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Dismayed by Archbishop O'Malley's charge that dissenters possess "erroneous conscience"

Boston — Leaders of Dignity/Boston, a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics and allies, stated their objection to both the most recent actions of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops opposing same-sex marriage and to remarks by Archbishop of Boston, Sean P. O'Malley OFM Cap in the Nov 12 edition of the Boston Globe.

"The bishops are sending mixed messages by alleging that they oppose discrimination against gay and lesbian people, while simultaneously urging lawmakers to deny us fundamental civil rights," said Chuck Provancher, president of Dignity/Boston. "It shows that they have very little understanding of the truth of how we live our lives."

At their meeting in Washington, DC, the US bishops overwhelmingly approved a statement that urges states to withhold legal recognition for same-sex couples.

Hyde Park resident Marianne Duddy, a longtime member of Dignity/Boston, said, "By releasing their statement, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church will once again go on record in support of discrimination."

Leaders of Dignity/Boston also objected to remarks made by Archbishop O'Malley in an interview with the Boston Globe. O'Malley cited the Sixth Commandment (which bars adultery) as justification for opposition to same-sex marriage. He also said that people who disagree with church teaching may be following "an erroneous conscience" and "doing violence to their own nature."

"For Archbishop O'Malley to dismiss the loving, committed relationships of countless same-sex couples as mere 'adultery' is divisive, and an insult to our families," Provancher said. "Does not Catholic doctrine teach that God speaks to us through our conscience, and that it is our duty to listen to that voice inside of each of us? How can the archbishop charge that our conscience is in error?"

Duddy added, "By attempting to deny basic benefits and protections to countless loving, committed couples and their children, church leaders are the ones 'doing violence' to our families."

Dignity/Boston offers blessings of same-sex unions for its members in committed relationships. In doing so, the community affirms the resolution of DignityUSA, representing chapters and members across the country, on same sex marriage:

As Americans, we remind our fellow citizens of a foundational principle of our form of government: all are created equal. Consistent with the pursuit of liberty and justice for all, same-sex couples should have full and equal access to the rights and responsibilities bestowed by civil marriage.

As Catholics, we remind our Church of a foundational conviction of our faith: God is love and all who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. The love that brings and binds two people of the same, or opposite sex, together has a divine source. It is therefore sacramental in nature and should be celebrated as such by our Church."

Resolution of DignityUSA Board of Directors and membership — August 9, 2003(

Dignity/Boston is a progressive and inclusive community of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, our families, friends and supporters. The community gathers for liturgy every Sunday at the Church of St. John the Evangelist on Beacon Hill in Boston. Dignity/Boston celebrated its 30th year of service to the community and witness to the Catholic Church in 2002. For more information, please visit