April 9, 2013
Gay Long Island Man Ousted from Church Involvement to Deliver Over 18,000 Signatures to Diocese
Stripped of all parish involvement by the Diocese of Rockville Center after marriage, Nicholas Coppola Requests reinstatement to all volunteer positions
On Thursday, April 11, Nicholas Coppola, the man stripped of all involvement at St. Anthony Parish after marrying his husband, will deliver the signatures to the Most Rev. William Murphy, Bishop of Rockville Center, requesting to be reinstated to his volunteer positions. A press conference will proceed the delivery.
More than 18,000 people signed a petition, organized by Faithful America, requesting Nicholas be allowed to return to his involvement in parish life. The wording of the petition read:
"Bishop Murphy, please let Nicholas Coppola resume volunteering at his parish -- and make it clear that faithful gay and lesbian Catholics are welcome to participate fully in parish life in your diocese."
Where: Diocese of Rockville Center, 50 N Park Ave, Rockville Centre, NY
When: Thursday, April 11. Press Conference at 9:00 AM, Delivery at 9:30
Who: Nicholas Coppola, an openly gay man, is a member of St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Oceanside, New York, where he used to lead religious education classes, serve as a lector, and visit homebound parishioners. After Nicholas got married, an anonymous letter was sent to the diocesan bishop, who then directed his local priest to remove him from all his volunteer positions.
Roman Catholic leaders Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl, and Sister Mary Ann Walsh(and others) have been making the media rounds, asserting that the Roman Catholic Church is open to all, including gay and lesbian people.
- 62% percent of Catholics said they were in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. (NYT/CBS)
- Catholics approved of same-sex marriage at a higher rate than Americans as a whole (which is 53%) (NYT/CBS)
- 52% of Catholics say church leaders are out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today (Quinnipiac)
- 55% of Catholics say the next pope should move the Church in new directions (Quinnipiac)
In media interviews given on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who also serves as President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the Catholic Church should be more open to gay and lesbian people (bisexual and transgender people were not mentioned). He said "I love you, and God loves you." When pressed about what could be done to make lesbian and gay people more welcome, the Cardinal said he did not know. Below is DignityUSA's response.
April 1, 2013
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
During this season of rebirth, as we celebrate the joyous season of Easter and reflect on the call issued by Pope Francis to meet the needs of those who are impoverished and disadvantaged in our world, we welcome your Easter call to make our Church more welcoming to gay and lesbian people. This is an effort that will demand humility and openness from all, and one on which we are ready to embark with you and other Church leaders. It is also an effort that will demand action, and not simply a change in tone, although that is certainly a step that we would welcome.
As you may know, DignityUSA is a national organization that has been working for more than four decades for justice and the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the life of the Church and in society. Through our chapters across the country, we have engaged with many thousands of LGBT Catholics as they have sought to be faithful both to the Church they love and to their God-given natures.
As stewards of that sacred record of lived experience and of our living tradition of more than forty faith-filled communities, we would suggest that the best way to undertake the project of making the Church more welcoming to LGBT people is to begin a process of face-to-face dialogue. In good Catholic tradition, let us gather to break bread and pray together, so that we initiate this dialogue grounded in the faith and sacraments that unite us.
We also invite you and other members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to read and consider the DignityUSA Letter on the Pastoral Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People, issued in 2007. This document, developed with input from LGBT people, our family members and friends from around the country, offers ten things Church officials, pastoral ministers, and communities can do to make our Church more welcoming of LGBT people and our families. Most are entirely consistent with both Gospel imperatives and current Catholic teaching. While we recognize that other points may be controversial, we believe this letter could be the basis for a fruitful and respectful dialogue.
We sincerely hope and pray that your recent comments mark the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between the Bishops and LGBT Catholics, as well as the majority of U.S. Catholics who have shown themselves to be increasingly supportive of LGBT people. To that end, we feel it is important to set a definite date to resume a dialogue that has been suspended for far too long. We suggest a meeting before Pentecost, or at the earliest possible date, in either New York City or Washington, D.C. If you would let us know your availability, we will make every effort to arrange our schedules to accommodate yours.
We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and begin the vital work you called for, and look forward to the blessed healing in the Body of Christ that this work could bring about.
Lourdes Rodríguez-Nogués Lewis Speaks-Tanner Marianne Duddy-Burke
President Vice President Executive Director
Boston, MA, March 13, 2013. DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke has made the following statement on the election of Pope Francis:
“We join our fellow Catholics in praying for the ministry and leadership of Pope Francis. We applaud the cardinals for their recognition of the rising energy of the Catholic Church in the global South and the new possibilities and perspectives that may come from that region.
We are encouraged by Pope Francis’ clear commitment to the poor, and to the social justice tradition at the heart of our faith. At the same time, we acknowledge that as archbishop and cardinal the man who is now Pope Francis has made some very harsh and inflammatory statements about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We recognize that sometimes this new job on which he embarks can change the man called to it. We call on our new Pope to recognize that he is now head of a Church that includes a huge number of LGBT people, their families and friends around the world. We invite him to take the time to learn about our lives, our faith, and our families before he makes any papal pronouncements about us, and we stand ready to enter into dialogue with him at any time.”
