Jeff Stone, 212-662-9088
Brendan Fay, 718-721-2780
New York, April 23 — Dignity/New York, the local chapter of DignityUSA, commends the Archdiocese of New York for its quick action in clarifying the comments made by Monsignor Eugene Clark in his homily at Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday, April 21, 2002. Monsignor Clark's homily seemed to blame the current clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church on gay priests.
"We applaud the officials of the Archdiocese of New York for having recognized the harm that allowing Monsignor Clark's message to stand unchallenged would have done," said Jeff Stone, a spokesman for Dignity/New York. "His homily trivialized the suffering of victims of clergy sexual abuse and deeply offended many Catholics who understand the difference between pedophilia and homosexuality. His comments could have also discredited the ministry of the many gay priests who serve the Church with integrity and faithfulness."
Stone went on to say, "We thank the Archdiocese for clarifying that these comments in no way reflect the position of Cardinal Egan. It is very important for all Catholics to realize that Monsignor Clark was speaking on his own, and that his comments were not endorsed, or even reviewed by, the Cardinal."
Stone commented that Dignity/New York remains concerned about the fact that the Monsignor's statements may still be seen as an official message. "He used one of the most powerful pulpits in the world to give an erroneous message to hundreds of people at St. Patrick's, and through the media to millions more," said Stone. "We hope that the clarification will be distributed this weekend to all who attend Mass at Saint Patrick's, and will be reprinted in Catholic New York, the Archdiocesan newspaper, in order to reach as many people as possible."
"The clergy sexual abuse scandal is a horrible tragedy for all of us in the Church. We in Dignity/New York reiterate our solidarity with all who are suffering as a result of this crisis, and urge systematic reforms to ensure that it can never be repeated. We support all sincere efforts to change Church policies, in this Archdiocese and throughout the country, to guarantee Church cooperation with the civil authorities in resolving outstanding allegations of abuse. We reject any attempts to link homosexuality and criminal behavior as a way of deflecting attention from the real problems faced by the Church," continued Stone.
Dignity/New York is a Chapter member of DignityUSA, the nation's oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, our families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1972, Dignity/New York is marking its thirtieth year of ministry in the New York area.