October 22, 2002
Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth St., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20017
Dear Bishop Gregory:
Greetings and blessings in the spirit of Christ. Mindful of your busy schedule, we are, nonetheless, saddened and disappointed by your continued inability and/or unwillingness to address our grave concerns, answer communications or engage in constructive dialog aimed at honest healing and reconciliation. Our words at last year’s USCCB Conference still echo loudly within the Body of Christ: "Your silence sanctions our suffering."
We are compelled to continue our call for truth, love, and justice on behalf of God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) children. In light of recent Catholic News Service reports concerning escalated scapgoating and proposed banning of gay priests as an official response/solution to the child-authority abuse issues affecting/infecting the Catholic Church and Beloved Community, the urgency is even more imperative.
As mentioned in our August 22, 2002 letter, Soulforce will once again witness at the upcoming USCCB Conference in Washington, D.C. In the spirit of faithful dissent and reconciliation, know that our direct action, as always, will be guided nonviolently by the power of the Holy Spirit as we respond to your and the USCCB’s actions and/or inactions. We sincerely believe, however, that silence and inaction on either of our parts is neither a Christ-centered nor loving option and would surely be a grave sin.
In keeping with the spirit of Vatican II, we enclose a copy of Mr. Ken Einhaus’ recent letter to you and implore you to break the silence, meet with us, hear our stories and concerns, and help stop the suffering that this crisis continues to create. In short, since time immemorial, God’s GLBT children have brought gifts to the church and the Beloved Community…bless and cherish them.
Following the inspiration of the Soulforce-Dignity direct action in Rome at the close of Jubilee Year 2001, we will carry gifts this year to D.C. for our neighbors-in-need. In addition to our previous requests, we respectfully ask that you, or designated bishop(s), briefly step outside the Conference hotel at noon each day and officially bless the gifts and givers. We intentionally chose 12:00 noon to conveniently coincide with your lunch-break and not conflict with conference business. If inconvenient, however, please let us know and we will gladly change to accommodate your availability.
Our Neighbors-in-Need gifts-giving schedule is as follows:
- Monday, Nov. 11 (Veteran’s Day): Gifts for our homeless and disabled veteran neighbors.
- Tuesday, Nov. 12: Gifts for our brothers and sisters living with AIDS.
- Wednesday, Nov. 13: Gifts for our marginalized, abandoned and abused women and children.
Again, unless mutually agreed otherwise, the blessing of the gifts will take place just outside the USCCB meeting place at noon each day during our noon Liturgy of the Hours. We pray you find it in your heart to open wide the doors of the hotel, if not the Church, and briefly bless the gifts and givers. Needless to say, you and all are invited to attend any of our Liturgy of the Hours.
We ask this in His name and for the glory of God and all God’s children, and remain, your sisters, brothers and neighbors in Christ.