Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oh, for the love of God....

I mean that title literally. What, in the name of all that is holy, are we doing????

Fr. Fred Daley, a parish priest and long-time Call to Action member, was informed by Catholic Relief Services that he will not be allowed to minister with them because of his public identity as a gay priest. This notice came just weeks before he was to leave for Lesotho to assist with HIV/AIDS ministry. Fr. Fred states that Archbishop Mohlalisi of Maseru, Lesotho told Catholic Relief Services that Daley's sexual orientation was not a problem for the diocese.

The decision by Catholic Relief Services not only discriminates against the gay community, but also against the people of Lesotho who are now deprived of the ministry Fr. Daley would have offered. Interestingly, when I was shopping around for an international service placement for this year, no one at CRS asked me my sexual orientation. Fr. Daley isn't being punished simply because of his sexual orientation; I'm sure there are plenty of gay priests working for Catholic Relief Services. He's being punished because he won't hide it. I wonder what would have happened if I, a straight and very married and sexually non-threatening to say the least, woman had refused to disclose my sexual orientation. It's the opposite but oddly parallel, situation. We'll never know, I suppose.

Call To Action, in partnership with Fr. Fred, asks you to write to Catholic Relief Services and request that they issue a statement that they will not discriminate against volunteers or applicants who have publicly acknowledged their sexual orientation.

Bishop Robert Lynch, Chairman of Catholic Relief Services Board
c/o Diocese of St. Petersburg
PO Box 40200
St. Petersburg, FL 33743

Mr. Kenneth Hackett, CEO
Catholic Relief Services
240 W. Fayette St.
Baltimore, MD 21201-3443

I poked around briefly and couldn't find e-mail addresses for either one. If someone else finds something, please let us know. I'm also tempted to take this one small step forward, using an old trick from Mary's Pence. We used to have fake dollar bills -bright red- that said essentially that the homily of the day trivialized women and this person was withholding contributions because of it. You tossed it in the collection basket, hoping that the parish volunteers who count the money were interested and confused enough to report the occurrence to the homily-giver. When the annual collection for CRS comes around -and I don't know the date- I could be willing to toss an explanatory note as to why I'm withholding a donation this year into the basket.

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