Dear Sister and Brother members of DignityUSA,
It was good to be on the sidewalks of downtown Chicago yesterday in front of the Fairmont Hotel with the Chicago area Coalition of Concerned Catholics formed by members of Call to Action (CTA), Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), CTA Chicagoland, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Dignity/Chicago, and the task force on accountability from several parishes during the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting of our American bishops.
It's always an amazing experience to advocate for our issues so directly and to feel that DignityUSA is so welcomed by the People of God who definitely were on the sidewalks and not behind the security of a fancy hotel.
Our efforts with our allies at this USCCB meeting were aimed at the accountability of bishops - especially for the child abuse crisis. It was an honor to represent the support of DignityUSA by marching, praying and singing with these Concerned Catholics. While hundred of priests have been removed from ministry not one single bishop has resigned or been held accountable except for Cardinal Bernard Law who got a promotion to Archpriest in Rome. Fraternal correction among our bishops obviously does not work. Guilty bishops were named and asked to resign.
We call on our bishops as moral teachers to have a well-formed conscience by not ignoring the medical, social science and theological advances in knowledge in regard to homosexuality and the potential holiness / wholeness of our relationships and families. The pope, cardinals and other Catholic bishops must be held accountable for willful ignorance of the facts of our lived experience.
Also an afternoon prayer service was held in front of the Fairmont Hotel to protest the firing of Fr. Tom Reese, S.J., as editor of the Jesuit's America Magazine for promoting "Open Discussion of Critical Issues in the Church". If ever there was a need for such discussion in our Church it is now "Because not everything is Black and White" as CTA's motto says. Local Chicago friends caught me in my rainbow jacket on the Chicago evening news promoting our non-black and white colors!
I hope you are coming to Philadelphia for our Convention July 7-10, 2005. We will have our own Peaceful Witness on the sidewalks of Philadelphia directly related to our issues and our Convention theme "From Truth to Freedom" on Thursday afternoon July 7 at 3:15 PM beginning at the Loews Hotel. All are welcome! Bring your walking shoes and a votive candle.
C. Samuel Sinnett
DignityUSA is the nation's foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Catholics, their families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1969, it is an independent nonprofit organization with members and chapters across the country. DignityUSA works for full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Church and society. Join OR Donate at www.dignityusa.org