Catholic Mom Takes on U.S. Bishops

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has launched an on-line advocacy campaign directed to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking church leaders to back away from their expensive campaign against marriage equality.

James Servino (center) poses with siblings and his mother, Barbara Servino (second from right).

James Servino (center) poses with siblings and his mother, Barbara Servino (second from right).

James Servino of HRC launched the campaign, which features a letter to Cardinal Dolan written by his mother, Barbara Servino.  He explains the campaign’s origin:

“My mother is amazing. She’s had my back from the second I came out to her – and long before that.

“When she heard that the leaders of our Roman Catholic Church had spent $2 million on anti-gay marriage ballot campaigns in this election, she wrote a letter to the top Catholic bishop in the U.S., sticking up for people like me. I think it’s a message he desperately needs to hear.”

You can join the campaign by adding your signature to Mrs. Servino’s letter, which reads:

To: His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York

Your Eminence,

I’ve been going to Catholic mass almost every week since I was a little girl. My aunts and uncles are nuns and priests. My husband was a member of the Knights of Columbus. We raised our kids in our parish community and sent them to Catholic schools. Catholicism is more than just a belief for me — it’s a deep seed of my identity.

And it has always taught me that God made us all, and loves us all the same. The same way I try to love all my kids. That’s why, when my incredible son told me he was gay, it didn’t change my love for him one bit.

He’s always my child.

That’s why I was outraged to learn that the leadership of our Church just spent $2 million on anti-gay marriage ballot campaigns. Think of all the positive things that $2 million could have accomplished. Think of the hungry fed, the sick comforted, the homeless sheltered. Instead you chose to use parishioners’ donations like mine to divide and discriminate.

Catholicism teaches us to love one another — not to attack our sons and daughters for simply wanting to make lifelong commitments and start families. You won’t have to ever marry a same-sex couple, but it makes no sense to deny them the right to be married under the law. And your parishioners aren’t going to stand for it much longer.

I think it’s time we all got on the right side of history. I hope you do, too.

Barbara Servino

The deadline for the letter is this week, so sign it soon!

Another recent HRC blog post, from Anne Underwood, founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality, makes the case for why Catholics are supporting this cause.  Entitled “Pro-Equality and Roman Catholic Is Not an Oxymoron,” the essay explains why marriage equality is a Catholic issue:

I am pro-equality because I am a Catholic committed to freedom and fairness for all God’s people. The majority of U.S. Catholics — anywhere from 53% – 73%, according to 2012 polls — are like me.

Most people recognize that marriage equality could not have prevailed in ME, MD, MN and WA this fall if a majority of Catholics hadn’t voted for justice over their hierarchy’s preference for dogma. Over $2 million for dogma notwithstanding, Catholic faithful were not persuaded that their consciences were “improperly formed.” . . .

Vatican II confirmed Jesus’ teaching — it is the people of God, not their rulers, who represent the Kindom of God. We Catholics in the pews, the voting booths, at our lesbian and gay family and friends’ weddings – we are the Church. We are speaking proudly and increasingly loudly as Church.”

Though we’ve had our recent four-state success, there are still many more states to go before equality is the law of the land, and Catholics will play a decisive role in many of those struggles.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry






0 replies
  1. Ned Flaherty
    Ned Flaherty says:

    Here’s the letter that everyone should be sending:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:

    Opposing social justice is a mortal sin in the Roman Catholic church.

    Therefore, please publish an independent public audit showing how much money the Vatican, Roman Catholic dioceses, Knights of Columbus, and affiliates have spent, worldwide, over the last two decades to oppose social justice, human rights, and civil rights for LGBT people (both Catholic and non-Catholic).

    Parishioners need this disclosure to understand where their money has gone, and where it will be going in the future. And the general public needs this disclosure to understand the extent of efforts by Catholic clergy to impose Vatican rules on non-Catholic citizens through civil laws that apply equally to everyone.

  2. Joseph Gentilini
    Joseph Gentilini says:

    Amen! As a man in a 31 year old faithful gay relationshiop I can only agree with this letter. The Church is wrong on this issue and I expect it will change sometime through the years, although probably not in my lifetime.

  3. A. May
    A. May says:

    When will the flock, closer to God than any Bishop, as is evidenced by the authentic love shown to their LGBT children, stop giving power to these men in fancy hats? There is no reason to believe your relationship to God would change, and there could be a fabulous inclusive church, with deep and rich ritual in order to provide a spiritual home, if only all those Roman Catholics would believe in their own personal power and stand up to the institutional power. When will there be a proper American Catholic church which is not in such opposition to American Society? Please people – this Bishop will look with disdain on this letter and this petition. I guarantee it. The Bishops in general and this one in particular have risen to where they are not for their pastoral expertise but because of their effective use of wielding power. They want power and they want to keep it and in order to do so people have to relinquish their own. Stand up. God loves LGBT people!!!!!!!!!!! The marjority of Americans now express respect and love for LGBT people. The Bishop will respond to power. A letter is weak as tea. Tell the priest you are pulling your funding, that you cannot have your children baptised in a church displaying such hate. Those are the things the Bishops will listen to.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Catholic Mom Takes on U.S. Bishops ( […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *