I like New York's Archbishop Dolan. I really do. We were in Rome together as seminarians. We were not close friends, but the man radiates good will and has a huge heart. Unfortunately, his spiritual instincts are tempered by his overwhelming sense of slavish obedience to the papal agenda of homophobia. I strongly suspect he privately does not agree with the Pope about this, but he is a humble man who assumes that the Pope has some spiritual closeness to God that exceeds his own. This is where we differ. I've always been the voice in the crowd proclaiming the obvious fact that the emperor is wearing no clothes. That is certainly one reason why I am where I am today (married and blogging in my underwear in Fort Lauderdale) whereas many of my classmates are bishops.
This week, Archbishop Dolan's election as president of the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sends a clear message about the anti-LGBT position of the American bishops and their willingness to meddle in American politics as minions of Benedict XVI.
Catholics For Equality explains the significance of this election.
As the press release states, Catholics are alarmed by the diversion of their contributions away from works of charity in their communities and into inappropriate (and very likely illegal) political interference.
I am heartened, however, by a statement from the group of roughly 500 American nuns who comprise the National Coalition of American Nuns. You won't find this statement on their website (they need to fly under the radar to avoid "The Inquisitor"). Reading their words lets me know that Catholics will not be easily herded into a dangerous pen. We have been taught to form our consciences and to follow them. We have been taught to question authority. We are amused, not awed, by the idea of moral infallibility.
Here is what the long-suffering and good sisters have to say and I encourage you to send a supportive message to Sister Beth Rindler who courageously affixed her name to the statement:
November 16, 2010
Nuns to Bishops: Condemn Bullying, not Marriage Equality
On behalf of GLBT Catholics, their families and friends, and thoughtful Catholics across the United States, the National Coalition of American Nuns is appalled at the lack of sensitivity of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to lesbian and gay persons.
More than a month has gone by since the media broke the news about a series of gay suicides. During that time, the US Catholic Bishops failed to make a single statement regarding these tragic, preventable deaths. Not one bishop's voice was raised to condemn a culture where youths are bullied for being who God created them to be and are sometimes pushed by society's judgments to attempt suicide. Many people have accused certain segments of organized religion, including the Catholic hierarchy, of fueling these attacks and contributing to suicides.
The annual meeting in Baltimore of the US Catholic Bishops this week offered an opportunity to decry these horrendous events. Instead, the bishops have chosen to discuss "the defense of marriage," their well-funded attack on same-gender couples.
Like blinded Pharisees, they fail to see that the Catholic community is embarrassed by their silence in the face of brutality and incensed by their push of a political agenda against marriage equality--all at a time when their credibility on sexual matters is at a record low.
The bishops have not learned from the Minnesota experience, where Catholics returned the anti-gay DVD's the hierarchy sent to each household in the state. The anger of Minnesota Catholics is erupting all across our country. Faithful Catholics believe their bishops should be preaching a message of concern and understanding, instead of rejection and hate.
The National Coalition of American Nuns calls on all US Catholics to rise up and say, "Enough, enough! No more discriminatory rhetoric and repressive measures from men who lay heavy burdens on the shoulders of others and do not lift one finger of human kindness and compassion. We all need to work for a holy and just society and church."
Founded in 1969 to study and to speak out on issues of justice in church and society, the National Coalition of American Nuns consists of approximately 500 Catholic sisters from various congregations of women religious in the United States.
Sister Beth Rindler, SFP
12434 Klinger St.
Detroit, MI 48212