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For Immediate Release

Letter to the editor

Building Bridges over the Rainbow

Dear Charles O'Neill,

The intention of this open letter is to engage you and members of the National AGLO Board of Directors in a public conversation about Ministry to the GLBT community with members of the Board of Directors of Rainbow Sash Movement. Both are national GLBT Catholic Organizations with different approaches to ministry.

As we approach the season of Lent, in my opinion, all Roman Catholics should take this opportunity to reflect on our life journey, and how we have fallen short not only individually, but also as a Church. Lent continues to be a journey from life to death, and back to life. It is in that spirit I would like to ask the following questions of you.

Should ministry to GLBT Community be more concerned with teaching and imposing orthodoxy than being involved in Social Justice Issues of the community? Is it the place of ministry to challenge the patterns of homophobia in Arch/dioceses around the nation? Do you view this form activism as political, or do you think that Social Justice Concerns of the GLBT community should be publicly supported by your ministry?

Is silence in the face of injustice sound pastoral practice? Is it wise to compartmentalize our beliefs? The Arch/diocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach (AGLO) was set up some years ago to minister to homosexual Catholics who want to identify with the gay community but still live chastely according to the moral teaching of the Church. At least this is what Cardinal Francis George of Chicago would have you believe. Integrity of thought is just as important of integrity of action.

The Catholic Hierarchy has actively worked against legislation that would prohibit job discrimination, and housing for same sex people in various jurisdictions around the nation. On the surface it would appear you hold your position as a National Catholic Organization, with the permission of the National Council of Catholic Bishops, over the Social Justice needs of the GLBT Community. Is my interpretation correct, or am I in error?

Their aggressive stand against Gay Marriage especially in Massachusetts witnesses to fact that they are more concerned with privilege than life affirming relationships.

Do GLBT couples hold a lesser place in God's creation as the Bishops promote and your ministry seems to imply? In my opinion, any ministry that excludes GLBT couples calls into question the integrity of such a Ministry. Do you believe it is the place of ministry to include the promotion of Social Justice through self identification and education? Or is it your position that the Social Justice Teaching of the Catholic Church does not apply to the Gay Rights Movement.

Dialogue requires that we engage in a truly honest inquiry into the painful relationship of the GLBT community with the Roman Catholic Church. Certainly this type of discussion would call us to unlearn in order to learn; brace for some levels of pain; seek first to understand; recognize the sanctity and power of language; and focus on the reality of the present situation

Integrity and maturity, I believe calls us to this type of honesty, and respectful dialog. Given the deep fissures in the relationships between the GLBT Community and the Catholic Bishops of the United States what is called for is honesty and courage. We are sisters and brothers in Christ; we really need to respect that relationship, and show it by communicating with each other and our community in a transparent manner, with love in our hearts.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Joe Murray
US ConvenerRainbow Sash Movement


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