For Immediate Release
March 13, 2013
Will Pope Francis “Rebuild our Church”?
Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) joins with the Roman Catholic Church around the world in welcoming Francis I as the next Pope.
Now in its 21st year, COR is a leadership forum of US national organizations to further reform and renewal in the Roman Catholic Church, to build an inclusive church, and to bring about a world of justice and peace. Though representing a variety of constituencies, we are united in our commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our love of the Church.
It is our conviction that much needs to change, if the Church is to be a vehicle for carrying the Gospel into the future.We pray that Pope Francis I will begin the much-needed task of initiating measures that will enable the Gospel to flourish in today’s world.
As this papal ministry begins, we respectfully highlight some of the issues that cry out from the People of God:
• The need to put accountability measures in place regarding sexual abuse and cover-up
• Establishing collaboration and respect at all levels of our Church
• Ensuring involvement of lay people in Church governance and ministry
• Incorporating women at all levels of ministry and decision-making, including ordination
• Opening ministry to people in relationships and marriages
• Developing a sensible Church teaching on human sexuality, and respecting individual conscience in matters of sexuality and reproduction
• Restoring a focus on social justice concerns, such as poverty, war, the environment and basic human rights
We pray that this will be a moment of true renewal throughout our Church. And, as COR, we dedicate ourselves and pray for a return to the early Christian community’s “discipleship of equals” rather than continuing a medieval, monarchical structure, so out of touch with its people. May Pope Francis I be blessed in serving the needs of the People of God and find inspiration from his namesake, Francis of Assisi, to “rebuild the church.”
American Catholic Council (Sheila Peiffer)
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (Joseph Boyle)
Call To Action (Nicole Sotelo)
Catholics for Choice (Jon O’Brien)
Catholics Speak Out (Dolly Pomerleau)
CORPUS (Anthony Padovano)
DignityUSA (Marianne Duddy-Burke)
Federation of Christian Ministries/RCFCC (Tom Cusack)
FutureChurch (Sr. Chris Schenk)
Pax Christi-Maine (William Slavick)
RAPPORT (Gloria Ulterino)
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (Barbara Zeman)
Southeastern PA Women’s Ordination Conference (ReginaBannan)
Women’s Ordination Conference (Erin Hanna)
Call for a Leader who will Listen, Reconcile
Boston, MA, February 11, 2013. DignityUSA, the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, responded to the news that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of February with the following statement:
Like all Catholics, we appreciate that Pope Benedict put the needs of the Church first in determining he is no longer able to meet the demands of his position. We wish him a peaceful retirement.
At this time of significant transition, we hope that the Cardinals who will elect the new Pope take time to listen to the people of the Church, and that they hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling for a Pope who will be a Shepherd to all of God’s people. We hope for a leader who will work to heal the divisions of recent decades, and who values dialogue above conformity.
As members of the Church who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, as well as family members and allies, we call on the Cardinals and the new Pope to enter into a true dialogue with our community. We call for an end to statements that inflict harm on already marginalized people, depict us as less than fully human, and lend credence to those seeking to justify discrimination. We call on our Church not only to embrace but to champion the dignity and equality of all humans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We call on all members and friends of DignityUSA to enter into a period of prayer and reflection as we prepare for the conclave.
Erin Saiz Hanna, 401.588.0457, Women’s Ordination Conference
Marianne Duddy-Burke, 617.669.7810, DignityUSA
Jon O’Brien, 202.986.6093, Catholics for Choice
Nicole Sotelo, 773.404.0004 x285, Call To Action
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 15, 2012
Catholics Come Out in Support of Girl Scouts
“These are exactly the type of young women needed in the Church today.”
As Catholic organizations we congratulate the Girl Scouts on their 100thyear anniversary and thank them for modeling the best of what girls can be: strong, bold, value-based young women. What a shame that Catholic officials cannot see these young women for the gift they are to the church and world.
The Bishops’ attempt to exert pressure on the Girl Scouts is the most recent episode in an increasingly troubling sequence of attacks against women and girls, both inside and outside the Church. From the hierarchy’s mandate against the nuns to its most recent heavy-handed inquiry into the Girl Scouts, the Bishops’ actions not only reveal the growing gap between the hierarchy and the faithful, but also sends harmful messages about womanhood to our daughters in faith. We urge the Bishops to cease the investigations.
As Catholic organizations that seek a more just and inclusive church, we stand in solidarity with the 59 million women and girls who have been a part of the Girl Scouts. We thank these women and girls—our sisters— for their witness of what it means to be a woman who knows her own giftedness in the face of a religion or society that too often undervalues her self-worth.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Boston, MA, March 16, 2011. DignityUSA has issued a statement supporting the author of a booklet on marriage equality who has come under criticism from two members of the US Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.