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DignityUSA speaks out against misuse of Sacrament of Holy Communion by Bishops

Contact Information: 

Matthew Gallagher
202.861.0017 (Office)
301.325.7650 (Cell)

Today, the leaders of DignityUSA, the nation’s oldest organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Catholics, spoke out against withholding Holy Communion from Church members. DignityUSA calls on the Bishops to stop using this great sacrament as a weapon of divisiveness and focus instead on the social justice teachings of Jesus and His central message of love. Recently several bishops have threatened to deny public officials communion when they participate in the Catholic Mass. This denial is based on positions these officials have taken on matters of public policy.

“The Bishops who are threatening to withhold reception of Communion from politicians and voters who disagree with their political stance have lost their sense of direction and endanger our Church,” stated Matthew Gallagher, executive director of DignityUSA. “These radical Bishops are ignoring the Catechism of the Catholic Church which recognizes as paramount that believers must act according to their consciences. The Catechism does not instruct believers to blindly obey the political positions of Bishops nor does it exclude differences between civil law and the teaching of the Church.

“It is appalling that some Bishops would use this great sacrament to forward their extremist political agenda”, continued Gallagher. “It is sad that these Bishops, who lost their credibility when they refused to protect our children from sexual abuse by priests and bishops, would now try to deflect attention from their failures and abuses of power in this manner.”

The leaders of DignityUSA contend that the US Catholic Bishops are using the “cafeteria” approach when choosing which issues should trigger denial of Communion. Why do the Bishops continue to offer Communion to those who support the invasion of Iraq when the Pope spoke out against it? Why do the Bishops continue to offer this sacrament to those who support the death penalty that they themselves have spoken against?

“These Bishops are grasping blindly at anything to make themselves appear to have some moral ground on which to stand”, stated Gallagher. “This demonizing of public officials is similar to the church’s treatment of GLBT people and sows division and confusion among Catholics instead of unity.

DignityUSA continues to call for prayer for the Bishops. Particularly now, near the Feast of Pentecost when the Spirit of God inspired the Apostles to be strong and preach the message of Jesus, the leaders of DignityUSA call on all Catholics to pray that our Bishops will open their hearts to God and share only love and no longer hate, violence and divisiveness with all of the People of God.

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. DignityUSA works for full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Church and Society. www.dignityusa.org