U.S. Activists Will Take Their "Stop Spiritual Violence" Campaign to Rome
Laguna Beach, CA, December 5, 2000 — Today, Soulforce and DignityUSA leaders announced plans to take their nonviolent campaign against centuries of spiritual violence and anti-gay teachings of the Roman Catholic Church to the Vatican on January 5-6, 2001. Supporters of Soulforce and DignityUSA plan to tape their specific demands for inclusion for all people in the Church on the doors of the Vatican.
"On January 5, the Eve of Epiphany, we will tape (not nail) our demands for inclusion on the doors of the Vatican," said Mary Louise Cervone, President of DignityUSA. "Over 2000 years ago, the Magi carried gifts to Jesus which were graciously accepted on the day we celebrate as Epiphany. However, 2000 years later, the Church will still not accept the gifts and talents that we bring as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of deep and profound faith."
"As we begin the new millennium, we will risk misunderstanding and arrest in Rome to help end centuries of spiritual violence against God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children." declared Rev. Mel White, Executive Director of Soulforce. "Although some bishops met with us last month during the National Council of Catholic Bishops meeting, they refused to denounce Vatican policies denying Dignity Catholics the right to meet on Church property or be served Eucharist by a priest. Therefore we have no choice but to go to the Vatican with our demands."
Soulforce, an interfaith network of GLBT individuals and their families, friends, and allies, committed to applying the principles of nonviolent resistance as taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities, and DignityUSA, the oldest and largest independent national lay movement of GLBT Catholics, families, and friends, joined their formidable voices last month during the National Council of Catholic Bishops meeting to confront the anti-gay teachings of the Catholic Church. 104 people were subsequently arrested in an act of non-violent civil disobedience to block the entrance to the largest Cathedral in North America.
Also in mid-November, the Pontifical Council for the Family issued a 77 page document which calls same-sex unions "a deplorable distortion" and adoption by gay parents "a grave danger." Current Roman Catholic teachings describe homosexual orientation as "objectively disordered" and homosexual acts as "intrinsically evil." In recent months, Vatican statements have reaffirmed the Church's views that homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt, teach, coach, be married, ordained, or serve in the military.
"For centuries Church teachings against sexual minorities have led to suicide, wasted lives, ruined relationships, broken families, discrimination and physical violence," said Marianne Duddy, Executive Director, DignityUSA. The Vatican's holy war against sexual minorities has far reaching effects both inside and outside the church."
Both Catholics and Non-Catholics from Soulforce plan to stand vigil outside the Vatican for several days before holding a national press conference and taping their demands to the door of the Vatican on January 5, 2001.
"Too many Catholics, young and old, are suffering and even dying because the Vatican refuses to re-examine let alone end their tragic teachings against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people," proclaimed Jimmy Creech, Soulforce Board Chair. We must act, and we must act now!"