The Most Reverend Doctor Cardinal Ratzinger
Congregatio Pro Doctrine Fidei
00120 Vatican City-State
December 20, 2000
Dear Cardinal Ratzinger,
On Monday, December 18, 2000, in your Vatican Office, my colleague Bill Carpenter and I had the privilege of discussing the visit to Rome planned by Soulforce and Dignity/USA, January 3-7, 2001, with your representative, Fr. Brown. During our conversation he mentioned casually that our web site and our letter to you had been "inflammatory." He was correct. My letters and press releases were motivated too much by anger and not enough by the loving Spirit of Christ. I hope you will accept my sincere apology and not blame our entire delegation for my errors in judgment.
My goal, our goal, is reconciliation and understanding. We have no desire to create more misunderstanding between us. For that reason we have changed our entire plan for the January 3-7, 2001, visit. Each day at 12Noon, January 3-6, our small delegation of just twenty Americans, mostly Roman Catholic, will walk together up Via della Conciliazione bearing gifts. It seems appropriate that this beautiful boulevard, dedicated to reconciliation, will be the location of our own simple act. We will wear shirts that read, "God’s Gay Children Bring Gifts…Bless Them!" On January 3, we will bring gifts for orphan children. On January 4, for people living in an HIV-AIDS hospice. January 5, for the occupants of a home for abused women. Saturday, January 6, will be our last walk up the Boulevard. We are hoping that each day you will allow a priest to bless our gifts before we board a bus to deliver them to the people in need.
Once again, we hope not to provoke or to demand but to demonstrate our love for Christ and our concern that the current teachings about homosexuality and homosexuals need to be reconsidered in the light of the gifts God’s gay children bring. Is there a possibility that the Vatican would allow a priest to bless our gifts each day at the barrier in front of the Christmas scene built on St. Peter’s Square? If not, we understand. After a short prayerful wait each day, we will board a bus and deliver our gifts. If a priest could bless our gifts, a long-standing Vatican tradition, we would be grateful and see it as an act of the Church’s concern for those who receive our gifts and for those of us who present them.
I write sincerely and in the spirit of reconciliation,
Dr. Mel White, Executive Director, Soulforce