Catholics for Equality Decries USCCB Election as Yielding to “Increasingly Uncharitable Demands of the Pope”

Catholics for Equality, founded earlier this year “to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom and equality at the federal, state, and local levels for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family, parish and community members,” has issued a statement critical of the election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as with the election of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz as vice president.

In the statement, board member and political strategist Aniello Alioto said:

This election broadens the gap between the people of the Catholic Church in America and the increasingly uncharitable demands of the Pope in Rome. It also threatens the broad American consensus that began with the election of President John F. Kennedy, allowing American Catholics to contribute more fully to the common good as both Americans and as Catholics. We are concerned that this election will result in a shift from the pastoral nature of American Catholicism to efforts to politicize in America the will of Rome.

Expanding on the criticism of Equality Blessed of Dolan, Catholics for Equality pointed at the election of Kurtz:

Concern is amplified by the election of Archbishop Kurtz as the new USCCB Vice President. Archbishop Kurtz, as head the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, has led the Catholic hierarchy’s national campaign to deny marriage and family rights to gay and lesbian citizens. That campaign has been financially assisted by the national office of the Knights of Columbus, most recently through the production of videos that demean and discredit gay and lesbian relationships, as well as single parent and extended family households.

According to the statement, Kurtz’s report from the ad hoc Committee on Defense of Marriage, Kurtz “makes it clear that our bishops are waging a new political campaign to change the laws in our country,” similar to the battle over reproductive rights:

The Committee’s report compares court challenges to Proposition 8 in California and the federal Defense of Marriage Act to Roe v. Wade and the battle over reproductive rights. This results in a new “pro-family, pro-life” messaging strategy that harms all non-traditional as well as LGBT families. It contributes to the climate that permits bullying and harassment of youth from such families who become at higher risk for depression and suicide.

The group called on the bishops “to pledge full transparency in all efforts to shift funding from our national charitable, pastoral and educational efforts into the Pope’s interference to deny freedom and fairness in American politics,” and “on all Catholics of good conscience to monitor and challenge the priorities of our bishops.”

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