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DignityUSA issued a call to the U.S. Catholic Bishops to use the Lenten season to reflect on how GodÕs grace might be working through gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people and the debate on same-sex marriage.

ÒI would hope that our bishops, who have vehemently opposed same-sex civil marriage or any recognition of our GLBT committed relationships, might take time during this season to reflect on what the Holy Spirit might be telling us about love and human relationships through this struggle,Ó said Matthew Gallagher, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “My own Lenten prayer would be that such reflection would lead to a conversion of heart for our bishops.”

The Bishops have acted against the GLBT community by spreading words that cause great harm and pain. These words of emotional and spiritual violence do not fit the vocation of a person ordained to serve the people of God. So DignityUSA is calling on the Bishops to consider how they have spread misinformation about GLBT Catholics and how speaking words of violence against the GLBT people of God has done great harm. We call on the Bishops to search their hearts for compassion for all their brothers and sisters in Christ.

“We ask the bishops, like all faithful Catholics, to look inside their hearts and ask themselves if their views on the issue of gay marriage are fully informed by the lived experience of the members of the body of Christ, as well as history, philosophy, and church teaching,” said Sam Sinnett, president of the DignityUSA Board of Directors.

In statements previously issued by the Bishops, they have said gay and lesbian Catholics should be respected, yet the Bishops have supported the statement from the Vatican this past summer calling GLBT Catholics and our loving committed relationships evil and disordered. The Bishops also supported the Vatican statement that the adoption of children by same-sex couples does violence to the children when all credible evidence says the opposite.

During Lent, Dignity Chapters will be asking God to bless the Bishops with hearts of compassion instead of hearts of stone. The goal is to open dialogue between the Bishops and DignityUSA, the Voice for GLBT Catholics, many of whom cannot otherwise speak for themselves.

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.