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Call on Catholic Leaders to Welcome their Families into the Church

Montreal, Quebec – Organized gay and lesbian Catholics in the United States and Canada deplore Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s statement to the Canadian Senate that the church will refuse to baptize the children of gay and lesbian parents. “We cannot accept the signatures of two fathers or two mothers as parents of an infant,” said the Cardinal. Ouellet went on to explain that for an infant to be baptized according to Canon Law, it is required that there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion, but a married homosexual couple is demonstrating a public, persistent contempt for fundamental Catholic teaching by their relationship.

Catholics believe that baptism cleanses babies of “original sin” and endows them with sanctifying grace, necessary for salvation. Until the 1960’s Catholics were taught that stillborns and infants who died without baptism would never see God, and some old Catholic cemeteries have separate fenced off sections of unconsecrated ground for such unfortunate babies. However the official Catechism now expresses “hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism”.

As importantly, baptism is the initiation ritual and ceremony welcoming people into the church community.

“The same church leaders who claim same-sex parents ‘do violence to their children’ now wish to prevent our children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism,” said Norman Prince, president of Dignity Canada Dignité. “Cardinal Ouellet couldn’t be clearer in his message that gay and lesbian families are not welcome in the Canadian Catholic Church.”

“It’s so disappointing when our church leaders fail to understand church teachings,” noted Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA. “Same-sex couples are certainly capable of raising their children Catholic and many are currently doing so.”

Sam Sinnett, president of DignityUSA stated, “I am angry that some leaders of our church, which normally celebrates and embraces families, continue to find ways to injure and discount our families and our children.  To deny sacraments to children because of the wrongly perceived sinfulness of the parents is morally repulsive.”

Canada recently became the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage. “Canadians can be proud that their members of Parliament have taken a stand in favour of equality and have affirmed once again our world-wide reputation as a country that is open, inclusive and welcoming,” Prince added.  “If only we could say the same of our church.”

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada’s organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church’s sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church’s leadership and teachings.

DignityUSA is the United States’ 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.

For more information:
Norman Prince  (Montreal) 514-954-4408
Debbie Weill (Washington, DC) 202-861-0017