Valentine’s Day Message of Love and Equality from Ohio and Kentucky Catholics

February 14, 2014

On Valentine’s Day, we have two stories about how U.S. Catholics are showing their love for LGBT people by taking their message of equality and justice to the streets this week.  One event has already occurred and one is scheduled for this coming weekend.

Protesting Bishop Paprocki’s talk against marriage equality.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday evening, February 12th,  Catholics gathered outside the Athenaeum, a Catholic seminary in that city, to protest a talk against marriage equality being given there by Springfield, Illinois’ Bishop Thomas Paprocki.  This bishop made headlines last year when he staged a prayer service that included prayers of exorcism in his cathedral on the day that marriage equality was signed into law in Illinois.

The protest, organized by Dignity/Dayton and Dignity/USA, demonstrated Catholic support for  marriage equality.  WCPO-TV reported that while inside the building Bishop Paprocki offered arguments against marriage equality, outside, the demonstrators told a different story:

“The protestors strongly disagree [with the bishop], saying his theory clashes with the Pope’s beliefs. According to protestor Bob Butts, the Pope’s bigger concern is poverty.

” ‘My partner and I have been together for 26 years,’ he said. ‘This stuff is mean, hateful, does a lot of harm, especially to young LGBT youth.’

“Protesting along with Butts was Peggy Hanna.

” ‘I believe those of us who are not in the LGBT community, we need to come out and support them,’ she said. ‘This is the right thing to do. I am wishing the church would open its mind and heart.’ “

You can watch the video of the news report on this protest by clicking here.

In May of 2013, Bishop Paprocki debated New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick on the topic of marriage equality.

Father Joseph Fowler

On Sunday, February 16th, Catholics for Fairness, a pr0-LGBT group in Louisville, Kentucky, will march to the cathedral in that city to ask Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the ordinary of the city and also the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to “acknowledge the inherent dignity of all human beings, including LGBT people,” according to Father Joseph Fowler, an archdiocesan priest who has organized this demonstration for the last three years.

Fr. Fowler explained the purpose of the demonstration in an essay in Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper:

“While Pope Francis appears to be moving the church forward on LGBT acceptance, it seems Archbishop Kurtz is resisting. More than three years ago, Archbishop Kurtz made a promise — since unfulfilled — that he would review and consider support for a simple LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination Fairness law in Kentucky.

“House Bill 171, introduced by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian and co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Wayne and 15 other state legislators, would extend discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations to LGBT people. It’s a law that says everyone deserves a fair shake at earning a living, putting a roof over their heads, and eating at their favorite restaurants without the fear of being turned away just because of who they are.

“And it’s the type of law the vast majority of Catholics support nationwide — 73 percent according to a recent Public Policy Research Institute poll. This same poll showed Catholics to be the most progressive Christian denomination in America on LGBT issues.

“With so much support among Catholics, and Pope Francis’ obvious overtures of LGBT acceptance, it remains an enigma why Archbishop Kurtz continues to avoid the issue.”

The Louisville marchers will meet on Sunday, February 16, 4:00 p.m., at  4 p.m. at the Volunteers of America of Kentucky headquarters, 570 South Fourth St.  They will walk to the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 South Fifth Street.

Kudos to these Catholics in Cincinnati and Louisville for demonstrating their faith in such powerful ways!  What a wonderful present for St. Valentine’s Day!

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 

 


Archbishop Kurtz Has An Opportunity to Back His Words With Action

February 23, 2012

Photo Tom Wright, U.S. Catholic

U.S. Catholic magazine’s newest issue is running a major story on lesbian and gay Catholics, entitled “Pride and Prejudice: The uneasy relationship between gays and lesbians and their church.” 

Writer Kristen Hannum does an excellent job of analyzing many of the important issues that affect lesbian and gay Catholics, and she even-handedly allows all parts of the Catholic debate on these issues to speak. (Stay tuned:  in the coming days, we will report on two sidebar articles that accompany this comprehensive piece.)

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

One of those quoted in the article, Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, has a prime opportunity to back up his words with actions.  Hannum quotes him expressing strong support for Catholic teaching on respecting human dignity:

“ ‘Every conversation should emphasize dignity,’ says Kurtz, past chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage. The archbishop praises the USCCB’s Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, which begins with general principles, the first of which is respecting human dignity, that (quoting from the Catechism) ‘persons with a homosexual inclination must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.’ ”

Archbishop Kurtz has a wonderful opportunity to put that quote into action right in his own backyard.   Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper carries a story about a protest this past Sunday at the city’s Catholic Cathedral:

“The event was organized by the Fairness Campaign, a gay-rights group. The legislation it supports would ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations but would not legalize gay marriage, said Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman. . . .

“Supporters of the legislation are seeking the backing of Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, whom they met with about a year ago to discuss the issue, Hartman said.”

The bill needs greater support from city leaders, and Archbishop Kurtz now has an opportunity to stand up for the church’s teaching on human dignity.  When he was the chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, he spoke up a lot about the church’s teaching on sexuality as it applied to lesbian and gay people.  In the U.S. Catholic  article he says that both teachings need to be expounded:

“ ‘Both are to be emphasized, the dignity and the Catholic vision for sexuality,’ says Kurtz.”

If he needs assistance in formulating his position, he can turn to one of his priests, who presides at liturgy in the diocesan cathedral.  According to the Courier-Journal:

“The Rev. Joseph Fowler, a retired priest in the Archdiocese of Louisville, participated in the Fairness Campaign event before helping officiate at the Mass at the cathedral.

“He said he supports the anti-discrimination legislation because ‘there is a dignity to each person that we recognize.’

“Asked how he reconciles his support with Catholic teaching, Fowler said, ‘The church does not say it’s wrong to be a homosexual.’ ”

Let’s hope and pray that Archbishop Kurtz speaks up for human dignity with strong passion.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


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