Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Letters…we write letters!!!
In the day, I guess this would all have been considered tilting at windmills… No windmills in sight sooooo-we write letters.
The director of the Ali Forney Center in NYC, a homeless shelter for lgbt youth wrote a pointed note to Cardinal Dolan, publishing it on Huffington Post. He called out the Cardinal and the church in general for our lack of outreach to lgbt youth.
And he pissed off the Cardinal… who wrote back that his character had been attacked, but failed to mention that he would make plans to come and visit. And that letter was published.
HRC of course has written and published a letter to Cardinal Dolan concerning ending support of NOM.
But they were not the first, Equally Blessed got a letter out to the Cardinal about the un-Christian tactics of NOM last week.
I have written to (then Archbishop) Dolan a couple of times, asking him to bring up bullying at the USCCB of which he is the head (not sure that he will be as a Cardinal…but his influence will still be in the room.)
I got a couple of nice … “we worry about that too” kind of responses… and then I caught a news segment he did talking about LGBT folks… “we will be sued… we will be booed if we don’t hire THESE PEOPLE’ and I shared my feeling with him about that kind of language. The HURTFUL kind...
I assumed that might be the last of my pen pal status with the Cardinal, and uhm…I guess I’m not really expecting a reply to this letter, but I wrote it, sat on it, prayed about, edited it and then put it in the mail yesterday….
If nothing else, the Cardinal has figured out how to ‘get mail’. I have to hope at some point he will have heard enough that even he will have to wonder if this is the Spirit speaking to him. If he won’t help, he could at least take the Hippocratic oath… and Do No Harm.
April 9, 2012
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
Hi, it’s me again, the lady from Memphis (Father Val Handwerker’s Parish) who wants Church to reach out to lgbt youth, the teens and young adults who deal with bullying and homelessness in a real way- and sometimes end up killing themselves.
I was saddened to see the public battle between you and the director of the Ali Forney Center. I think we have to remember that those who work with ‘broken and hurting’ people often get angry with those they see as being part of the system that hurts these kids. I equate that anger to Jesus clearing the temple. Sometimes righteous anger has a true place in our world. Your response to him sounded very personal… he had hurt your feelings and you were sure he was wrong about you. How wonderful if you could have made that response AFTER visiting the center and listening to the kids, or in conjunction with an offer to visit. Unfortunately without that … it sounded simply … petty. His method of publicly calling you out was not the way to get you to visit; your response wasn’t helpful for the problem either.
I think I have shared with you that my husband and I are safe house volunteers for our local lgbt community center. We have opened our home to a dozen ‘discarded’ gay youth since August 2009. Some stay a week or so, some have stayed months, all are still in our lives. One attempted suicide in my home. We were blessed to find him in time, and his life is beginning to be back on track. We are not fortunate enough in Memphis to have an Ali Forney Center, or any kind of shelter outreach for lgbt youth. We host the kids and help them out of our meager personal funds, because we believe this is how our Christ would want us to behave, to reach out. Children hear messages of marginalization and internalize them. This is not news, but this is something that we as church seem willing to ignore.
We cannot as church pretend that we don’t cause harm. In only the last few weeks NOM (funded and loved by Catholic organizations) was unmasked as an agent of social destruction. A priest told CHILDREN in an assembly that gay=bestiality. To the kids this sounds like CHURCH TALKING! Church is spending funds to fight civil marriage when folks are homeless and hurting. We are cutting funding to organizations that do the blessed dirty work of reaching out to people where they are- in the gutter the homeless shelter or the hospital.
Please consider this topic when you meet again with the bishops. For some kids time is running out.
I wish you His peace and strength as you do His work…