My name is Mary Louise Cervone, and I am the president of DignityUSA, the oldest and largest organization in the United States, of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, our families and friends.
I am here today representing thousands of Catholics in America, gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics. I am here to bear witness to the truth of our lives as Roman Catholics. I am here to celebrate the truth of our love of God, self and others. I am here because the door to my heart, the door to my deep and profound faith, is wide open.
Today is the day for our Church, the Roman Catholic Church, to truly open wide the doors to gay and lesbian Catholics. For over thirty years, DignityUSA has offered sanctuary to those whom our church leaders have called "objectively disordered," to those whom our church leaders have exiled from our own Catholic churches. Our doors have always been open wide to those whom our church leaders will not name for our wholeness as gay and lesbian people and for our holiness as people of faith.
Today is the day for our Church, the Roman Catholic Church, to celebrate our lives as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics. For too long, our church leaders, here in the Vatican and at home in America, have dared to fly in the face of the gospel values of justice and love. For too long, gay and lesbian Catholics have been excluded from the sacramental life of the church.
Today is the day to bring healing to our Church. Today is the day that gay and lesbian people celebrate fullness of life as Roman Catholics. We celebrate the gift of our sexuality as a gift from God. We bear witness to that gift as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as parents and friends, as partners in loving and committed relationships.
Today is the day that gay and lesbian Catholics in America and in the world, challenge our Church, the Roman Catholic Church, to speak of us, not with words of vilification but with words of love. No longer will we accept language rooted in fear and prejudice. No longer will we tolerate attitudes that label us as "disordered" or "sinful." No longer will the truth of our lives be ignored, shamed or disgraced.
We challenge our church leaders to speak to us and not about us. As we have for over thirty years, DignityUSA again invites Vatican and American church leaders to dialogue. Today is the day we are all held accountable for our words and our actions and our witness.
Today is the day we dare to speak the truth. We are called by name — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender. We are called by name — Roman Catholic.
DignityUSA is the nation's oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender Catholics, our families and friends. It is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1969, and has chapters and members across the United States.
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Vatican images courtesy www.soulforce.org