October 31, 2001
Dear Bishop Fiorenza:
A month has passed since our letter of September 19, but you have not yet responded to us. We know that your time for correspondence has been compromised by your recent trip to the Vatican for the Bishops Synod, but we continue to hope that you are willing to meet with us when you and the bishops gather in November in Washington, D.C., for your national conference.
Soulforce is committed to continuing our dialogue, and while you are in Washington, we will stand in silent vigil and pray that you will meet with us and begin the healing process. Our requests are straightforward and are intended to bring greater understanding between you, the bishops and Catholics who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. As we stated in our first letter:
We ask that you meet with us and hear our stories. To date, Catholic authorities have not taken the time to listen and learn from the life-stories and the tremendous suffering of Catholics who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
We ask that you create and publicly announce the appointment of a national "blue ribbon" committee of clergy and laity to re-examine the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. This committee must include Catholics who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, both those who are single and those in loving, committed relationships.
Since our first letter, we have come to feel that it is important for us to pray together, so we will be attending the Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Monday evening, November 12. We will bear ourselves with dignity and will not disrupt the sanctity of the service in any way. We also will respect the Catholic’s position on the sanctity of the Eucharist. So that you can easily identify us, we will wear Soulforce shirts over our dress shirts. Those of us inside the Shrine will sit together in pairs while some of us remain outside the Shrine and stand in respectful, silent witness.
You know from your previous dealings with us that we are guided by the nonviolent principles of Gandhi, King and Jesus, and that we are people of our word.
If, however, you would prefer to meet with us and have a private prayer, we would be receptive to that idea. Prior to arriving in Washington, D.C., each Soulforcee has written or attempted communication with specific bishops. Some have graciously replied, others have not, and we would be willing to meet with them privately for prayer. Or, perhaps you would like to meet with us collectively for prayer. Since we are staying at the Holiday Inn directly across the street from where you are meeting at the Hyatt, gathering privately could be easily arranged.
Meet with us. Hear our stories. Pray with us. And, with those acts, begin the spiritual healing of Catholics who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, who love the church but who are suffering as a results of its policy.
The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Co-Founder, Soulforce
Karen Weldin, Director of Operations
Kara Speltz, Catholic CoChair
Richard Murphy, Catholic CoChair
cc: Bishop Wilton Gregory