Soulforce Postpones the Washington D.C. Action in Favor of National Week of Prayer and Vigils, Nov. 7-12, 2005

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: September 23, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Robyn Murphy, 314-712-7431, robyn@soulforce.org
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In response to recent Vatican announcements, Soulforce will postpone the Washington DC action at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in favor of allocating resources to the National Week of Prayer, Nov. 7-12, 2005. The two Vatican announcements of the impending visits to U.S. seminaries to root out gay priests and the Vatican’s approval of a new document of "instruction," stating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as Catholic priests, continues a policy of scapegoating gays rather than dealing directly with the pedophile scandal and the abdication of responsibility within the Church. According to a Sept. 19th Catholic World News Brief "The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers."

"Of course we’re in the seminaries!" says Soulforce founder Rev. Dr. Mel White. "Where but in the priesthood would a gay Catholic, called by God go to serve, blessed to live in the only church-sanctioned male community? What a miscarriage of justice to believe the world will not see this witch hunt as the Vatican’s ‘shiny object’, held up to divert the world’s attention from the larger issues facing the Church. It is the Vatican’s actions that are morally disordered and anarchical to the teachings of Christ."

Since Soulforce’s founding in 1998, we have been on the front lines of the fight for recognition and rights of the LGBT community. Soulforce took international media attention this month by holding a vigil at St. Peter’s Square in memory of Alfredo Ormando, a 39-year-old Sicilian who burned himself to death in protest of the Vatican’s anti-homosexual beliefs.

Soulforce continues to bring the tragic results back to their source through civil disobedience, letter writing campaigns, meetings with local Bishops, and vigiling outside the USCCB and local chanceries.

By focusing our attention to our National Week of Prayer and Vigils we hope to use local grassroots organizing as a springboard for ongoing local responses to the "Inquisition," for that is the essence of what the Vatican is planning.

Some National Week Suggested Activities

  1. Educational forums to help people understand the issues of concern on local diocesan issues as well as national and those emanating from the Vatican.
  2. Movie nights to view and discuss films such as Romero. (We will have a list of recommended films by the end of September.)
  3. Letter writing events to their bishops and local newspapers.
  4. Training programs in nonviolence.
  5. Vigils at chanceries, seminaries, cathedrals, and/or local parishes.

We continue, as well, to encourage the withholding of tithes and offerings until the Church ends its holy war against LGBT people. Please stay tuned over the next months as we develop new plans to address the actions of the Catholic Church.

Your prayers and participation are critical. For questions on the Soulforce National Week of Prayer and Vigils contact kara@soulforce.org

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