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DignityUSA Responds to Letter from Chicago's Catholic Pastors Regarding the Pastoral Care of Gay and Lesbian Persons

The following letter was sent by DignityUSA Executive Director Matthew J. Gallagher to the Catholic pastors of Chicago who signed a letter to the Church hierarchy on December 19, 2003, regarding the pastoral care of gay and lesbian persons, linked here 

Dear Father:

On behalf of DignityUSA, our members and supporters, I want to thank you for your bold statement to the Hierarchy of our church regarding the pastoral care of gay and lesbian persons.

Like you, we have been greatly dismayed at the angry and dismissive language used in recent church statements and by several of our bishops. Such words are easily construed as violent and can lead to violent actions in our communities. Rather than create healing and unity, such language tears apart relationships between the faithful and simply is sinful.

As an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics, DignityUSA and its chapters we worked for nearly thirty-five years to support our brothers and sisters through the struggle to reconcile our faith, our spirituality and our sexuality. This journey as GLBT Catholics becomes evermore very difficult when we are faced with such language that clearly does not come from a place of love, but rather from fear and sometimes hatred. We've looked to the bishops to be Christ-like, but unfortunately, too often we have found them to be just the opposite.

For those of us who have been the target of the bishop's attacks, your courage to write this letter gives the hope that perhaps we still can experience Christ's love within our Church. Your letter has been forwarded by many of our members to their friends and families. The introduction to your letter is always one of joy and excitement that there are clergy with faith and courage to stand up and hold our hierarchy accountable for their language and who will speak the truth about the lives of the glbt faithful - clergy and laity alike.

Please be assured of our prayers for each of you. We pray that you continue to be good ministers to God's children. We pray that you continue to receive the strength of the Spirit to speak the truth. We pray that you receive the support you deserve for being voices of love in our church.

I hope that when I visit the Dignity chapter in Chicago later this spring, that I have the opportunity to meet you and thank you in person for your courageous act.

May the blessings of the new year be with you in your ministry.


Matthew J. Gallagher
Executive Director