WASHINGTON - Catholics for Equality, the country's largest national political organization of Catholics who put their faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families, representing the views of over 75 million American Catholics, announced a nationwide campaign for observant Catholics to visibly, vocally and financially oppose efforts by Catholic bishops to introduce anti-gay political activity into the liturgy of the mass.They note that:
This year Catholic bishops in Maryland, Maine, North Carolina and Washington and conservative anti-gay Catholic organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus are leading state-wide political campaigns to prevent lesbian and gay couples from being legally recognized by the government. These campaigns include the use of parish facilities and the liturgy of the Mass to gather signatures for ballot measures in as well as to mobilize voters to attack lesbian and gay.You may have noted the experience of a Pastor in Washington State who got a spontaneous standing ovation during Mass from the congregation when he refused to collect political campaign signatures for his Bishop.
Rev. Michael G. Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Seattle, said, "Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.” Since Rev. Ryan's public refusal to participate, five other parishes have joined the resistance.As the Catholics for Equality Executive Director Phil Attey says:
"Catholics in the pews respect the Liturgy of the Mass too much to allow it to poisoned by election year politics and anti-gay political campaigns. We hope Rev. Ryan's leadership will inspire pastors and Catholic lay leaders across the country, especially in the states where parishes are being asked to participate in these petition drives, to do the right thing and respectfully decline participation."See what you can do at your Mass to support the mission of keeping politics out of your Liturgy. MORE BELOW SQUIGGLE
FIRST you must speak up financially as Mr. Attey says:
"There is no financial transparency once parish funds reach the office of the bishop," says Attey. It's likely that millions of our dollars are being laundered into these political efforts. "And it's sad, but a reality, that the only possible way for faithful Catholics to ensure their money does not fund political attacks against their own LGBT family and parish members is to completely cut off funding to their parish."To aid this effort and spread understanding Catholics for Equality has created 'issue specific offering cards' for non-political and pro-equality Catholics to place in their envelopes or directly into the collection plate, instead of cash or checks.
"These political campaigns put Catholics in the pews in a horrible position," says Joseph Palacios, Director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. “We go to mass to celebrate and honor the life of Jesus Christ and not to participate in political campaigns to oppress the marginalized and the oppressed -- people Jesus told us to protect. If we are to be faithful to His teaching, we must be willing to stand up and speak out when injustices in His name are being conducted -- especially in His House."To effect this aspect of the protest: Catholics for Equality has produced palm cards supporters can download and print out to distribute at mass should fellow parishioners hear anti-gay political statements at Mass. They include instructions on one side, and the following suggested respectful statement on the other:
With all due respect, we have come to celebrate Mass and not be involved in a political campaign. We are all God's children. Please do not mix our Mass with politics. Thank you.
After reading the statement, parishioners are asked to sit down and not engage in debate.
"Our intent is not to further disrupt the liturgy," says Attey. "Catholics in the pews are not introducing politics into the liturgy or our parish grounds. The bishops are. We are only standing up and respectfully asking that it be removed."
The Mass liturgy is not the place to hold discussions, as they recommend:
Catholics for Equality hopes parishes across the country will avoid disrespectful political messages, activity, and confrontations during the liturgy by holding parish group discussions outside of mass, where pastors, lay leaders and parishioners can openly and honestly talk around the bishops' increased involvement in anti-gay political activity and how it affects the LGBT members of the parish and the community at large. The organization says such open discussion forums are long overdue.I for one am proud to be among these 75 million Catholics who will defend our faith community against untoward political activity and stand up for the true teachings of Jesus Christ.... to protect and defend the marginalized and oppressed.
NOTE: UPDATE: I felt I had the right as a lay Catholic to post this as I didn't change the message in any way, and it is a bit timely being Saturday. But Here is a message and wall post header I just got from a new fb friend, Phil Attey... yes the one mentioned above "
THE WORD IS SPREADING!UPDATE 2: Want to put it up here in case it gets lost in comments:
Thank you to Lee Dorsey of Daily Kos for helping us spread the word about this important campaign for Catholic parishes across the country to oppose our facilities, funds ... and our liturgy ... being used by the bishops' to orchestrate their anti-gay political campaigns.
Yes, CATHOLICS for Equality is in facebook. Please join and share, I think I have gotten 50 new members over the last few days considering how blatant and obstinate the hierarchy is being. Catholics for Equality, fb page