To the Editor:
Your editorial "Are We Too Tired to be Outraged at The Pilot?" describes a sad reality, which is that the Catholic bishops have so discredited themselves on matters of human sexuality, and with their appalling attacks on LGBT people, that many in our community understandably no longer pay any attention to them. But there is another very important and heartening side to this story, which is the broad-based outcry against Avila’s column from ordinary Catholics. The work that we in Dignity and many others have done over the past decades to move Catholic public opinion on LGBT issues is now bearing sweet fruit. Furthermore, Mr. Avila was quickly forced to resign -- an outcome that would have been unlikely as recently as a few years ago.
Outrage against the column was swift, vocal, and widespread. It came from far beyond the traditional voices -- although we were certainly represented. Individual Catholics, couples, families, and entire parish communities called, wrote, and emailed The Pilot to express their outrage over Mr. Avila’s column.
While working on the local level, we in DignityUSA also focused our advocacy on the fact that the author had recently been appointed as "Policy Advisor" (in common parlance, a lobbyist) for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Defense of Marriage Committee. In this position, he would be leading the US Catholic hierarchy’s work at the federal level, as well as in key states, where LGBT equality measures were being deliberated. Within a week, Mr. Avila was forced to resign his role. We are now calling on the US Catholic Bishops to appoint a policy advisory committee comprised of out and proud LGBT Catholics, our families, front-line ministers, and theologians. We, rather than someone who literally demonizes us, need to be the ones driving Catholic public policy.
We continue to press for the termination of Antonio Enrique, editor of The Pilot. The repetitive cycle of the publication of offensive columns, retraction, and apology can no longer be tolerated. In addition, Cardinal Sean O’Malley must be held accountable for the damage done under his watch. He, too, must sit down with the LGBT Catholic community in Boston and listen to our concerns.
The good news in all of this is that Catholics from across the Archdiocese of Boston have, once again, stood with our community and let Church officials know that ignorance and intolerance are unacceptable. This demonstrates that the many national polls showing high levels of Catholic support for LGBT people are true. Even more, Catholics are moving from passive support to becoming activists on our behalf. That is something to celebrate.
Executive Director, DignityUSA
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