Prayer Vigil Will Remember Orlando Victims & Call on Bishops to Speak Out

LGBT Catholics and their supporters will gather in vigil at the U.S. Bishops Conference November meeting to remember the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre and to call on the bishops to acknowledge the reality of LGBT lives.

dignity-button
A button minted for the prayer vigil.

The vigil, sponsored by DignityUSA, will be held on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 10:30 AM – 2:00 pm, outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 700 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore. Maryland.  The demonstration’s twin themes are “A Vigil to Remember the Pulse Victims And Our Murdered Transgender Kin” and “A Call to our Bishops to Dare to Speak our Names:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Gender Queer”

An announcement from DignityUSA explained the purpose of the vigil:

“The Catholic Bishops response (or lack thereof) to the Pulse [the name of the Orlando nightclub] shooting demonstrated that most Bishops still refuse to even say the words ‘Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer’ and refuse to acknowledge the reality of LGBT lives. The bishops have also ignored the crisis of violence against our transgender siblings. In response, DignityUSA is calling on the bishops to ‘call us by name.’ “

Participants at the rally will pray the rosary. Many will be holding rainbow rosary bead sets. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.  For more information, send email to allenr@dignityusa.org .

With few exceptions, most of the U.S. bishops who responded to the nightclub shooting in which 49 people were killed did not make mention of the fact that the targeted victims were LGBT people. In his official response to the shooting, U.S. Bishops Conference President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz did not mention the LGBT factor in the incident and made only a general call to an “ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every single person.”

San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s statement made the LGBT people even angrier than statements that made no reference to the the victims’ gender identity or sexual orientation.  He said: “[R]egardless of race, religion, or personal lifestyle, we are all beloved children of God.”

Even Orlando’s local Catholic leader, Bishop John Noonan, of Orlando did not acknowledge the gay and lesbian dimension of the attack in his response. A diocesan Vigil to Dry Tears, which took place soon after the event, had no evidence that the victims were members of the LGBT community.

There were exceptions, of course.   Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich was one of the first to speak up, addressing the regular Sunday Mass of the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach:

“For you here today and throughout the whole lesbian and gay community, who are particularly touched by the heinous crimes committed in Orlando, motivated by hate, driven perhaps by mental instability and certainly empowered by a culture of violence, know this: the Archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you.”

Similarly, Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernadino, California, said in his response statement that he wanted to “make clear our condemnation of discriminatory violence against those who are gay and lesbian, and we offer our prayers to that community.”

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida,  indicted the Catholic community as partly responsible for anti-gay violence:

“[S]adly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.

San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy made a similar statement, saying:

‘This tragedy is a call for us as Catholics to combat ever more vigorously the anti-gay prejudice which exists in our Catholic community and in our country.”

The Catholic community in the pews, and around the world, however, were much more supportive of LGBT people in the wake of the shooting.  The following blog posts recount some of their actions and statements :

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, November 5, 2016

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Prayer Vigil Will Remember Orlando Victims & Call on Bishops to Speak Out

  1. Friends November 5, 2016 / 8:12 am

    Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, there are quarters within the Church where messages of support and empathy are completely rejected — and sometimes ignorance devolves into downright lunacy. Here’s another example which just turned up in my “Today’s Catholic News” topic search:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/san-diego-catholic-church-says-devil-works-hillary-174950179.html?.tsrc=daily_mail

    This Catholic parish, in its bulletin, is claiming that Hillary is possessed by Satan, and that voting for her is mortally sinful. No word on whether Trump voters stand in a similar danger of eternal perdition. Is this truly the Church that Jesus Himself bequeathed to us?

    • Wilhelm Wonka November 5, 2016 / 6:56 pm

      Are you kiddin’ us?

      • Friends November 6, 2016 / 10:41 am

        Not kidding, Wilhelm! Click the URL link I posted, and read the actual news item for yourself. What to make of this lunacy? “God Only Knows”. But Jesus Himself is clearly not behind it.

      • Friends November 6, 2016 / 11:17 am

        Following up, Wilhelm (and our other readers): the priest of this parish is Fr. Richard Perozich, and — browsing the Google information about him — I see that he has been implicated before in extreme right-wing incendiary pronouncements and actions at his parish church. Here’s a very useful information link:

        https://www.google.com/#q=Fr.+Richard+Perozich

        He denies that he had anything to do with this “voting for Democrats is a mortal sin” caper — and he blames it on the middle-level parish employee who was responsible for preparing the parish bulletin. But his own personal c.v. belies his denial of any such responsibility. Draw your own reasonable conclusions.

  2. Bishop Carlos A Florido. osf November 5, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    I so wish I could be present!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s