Express Your Outrage over Continuing Anti-gay Rhetoric from Catholic Leaders

May 1, 2002


Sponsored by Dignity/USA, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, our families, friends and supporters.

On Friday, April 26, 2002, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, made the following statement:

"We feel a person who is homosexual-oriented is not a suitable candidate for the priesthood even if he had never committed any homosexual act." Bevilacqua added that when a heterosexual man accepts celibacy to become a priest "he’s giving up a very good thing, and that is a family and children," Bevilacqua said. "That would not be true about a homosexual-oriented candidate … By his orientation he’s not giving up family and marriage. He’s giving up what the church considers an aberration, a moral evil."

These remarks come on the heels of statements made by US Catholic Bishops Conference President Bishop Gregory, Cardinal George of Chicago, Cardinal Maida of Detroit and Vatican spokesman Dr. Joaquin Novarro-Valls, all blaming the US clergy sexual abuse scandal on gay priests.

These comments are outrageous and represent the worst kind of bigotry. They are not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching. They are dehumanizing and could incite some people to antigay violence.


Here’s what you can do to let Catholic officials know this kind of homophobia will not be tolerated:

1) Call the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at (215) 587-3800, and/or send email to and let Cardinal Bevilacqua know what you think of his comments. Demand an apology and a retraction of these statements, and an end to the policy barring gays from seminary admission in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

2) Call Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at (202) 541-3000, or send email to Let them know what you think of Cardinal Bevilacqua’s statements. Repeat demands for an apology, and insist that the Bishops stop blaming the Church’s sexual abuse scandal on gay priests.

3) Call the Bishop for your own diocese. For contact information for Catholic dioceses in the US, go to Demand that the bishops accept responsibility for their own role in the cover-up of clergy sexual abuse, and demand an end to the scapegoating of Catholic priests.

4) Spread the word. Ask your friends, family members and coworkers who share your outrage to join you in these actions.

The Catholic Church should stand for love and justice, not hate. End the bigotry now!

For more information, contact:

Dignity/ USA
1500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 11
Washington, DC 20005
202-498-9808 (fax)