Opinions

The Shame of the Catholic Workplace

The list keeps getting longer.

A teacher in New York City. An organist near Atlanta. A teacher in Chicago. A music director in Charlotte. A teacher in Columbus.

At an accelerating rate, Catholic schools and churches around the country are firing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees who have decided that they can no longer deny who they are and whom they love.

Equally Blessed Supports Scouts for Equality

Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic groups that have spent more than 120 years working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, issues this letter of support for the work and mission of Scouts for Equality.

Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they were reconsidering the policy of excluding gay boys and gay and lesbian leaders from participation in BSA. Scouts for Equality has been a leader in the efforts to encourage the Boy Scouts to repeal the policy because of its deleterious effects.

It is with admiration and respect that we endorse the work that Scouts for Equality pursues. It is our hope that through combined and continued efforts the Boy Scouts of American may come to see the love that God has for all.

Lay Catholics Are Changing the Hierarchy's Position on Same-Sex Relationships

By Francis DeBernardo and Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL

Reform-minded Catholics are often told that the church is not a democracy. In the conventional political sense, that may be true. But the church ministers in democracies. And in country after country, Catholic voters have gone to the polls, ignored the often heavy-handed lobbying of their bishops, and voted in favor of marriage equality, or legislators who support marriage equality. They are changing the teachings of the church by changing the culture in which the church functions.

The choice before our bishops now is whether to continue a divisive battle that will only diminish their own authority, or to follow where the laity has led.

If the Church Is Serious About Welcoming Gays...

By Marianne Duddy-Burke and Mary Ellen Lopata

In an Easter morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, spoke words that some gay and lesbian Catholics thought they might never hear.

Asked by the host, George Stephanopoulos, what he would say to people who felt excluded from the Roman Catholic Church because of their sexual orientation, the cardinal said: “Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness.’ ”

In the spirit of compromise, then — and realizing that we and the cardinal are not soon going to agree on how the church and state should treat same-sex couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other — we offer a few suggestions that do not require the hierarchy to adjust its teachings on the nature of marriage, but would send a clear message against distaste and mistrust.

The case of transgender Catholic school teacher Mark Krolikowski: Keeping the faith while gender notions evolve

By Jim FitzGerald

Mark Kroilkowski wore his hair at shoulder length, his nails long and well manicured, and his ears pierced. His appearance, which evolved over the 32 years he'd spent teaching at St. Francis Prepatory School in Queens, had always been considered a bit unconventional for a Catholic school teacher, but it had caused no poblems until October 2011 when the parent of a freshman student complained, setting in motion a series of events that culminated in Kroilikowski's dismissal. 

The former teacher says he was laid off because he informed school officials that he was transgender. He has filed suit. The school’s attorney says Krolikowski was fired for “nondiscriminatory reasons.”

The acronym LGBT has entered into common use in recent years, as a quick way of referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But even individuals who are L, G and B don’t always know much about those who are T. As Christians we believe that the church must work to dispel this ignorance, and to support this deeply stigmatized population.

Peace begins in the gay-friendly home

By Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata

As the new year begins, our list of threats to world peace includes the usual suspects: poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation, the availability of devastating weaponry and sectarian violence. To this list, Pope Benedict XVI would like to add our neighbor Bob.

In his message for the World Day of Peace, which takes place January 1, the pope said that allowing gay and lesbian people to marry “constitutes an offense against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.” That the pope holds these notions is not news. He has previously said that gay marriage threatens the “future of humanity itself.”

We are fortunate enough to be able to contrast the pope’s rhetoric with the reality of Bob’s life, and those of many other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people whom we know. They don’t seem like threats to world peace or the future of humanity. They are men and women trying to earn a living, love their spouses, raise their children and contribute a little something to their churches and their communities.

These aren't my grandfather's Knights of Columbus. And that's a shame!

By Marianne Duddy-Burke
When I was younger, the words “Knights of Columbus” conjured up fond images of my grandfather donning his cape and plumed hat to march in a parade, or slipping into his regalia for a special Mass at his parish church. The Knights council helped coordinate an annual festival for people with developmental disabilities and my whole family volunteered. The Knights of Columbus were good guys in my eyes. They raised money for hot meals, warm clothes and wheelchairs for families that could not afford them.

Pelosi, theologians, lay Catholics: support marriage equality

By Francis DeBernardo
 
The message that American Catholics support marriage equality is one that cannot be emphasized or repeated enough.  Since the Catholic bishops oppose marriage equality so vocally and vociferously, it is important to keep reminding people that the hierarchy’s position is not reflective of the Catholic population.  Some recent news stories highlight this fact.
 

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