By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA
Just as LGBTQ Pride activities were ramping up in Boston during June 2010, our archdiocesan newspaper, The Boston Pilot, printed one of the most egregious articles I’ve seen in many a year. Written by one of the paper’s regular columnists, the piece began by stating the author’s belief that same-sex couples could not actually be “real” parents; they may have children in their custody, but the lack of biological connection with at least one parent was seen as an insurmountable obstacle to parenthood. The author then offered three reasons that children of same-sex parents posed a danger to Catholic schools. First, having children observe teachers and other school officials being polite and respectful to a lesbian or gay couple would give “scandal.” Second, the writer questioned the gay/lesbian parents’ motivation for involvement in classroom and extracurricular activities. Finally, it was stated that children living with gay couples would likely bring obscene or pornographic material to class.
Fortunately, this horrific opinion piece prompted outrage and vocal protests from across the Boston area and far beyond. At least two mainstream parishes wrote about the insult posed by this piece on their list serves. Letters of objection have been sent to the Pilot by gay people, parents, religious educators, and dozens of ordinary Catholics. Local newspapers, radio shows, and television newscasts have challenged the Cardinal and the paper’s editor to explain why they allowed the article to run. It is clear that nearly everyone understands that this kind of specious attack, filled with untruth and innuendo, has no place in a reputable Catholic paper.
Everyone except our Church officials that is. And as we close out another Pride month, therein lies our particular conundrum. As the gap between official teaching and popular belief widens in our Church, in large part through the truth-living of so many LGBT Catholics over the years, we must continue to rally our allies to repel the hierarchy’s ongoing attacks on us. At the same time, we have the opportunity to model building the new Church, a Church where all are one, a Church in which we can all have pride.