With Dirty Hands, NY Catholics Stand Witness Against Cardinal’s False Welcome

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

New York-area Catholics who support LGBT-inclusion in the Catholic Church are meeting at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, this Sunday, May 5, 2013, to attend the 10:15 Mass with dirty hands.

The silent vigil is in response to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s blog post from a week ago in which he compared lesbian and gay people coming to church to children showing up to dinner with dirty hands.    He used this analogy to say that it was permissible for church leaders to welcome lesbian and gay people to church, but that the leaders needed to remind them that they needed to clean themselves up.   You can read Bondings 2.0’s commentary on Dolan’s blog post here.

Joseph Amodeo, the organizer of this vigil, offers the following explanation and logistical information:

“This Sunday, we’ll respond to Cardinal Dolan’s article that called upon gay people to wash their hands before entering the church. We’ll be attending 10:15am Mass with charcoaled hands, so as to stand in solidarity with LGBT people. This will not be a protest, it will be a silent and powerful witness to our belief that God welcomes all. We’ll meet in front of Barnes & Noble on 5th Ave and 46 St. We’ll distribute charcoal there and then proceed as a group to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. All people are welcome to join us in this act of solidarity. Please be sure to arrive on time at 9am at Barnes & Noble. If you have questions, email me at joseph.amodeo@gmail.com.”

Amodeo has set up a Facebook event for this vigil which can be viewed here.

New Ways Ministry encourages all in the New York metropolitan area who support LGBT Catholics to show up to this event.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry




10 replies
  1. tomfluce
    tomfluce says:

    Frank, the stories are unending and sad not to say compelling. The actions are valid. The responses, “dirty hands”, “hands tied”, are ridiculous. But the expectation is “old church”–trying to hope, and yes, demonstrate with stories/petitions that a Pope, a majority(?) of bishops, will change the teaching (Catechism 2357,8,9) of the church on homosexuality. This is not how the church to which we say we want to belong to operates. Frankly, I wouldn’t want change to happen just because –in history–I had the money, the guns and the majority. True we don’t have another model on which to operate. But why not get another model into the works? First we have to acknowledge that there are opponents to the teaching. We don’t have to look for the Randy Engels in the church. There are many in the “pews” who oppose us just as conscientiously as her. Nicolas Coppola certainly feels support, but I don’t agree that we have the entire support from those in the “pews” and we have to accept that it’s not just the “hierarchy”.

    We have a case of dissent on our hands. And although not as bad as methods in the past, we’re still engaged in a destructive and lengthy tug and pull as ever. I believe we’re putting the church authorities in an impossible bind, to come up with a way to love us sinners while they have to uphold the doctrine that homosexuality is depraved in practice. Why not collectively call for a method I’ve been talking about, “The Galileo Reconciliation Commission-GRC”? I thought something like this would have come out of Vat. II. I still can’t believe the church hasn’t figured out it has a moral obligation to avoid killing/condemning and the like over dissent. We had the Reformation over legitimate dissent, but still killings. Let’s not talk about Crusades. How can we allow another Galileo case–the LGBT is but one of them, although for me a personal issue– go on and on and on?

    O.K. I’m entitled by virtue of age and training to bring up the criticism of our shortcomings in the LGBT camp. People like me, an ordained priest, faithful to the promise of celibacy, simply disobeyed church law and married–in the thousands in the 70’s–thinking that this would produce change. Instead, at least in my case, we left the church–clearly not alone–and the post Vat II era was taken over by the conservatives. So we’ve seen the schism described so well by Matthew Fox in his, “The Pope’s War”, I lost my role as priest and had to totally reconstruct my life. (Not just boo-hooing for myself: The church lost thousands of priests.) Now some of us want to play a role again inside the church. Why not just work within a community that answers our religious conscience? Even those churches that insist they are “catholic”? For me it is mainly to rescue the current and future victims of the teaching on homosexuality (not to mention all of sexuality). But, of course I am concerned about the entire church and its mission for justice.

    So why not get the silent majority of those in the pews, among the priests, and among the hierarchy to call for a GRC? With our moral force (no the church is not a democracy and doesn’t govern by majority rule, but by clear, demonstrated inspiration based on Jesus and history) we certainly could have a chance at stopping the violence all the while not “changing” doctrine. How do we get an item on the GRC agenda? The LGBT issue certainly has to be at the top of a doctrinal dissent list–married clergy, even women priests are not doctrinal issues. This would be where all the stories, sad and compelling, would come in. We would be including people who are professional theologians. And I’m not embarrassed to say some of us with white hair and personal history ought to have some role. Standing up and being openly counted is the moral force needed–within the church. Direct action beyond petitions, “dirty hands” demos might be necessary. But this should take less time than the old violent, monarchical, method. And it would prepare the church for doing what is necessary for doctrinal change in due time. Tom Luce ,

  2. tomfluce
    tomfluce says:

    I meant to include a link to an article in The Catholic World Report by Prof. Tracey Rowland Apr. 13, 2013 entitled, “Benedict XVI and the end of the Virtual Council” See http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/2196/benedict_xvi_and_the_end_of_the_virtual_council.aspx#.UYQcmZX3Dog You will see how much Prof. Rowland appreciates “The Virtual Council” meaning the press and popular, “congregational” catholicism. We have to relate to this body of the faithful, not just our own supporters. Thanks

  3. Mark
    Mark says:

    Pope Francis just this week exhorts us to “ask the Lord that the Holy Spirit help us always to become a community of love, of love for Jesus who loved us so much. A community of this ‘yes’. And from this ‘yes’ the commandments are fulfilled. A community of open doors. And it defends us from the temptation to become perhaps Puritans, in the etymological sense of the word, to seek a para-evangelical purity, from being a community of ‘no’. Because Jesus ask us first for love, love for Him, and to remain in His love. ”

  4. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    I think you should dump tons of charcoal all over yourselves! REALLY show em. Go in there covered like completely; get it up in your hair. Get BOLD to the Lord! Show Dolan where you stand.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The mother of a gay son reflects on her participation in the “Dirty Hands” demonstration at New York’s St. Patrick Cathedral.  Her thoughts can be read in a Fortunate […]

  2. […] The “dirty hands” action staged at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday, May 5th, will be repeated on Sunday, May 26th, as a response to Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s recent blog post where he compared welcoming lesbian and gay people to church as comparable to inviting guests for dinner, but asking them to wash their hands first.  Those who took part in the May 5th action arrived at the cathedral with their hands blackened with coal, and said they would pray in vigil when they entered the church building.  However, they were barred from entering the cathedral by NYC police officers and church staff, who, despite promises to the contrary, feared those taking part in the action would disrupt the 10:15 a.m. Mass. […]

  3. […] With Dirty Hands, NY Catholics Stand Witness Against Cardinal’s False Welcome (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com) […]

  4. […] The matter of LGBT Catholics finding communities to worship has been highlighted in recent weeks, with comments by Archbishop Vigneron and Cardinal Timothy Dolan sparking demonstrations and outcry. Bondings 2.0 previously reported on the New York City Catholics threatened with arrest for entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral with ‘dirty hands.’ […]

  5. […] With Dirty Hands, NY Catholics Stand Witness Against Cardinal’s False Welcome (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com) […]

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