An advertisement in the August 27, 2011 El Paso Times can do tremendous spiritual damage to Catholics who read it, according to a national Catholic support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual , and transgender (LGBT) people and their families.
“This ad contained language that many people will find hurtful and alienating,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “It does not represent the spirit of love and inclusion that Jesus taught, and that most people in our Church strive to live out.
“I am very concerned for LGBT Catholics and their family members in the El Paso area,” continued Duddy-Burke. “Many gay and lesbian people struggle with how to integrate their faith and spirituality when they first come out. This ad could send people into despair. I hope they know how to find support from people of faith who will provide positive role models.”
Duddy-Burke said that she welcomed anyone who is concerned about the impact of the ad to contact DignityUSA at 800-877-8797, or to go to the organization’s website at www.dignityusa.org. She also recommended Fortunate Families, a group for Catholic parents of LGBT people (www.fortunatefamilies.com).
“I question why, so close on the heels of the rash of highly publicized suicides among lesbian, gay, and transgender young people, any Catholic priest would put out a statement as condemnatory as this ad,” said Duddy-Burke. “I see it as a real failure of ministry.”
DignityUSA is the nation’s oldest and largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics. Founded in 1969, the group has members and Chapters across the U.S.