is concerned, gay and lesbian couples don’t really have marriages or families. In his mind, same-sex marriages like mine are undeserving of the same civil benefits, protections, and recognition that all other marriages in this country enjoy… because they aren’t real marriages. But in his magnanimity, Dolan is now apparently willing to concede that couples like Michael and me — who have dedicated our lives to loving each other and committed ourselves to one another forever — are “entitled” to “friendship.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that successful relationships aren’t based on friendship. They are. Michael is my best friend — but it doesn’t stop there. He’s my husband (whether Dolan likes it or not), which means he’s my best friend, my confidante, my joy, my inspiration, and my lover. (Yes, Cardinal Dolan, we have sex. Hot, sweaty, passionate, beautiful, fulfilling gay sex.)

With respect, sir, you say that you “love” gays and lesbians, but if trivializing our relationships as mere friendships and opposing our basic rights is how you define the word “love,” you can keep it. If you believe that God is the author of love, you can’t honestly say that gays and lesbians are “made in God’s image” while also believing that our love for each other and its sexual expression is disordered and inferior. I realize that claiming to “love” LGBT people helps you rationalize your bigotry and sleep better at night, but it doesn’t change the fact that you don’t “love” someone by denigrating and dehumanizing them or by denying the reality and the beauty of that person’s most important relationship.

And if that kind of “love” is how you make others feel welcome, it’s no wonder that so many Catholics are voting with their feet and heading out the door.

tim_dolan_thisweekCardinal Dolan, your self-righteous belittling of same-sex relationships harkens back to a troubling time not long ago when LGBT people were so invisible that couples living together were referred to as “roommates” and “friends” so as not to make straight people squeamish. I understand that that’s the world you’d prefer to live in, but it’s a world that no longer exists. It’s 2013, and gays and lesbians are out, proud, and forming not only friendships, but loving, committed, lifelong relationships — and even marriages! — with one another. And you’re fighting a losing battle: three-fourths of American Catholics support civil marriage equality for same-sex couples, as do 81% of adults under 30.

So you go right on ahead pretending that your patronizing doublespeak constitutes some kind of welcoming, loving outreach to the LGBT community and our straight allies. We see right through it, and the rest of the country does as well. The longer you persist in your spiritual bullying, the more quickly you’re bringing about your own utter irrelevance.

History is passing you by, Cardinal Dolan. Enjoy the view.

San Francisco Archbishop Sends Holy Thursday Message of Division. Literally.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, thousands of pro-equality Americans gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to show support for the freedom to marry on the same days that the Court heard oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

On March 26, a coalition of anti-gay groups held their own event advocating for the preservation of marriage discrimination against same-sex couples. It consisted of a march from the National Mall to the Supreme Court and back followed by a rally on the Mall, and was enthusiastically endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their Facebook page; the prelates encouraged Catholics across America to take time from their solemn Holy Week observances to travel to Washington, D.C. and demonstrate against marriage equality. (I can’t think of a better way to prepare for Easter, can you?)

As the eyes of the nation turned to the Supreme Court, pro-equality groups including the Human Rights Campaign urged people across the country to express their support for marriage equality by turning their social media profile photos red. (Facebook data indicates that up to 2.7 million Facebook users appear to have done so.) The most commonly-used image was a red version of HRC’s ubiquitous equal-sign logo:

hrc_red_equalityWell, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone — a notoriorious homophobe (and drunk driver) who leads the USCCB’s crusade against marriage equality and is widely known as the “Father of Proposition 8″ — must have been upset by all the red he saw on Facebook this week, because the official archdiocesan Facebook page posted a photo yesterday mocking marriage equality. Joe.My.God reports that the post was deleted after it garnered over 350 negative comments, but Jeremy Hooper snapped this screenshot of the offensive graphic before it was yanked (click on the photo to be taken to Good As You, Jeremy’s blog):

cordileone_division_screenshot
That’s right: instead of following the example of Jesus, who Christian tradition says demonstrated ultimate humility on Holy Thursday by washing his disciples’ feet, Archbishop Cordileone decided to spend his Holy Thursday mocking and deriding those — including a majority of the American people and a plurality of American Catholics — who believe gays and lesbians should have the simple freedom to marry the person they love.

Sending a message that’s literally divisive on one of the holiest days in the Christian liturgical year is a new low, even for someone like Archbishop Cordileone who regularly plumbs the depths of hate-fueled homophobia. But even though Cordileone’s smug, self-righteous bigotry is unusrprising, it nevertheless is astoundingly repugnant. The man he claims as his savior would be deeply ashamed.

(Admittedly vindictive postscript: my public Facebook page has over 200 more likes than the official Facebook page of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. :-) )

Bishops Tell Catholics to Celebrate Holy Week by Attending Anti-Gay March

For Western Christians, Catholic and Protestant, the seven days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are the most solemn and sacred days of the entire liturgical year. In fact, that week is so sacred that it’s been known as Holy Week since the third century and is commemorated by fasting and solemn prayer.

This year, however, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging Catholics all across the country to add one more activity to that list. In addition to fasting, praying, and preparing for Easter, the bishops are asking their flock to take time out of their Holy Week observances, travel to Washington, D.C., and participate in a march and rally to protest the possibility that loving and committed same-sex couples might be granted the freedom to marry.

The events are scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, the day the Supreme Court will consider Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to Proposition 8. (The Court will hear United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” the following day.) It’s being organized by the National Organization for Marriage, a blatantly partisan special interest group (which infamously plotted to fragment the Democratic Party coalition by “[driving] a wedge between gays and blacks”).

None of this appears to matter to the bishops, though. They’re even promoting NOM’s march on the USCCB Facebook page:

usccb_NOM_march

Using Christianity’s most sacred time of the year to promote homophobic bigotry and malicious discrimination? That’s utterly contemptible. Every time I think the U.S. Catholic bishops can’t possibly sink any lower into the cesspool of anti-gay bigotry, they find a new way to do exactly that.

Jesus wept.

h/t: Jeremy Hooper