Gay Catholics and Allies to Protest Vatican


EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday December 9, 2008

DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and Call To Action -three Catholic organizations that support gay equality - will hold vigils in five cities across the nation on Wednesday, December 10 , to protest Vatican opposition to a United Nations resolution that would decriminalize homosexuality.

In more than 80 countries, gay people can still be imprisoned or even executed. The resolution will be presented to the UN on the day of the vigils.

"We applaud the United Nations for its call to end the laws that make gay and lesbian people criminals," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA's Executive Director.

"But our joy is overwhelmed by our shock over Vatican's opposition to this initiative. Using faith and religion as an excuse to support laws that allow countries to imprison or execute gay people is shameful. We cannot be silent-the Vatican does not speak for all Catholics on this."

"We are so disappointed that the leaders of the Catholic Church would object to protecting gay people from the often violent threats they face. Supporting the UN declaration against imprisonment or execution of gay people is exactly what the church should be doing," said Frank Francis DeBbernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry.

"Our organization is committed to creating dialogue among members of the Catholic Church and I know from experience that the statements of the Church's leaders do not reflect the views of the majority of Catholics, who favor protecting gay people from life-threatening violence."

Call To Action, a group of 25,000 Catholics who seek to foster peace and justice in the Catholic Church and society, was equally surprised that the church would stand against such legislationa proposal.

"The Vatican should be committed to promoting the social welfare of all people worldwide and this official statement from the church flies in the face of that," said Nicole Sotelo, communications director of Call To Action.

"The church should be striving to promote peace, instead of supporting state-sponsored violence against gay people across the globe."

During Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. in April 2008, DignityUSA held a prayer service outside the United Nations before the Pope's address to the General Assembly. During the service, those gathered asked the Pope to call on all countries to end state-sanctioned violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

"There are nearly 70 countries where being gay is still a crime, and a dozen where being gay can result in the death penalty," said Duddy-Burke.

"We believe that our Pope, our Church, with its belief in the sanctity of human life, should be leading efforts to end this most egregious form of oppression. Instead, our leader has chosen to stand with countries that continue to name us as criminals."

Locations and times for the vigils are:

Boston, MA

6:30 PM Eastern Time

Holy Cross Cathedral

1400 Washington Street

Boston, MA

Contact Person: Rocco Pigneri, 617-421-1915, [email protected]


We are so disappointed that the leaders of the Catholic Church would object to protecting gay people from the often violent threats they face - Frank Francis DeBbernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry

Dallas, TX

5:30 PM Central Time

Cathedral Guadalupe

2215 Ross Avenue

Dallas, TX

Contact Person: Jon Garinn, 214-621-9530, [email protected]


New York, NY

12:30 - 1:30 PM Eastern Time

Fifth Avenue & 51st Street (in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral)

New York, NY

Contact Person: Jeff Stone, 646-418-7039, [email protected]

San Francisco, CA

5:00 - 7:00 PM Pacific Time

Pink Triangle Memorial Park

Castro & Market (near the northwest corner)

San Francisco, CA

Contact People: Jim McGarry or Kathy Curran, [email protected]

Seattle, WA

4:45 - 5:30 PM

St. James Cathedral

804 Ninth Avenue

Seattle, WA

Contact Person: Leo N. Egashira, 206-723-4759, [email protected]