Case Against the Catholic Church for USCCB Action, November 9-13, 2003

Compiled by Soulforce, Inc., November 2003

In the year since we last met, the following have appeared in various news sources concerning the Catholic Church’s attempt to deny gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people their basic human rights. Clearly the Church has gotten more focused and thus more repetative in its attacks.

1) The Associated Press – 11/30/02

ROME (AP) – A priest who marched in a gay pride parade which was opposed by the Vatican has been removed as pastor of a small parish in southern Italy. The Rev. Vitaliano Della Sala said Saturday he planned to appeal his removal by the local bishop to the Vatican.“It seems unfair,” he said by telephone from the town of Sant’Angelo a Scala. “A priest must defend the rights of those who are trampled upon.”

2) Boston Globe – 12/10/2002.

The Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts, in a rare public challenge to the Catholic Church, are warning that a steady stream of comments by Vatican officials critical of gays in the priesthood could lead to hate crimes in the United States.

3) – 12/17/03

ALBANY – The Catholic Church and a battery of conservative groups were fiercely lobbying last night in a last-ditch effort to scuttle anti-gay-bias legislation they fear could lead to same-sex marriages in New York. The Catholic Conference, representing Edward Cardinal Egan and the state’s bishops, complained the measure makes "a value judgment that homosexual activity is morally equivalent to heterosexual activity."

4) – 1/16/03

(Vatican City) The Vatican has ruled that sex-change procedures do not change a person’s gender in the eyes of the church. The decision, made by the department in charge of doctrine, is contained in a confidential document obtained by the Catholic News Service. CNS, quoting a source familiar with the text, says the document instructs bishops never to alter the sex listed in parish baptismal records and says Catholics who have undergone "sex-change" procedures are not eligible to marry, be ordained to the priesthood or enter religious life.

5) Rueters New Service – 03/31/03

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A new Vatican glossary of sexual terms says homosexuals are not normal and that countries that allow gay marriages are inhabited by people with "profoundly disordered minds."

6) Human Rights Commission Update – 4/24/03

(Geneva) The debate on the resolution human rights and sexual orientation, as proposed by Brazil started this afternoon (24 April) in the Commission on Human Rights. The Brazilian delegation introduced the resolution stating that it created no new rights and that it was strictly based on existing treaties. They affirmed that it was not a new issue for the UN as special procedures (UN Special Rapporteurs and experts) had regularly addressed serious violations of human rights on grounds of sexual orientation, and urged that the time had come to tackle the issue at the level of the Commission. The Vatican is reported to be phoning capitals in Latin American countries (at the highest levels) in order to pressure them to abstain or vote against the resolution.

7) NEWS24.COM (South Africa)

Pretoria – South Africa’s Catholic Church expressed concern on Friday about a recent Constitutional Court decision granting parenting rights to same-sex partners. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) reaffirmed its commitment to the equality of all people, including homosexuals, but said the recent ruling had implications for the "Christian sacrament of marriage"."We reiterate the teaching of the Catholic Church that same-sex partnerships cannot be recognised as Christian sacramental marriages because they do not represent a complementary union that is able to transmit life, according to the rich symbolism and meaning of the Creator’s sexual design and the Gospel call to that form of union and self-giving recognised in the sacrament of marriage," it said.

8) Newscenter Staff – 5/8/03

(Sydney, Austraila) Plans to lower the age of consent for gays in New South Wales, to bring it onto a par with straights has met fierce condemnation from religious leaders, especially Catholics. The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop George Pell, described the move as regrettable.

In a statement he said: "Parliament should not enshrine the ideological claim that homosexual and heterosexual activity are morally equivalent. It sounds a wrong note and makes the task of parents more difficult."

9) Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/22/03

A Catholic religious education coordinator was denied an award from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Wednesday evening because she is a lesbian, prompting a protest at the dinner honoring the other 17 recipients. Archbishop Harry Flynn withdrew the award for Itzin after Catholic Parents Online, a Twin Cities group that supports orthodox teachings of the church, sent him a letter pointing out that Itzin is a lesbian.

10) VANCOUVER, May 20, 2003 (

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has urged the federal government to appeal the B. C. Court of Appeal decision legalizing homosexual ‘marriage’. In a letter to Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, CCCB President Bishop Jacques Berthelet asked the Minister "to appeal the recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in the case of Barbeau et al. v. the Attorney General of Canada et al. that decided that the definition of marriage be changed to include same-sex partners."

11) The Boston Globe 05-29-03

The four Catholic bishops of Massachusetts are asking every pastor in the state to remind worshipers this weekend that the church opposes same-sex marriage, and to urge lay Catholics to lobby the Legislature for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. The four bishops, of Boston, Fall River, Worcester, and Springfield, are asking pastors to read statements on their concern about same-sex marriage, and are asking that announcements be put in church bulletins, telling parishioners how to contact legislators.

12), June 8, 2003

Rijeka, Croatia – Pope John Paul Sunday issued his strongest condemnation to date of same-sex unions, telling Catholics a marriage must consist only of a man and a woman.

In an open air mass on a sweltering day in the port city of Reijeka, Croatia the Pontiff said told Catholics they must defend traditional family values against gay marriage and put a "tragically fragmented" society back on track with God’s wishes. His entire sermon to the 100,000 who gathered for the mass was devoted to attacking gay families

13) The Sunday Mail (Qld) – 6/8/03

The Brisbane Catholic community is embroiled in a bitter row over a performance by homosexual choristers. Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby has said he is offended by the use of a Brisbane church for a gay pride event. Father Peter Kennedy and Father Terry Fitzpatrick of St Mary’s Catholic Church, in South Brisbane, have agreed to host a concert by the Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir as part of the Brisbane Pride Festival.

14) Rockford Register Star, 6/24/03

The music director at Rockford’s largest Catholic church had a choice: give up his gay partner of 10 years or lose his job. When Bill Stein refused to take a vow of chastity Tuesday, he was fired from his position at Holy Family.

"I was honest. I walked out of the office without a job, but I had my dignity," Stein said. "This shouldn’t happen to anybody. It’s the year 2003, for crying out loud."


The U.S. Bishops’ Administrative Committee voted September 9 to give general support to the Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Administrative Committee, which is comprised of 47 bishops, including committee chairmen and representatives of the 14 USCCB regions in the United States, took the action during its annual September meeting in Washington.

16) Canadian Broadcasting 9/24/03

VANCOUVER (CBC) – The Catholic Church is cancelling a VanCity financial education program in its schools because of the credit union’s "objectionable and harmful" pro-homosexual advertising material.The ad features two men, cheek to cheek – with a caption reading, "I want to bank with people who value all partnerships."Vancouver Archbishop Adam Exner says the ads display public support for agendas which are worrisome and harmful to the church and to society Exner says the Catholic schools can’t continue to work with an organization that promotes homosexual relationships.

17) The Guardian – 10/9/03

The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which the HIV virus can pass – potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.

The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to the HIV virus.

The WHO has condemned the Vatican’s views, saying: "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

18) Newsday 10/15/03

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Catholic pastor ordered two men out of the choir because they went public with their gay wedding, the men say. Michael Sabatino Jr., who has sung in the choir for 32 years, said he and his partner, Robert Voorheis, were confronted Sunday by Monsignor Edmund Whalen as they entered St. Benedict’s Church in the Bronx. When Sabatino and Voorheis asked Whalen for his decision in writing, Whalen told them he would "shut down the choir" rather than allow them to sing in it, Sabatino said.