Gay Catholic Group Threatened With Arrest During Silent Protest

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday May 6, 2013

What began as a silent protest in response to a blog post made by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, ended with threats of arrest for a group of gay Catholics and allies in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City this past Sunday.

As reported by GLAAD the group stood outside the iconic cathedral with their hands covered in ash to protest a statement made in a a blog post made by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who said gay Catholics were welcomed to the Church but with the "clear expectation" that they must first "wash your hands!" of sin.

As detailed in the Huffington Post by protest organizer Joseph Amodeo, four police cars, eight officers, a police captain and a detective surrounded the group soon after they arrived at St. Patrick's Cathedral. He added that Kevin Donahue, head of operations of the cathedral, told the group, "if we entered St. Patrick's Cathedral with dirty hands, we would be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing."

The group took offense to Dolan's blog post titled, "All Are Welcome!" where the cardinal, who vehemently opposes gay rights and marriage equality, said while the Catholic Church believes "homosexuality is no sin at all...God's teaching is clear that sexual acts are reserved for a man and woman united in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, loving bond of marriage."

"The message that gay and lesbian people are tainted by dirty hands was too much for Joseph Amodeo," GLAAD writes on their site. He also wrote on HuffPo that St. Patrick's Cathedral's door was "slammed in our faces. As I began to write this article, I'm cognizant of the raw emotions that I feel deep inside my heart. It's a feeling that I'm unfamiliar with because until today, I have never been denied a seat at Christ's table. In fact, today marks the first day that I have ever felt disowned, abandoned, and lost."

"In the wake of today's events, I only desire to once again feel welcomed in the Catholic Church," Amodeo said in a statement to GLAAD. "The Archdiocese's response to our silent presence, leaves many of us with a feeling of spiritual homelessness."

In an email to New Civil Rights Movement Amodeo also stated "'The NYPD did confirm that if we entered the Cathedral, we would be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing - a felony. Those participating were not only LGBT Catholics, but also allies and, perhaps most importantly, parents of LGBT children. We gathered not in protest, but as a silent witness."

The activist added, "I hope that the doors of the Cathedral will be opened to us not on a conditional basis, but rather with the understanding that we are all created in the image and likeness of God."

GLAAD's Director of News and Faith Initiatives, Ross Murray, also criticized Dolan and said he fails "to understand God's creation. There is no dress code to experience the love of God. Threatening worshipers with arrest displays no grace nor pastoral care. The action clearly tells LGBT people that they are not welcome. For someone who wants to 'do better' at reaching out to LGBT people, Dolan is failing miserably."

Dolan has yet to respond to the group's protest.