Archbishop Boots LGBT Catholics from Philly Church

A coalition of LGBT Catholics planning to hold a workshop (sponsored by the New Ways Ministry) on LGBT and gender identity issues during the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia have been told they many not use St. John the Evangelist Church’s parish center as planned, reportedly at the direction of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. “They are trying to pin in on the local priest, but my understanding is the order came from Chaput,” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director, of Dignity USA, told RD.

The Equally Blessed Coalition, which consists of New Ways Ministry, Dignity USA, Fortunate Families and Call to Action, had a program called “TransForming Love: Exploring Gender Identity From Catholic Perspectives” scheduled for September 25 which reportedly caused Chaput to cancel the group’s permission to use the space.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another instance of the kind of exclusion LGBT Catholics and supporters have endured for decades. Bishops have refused to allow us to meet in our own Churches, retreat centers and colleges,” Equally Blessed said in a statement.

“There is a lack of information in the Catholic Church about gender identity, and this workshop was designed to provide information based on personal experience,” Frank DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There was no plan to have a theological discussion about gender identity.”

The World Meeting of Families is a triennial gathering of Catholics to “explore the critical role the family plays in society and to give families opportunities to talk about the challenges and blessings that all families have.” However, the discussion of LGBT issues has been confined to a one-hour session led by a celibate gay man that LGBT Catholic activists say doesn’t reflect the difficulties and tensions that gay Catholics face within the church.

“A gay man who has chosen celibacy is chosen as the only Catholic experience of being LGBT. He represents the tiniest fraction of LGBT Catholics in this country and around the world,” Duddy-Burke said. “The vast majority of Catholics have family members who are in same-sex relationships or are seeking relationships or deciding how to live openly in the gender they know themselves to be.* Hiding this fact would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.”

Dignity and GLAAD sent a letter to the pope requesting a meeting with gay families during his visit to Philadelphia, but have not received a response. “We remain hopeful we will have a chance to address the concerns we raised in the letter,” said Duddy-Burke. The organizations are also exploring using a local Methodist Church for the program it has planned during the World Meeting of Families.

Correction: This quote initially read “…in the gender they are deciding to be,” which was a misquote. RD regrets the error. 

  • DavidHarley

    “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
    – some old Catholic guy

  • NancyP

    It would be nice to hold this LGBT educational event at the Episcopal church or some other friendly location within walking distance of the World Meeting of Families meeting location, and have someone standing at the meeting hotel handing out a flier. Not that any of the meeting attendees would proclaim that they were going there, but plenty of people skip out on meeting sessions for various reasons.

  • gilhcan

    Not at all surprising coming from Philadelphia’s Chaput. He is a religious dictator, and religious dictators are as bad as any dictators. Still, Chaput was ready to silently cooperate with his assistants in continuing to try to hide the pedophilia his predecessors had been hiding.

    What is surprising is that the people of the archdiocese have not yet risen up–talk about miracles–and demanded that Chaput be sent back to a friary. The condition is living proof–is any were needed–that the people of every diocese choose their own priests, including their “bishop” leader, That is not done when organizational kissers make such choices for the people so that the status quo the distant leaders invented be maintained.

  • lsomers

    There are alternatives for “Catholic” Christians that do not include the bigotry embraced by most of the RC hierarchy (many of whom are gay themselves, but of the self-loathing variety). There are independent catholic churches all over the place. A quick Google search will uncover many if not most of them in your area. Fortunately or unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church is busy cutting off its own arms and legs with a Medieval attitude toward sex, sexuality and sexual identity. Since removing myself from its odious embrace a number of years ago, I’ve been involved in a number of non-Roman Catholic churches where inclusivity is a hallmark of the ministry – as it was with Jesus. BTW I’m an ordained Catholic Priest and Bishop as well – not practicing.

  • khughes1963

    I also recall how Chaput did the dirty work of ousting the Australian bishop Wiliiam Morris for the “crime” of advocating for female priests. Chaput is more of an organization man than a spiritual leader, and unfortunately that is also characteristic of the bishops that John Paul II and Benedict XVI appointed. The bishops’ handling of the pedophiles in the clergy reminds me of the dismal way in which Ford Motor tried to conceal evidence of the defective starter in the Ford Fusion, except that the number of victims was far higher in the sexual abuse cases.

  • Whiskyjack

    There’s something to be said about being honest about the discrimination and hate inherent in the religion’s foundational texts. At least he isn’t trying to spin-doctor away the message. Maybe making apparent the immorality inherent in many places in the Bible will lead people to question the whole enterprise.

  • DKeane123

    How dare you criticize these poor Catholics. Being an outsider that doesn’t understand the long held tradition of Canon Law and theology – you really should just shut your trap. I would also add that your call for exposing the immorality inherent in the Bible degrades those already working within Catholicism to reform the institution. You New Atheist Dawkins supporters – you are all the same. (/s)

    BTW – this also applies to Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Scientology, Wiccan, and Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • Jim Reed

    He does have an interesting point about questioning the whole enterprise. It has to come down to what we think about the scriptures. Do we still think thousands of years ago God was more involved in humanity, even to the point of telling them what to write in their scriptures? If yes, then the scriptures are Holy. If not, then the whole enterprise needs rethinking and we should probably throw Christianity and some of the other religions in the trash and start over to make something better.

  • Apparently Chaput did not get the Pope’s message about inclusion and being non-judgmental! I hope he can explain himself when his boss meets him soon. I suspect reverence will have little to do with that meeting. One can only hope that letters to the Pope about this man, plus his record, gets him sent to the same monastery where the Bishop from Germany was sent to reflect on what serving Christ means.

  • George M Melby

    LOLOL… more humor from the uneducated.

  • DKeane123

    Laughing out lout out loud? Please educate me.

  • Wild Child

    Old queen, buzz off.

  • Sailingsoul

    I was raised a catholic and that child rapist harboring cult will neverb see another penny from me and that has been so for many many years. That can rot in their imaginary hell before they see money from me again.

  • Sailingsoul

    ” reform the institution”? Are you bat shit crazy? Oh yes, your defending the den of pedophile sheltering catholic church. I with draw my question. How about the church start their
    “reformation” by cuffing up the hundreds of pedophile priests and bishops they got in their own mists. And go fuck yourself for defending those pigs and yes I was raised a catholic so I can say that to you and about the church because I got morals where you and the church does not.

  • Sailingsoul

    That inclusion crap was always a pack of lies. It didn’t get to be a wealthy as it is with out lying as it does.

  • Diane

    The group should vote with their feet and wallets. So should the church members whose church is being used by the bishop to make his point.
    And all the families and friends of LG people everywhere.

    Would it not make a statement if once a month people refused to tithe or give in collection baskets?

  • George M Melby

    LOLOL…Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………………………