Catholic Parents Protest at Detroit Archdiocese in Communion Debate

Catholic parents protesting at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Catholic parents protesting at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s suggestion that Catholics who support marriage equality in  his diocese should not receive communion has sparked a protest led by Catholic parents of LGBT people.

The Detroit Free Press reports that

“. . . supporters of gay Catholics gathered for a prayer vigil in front of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s chancery headquarters. . . .

“About 25 people sang, ‘All are welcome in this place,’ and marched with rainbow flags in front of the downtown chancery building, saying they had gay relatives and friends.

“Artemae Anderson, 69, of Detroit said she attends mass regularly, receives communion and supports gay marriage. ‘It’s very hurtful,’ Anderson said of Vigneron’s comments. ‘If we just follow the gospel message of Jesus, we’ll be OK.’ “

The demonstration was organized by Linda Karle-Nelson, president of Fortunate Families, a national network of Catholic parents of LGBT people, and her husband, Thomas Nelson. Another Free Press article quotes their thoughts on the protest:

Linda Karle-Nelson and Thomas Nelson

Linda Karle-Nelson and Thomas Nelson

“ ‘He’s [Vigneron] not going to keep me from the Eucharist,’ said Nelson, 83, a retired engineer from Farmington Hills. ‘Somebody’s got to stand up and say, “Enough.” ‘

“ ‘We’re not going to change churches,’ said [Linda] Karle-Nelson, 72, a speech pathologist. ‘We can plant seeds. Our theme has been sharing stories, and sharing stories is a way of changing hearts.’ ”

A local Catholic pastor noted the ridiculousness of Vigneron’s suggestion:

“The Rev. Norman Thomas, who is a pastor of Detroit parishes Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth, said Vigneron’s statement ‘was kind of insensitive.’

“ ‘Are people expected to exempt themselves, or is there going to be a check-off right there at the (communion) line?’ Thomas said.”

The Huffington Post  quoted one of the founders of Fortunate Families responding to protest:

“Mary Ellen Lopata, who is the co-founder and on the board of directors of Fortunate Families, said it’s a ‘sad situation’ that many children have left the Catholic church over its lack of acceptance of gays and lesbians.

” ‘We encourage people to speak up, because the bishops don’t know our children and they need to hear our children, and understand that our children are every bit as whole and holy,’ Lopata said.

” ‘We’re starting to see tiny glimmers of hope that pastors and members of the hierarchy might be willing to talk,’ Lopata said. ‘We do believe that if they would just talk to us and talk to children and listen to what they would have to say, their hearts would be changed.’ “

Parents of LGBT people are some of the strongest justice and equality advocates in the Catholic Church.  They love both their children and the church, and they are not willing to let their be animosity between these groups. Catholic parents of LGBT people have had to go on a journey of understanding, acceptance, and love, and, as a result, they have a LOT that they can teach the rest of the church about understanding, accepting, and loving LGBT people.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Related Posts

April 27, 2013: Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson Chastises Archbishop on Communion Issue

April 19, 2013: Bishop Gumbleton Preaches on Christ’s Radical Welcome for All

April 12, 2013: Gumbleton to Pro-Marriage Equality Catholics: ‘Don’t Stop Going to Communion’

11 replies
  1. pjnugent
    pjnugent says:

    About the time of our electioin to legailze marriage equality, i shared with my pastor that my anger with the bishops in opposition to it was consuming me. He told me i must let the anger go. I now find it easier, more peaceful and hopeful to just ignore them.

    Reply
  2. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
    Fran Rossi Szpylczyn says:

    Well, what do you know. I’m thinking that priests who abuse children, bishops and archbishops who allow this to continue to happen – yes Bishop Finn and Archbishop Meyers I’m talking to you, bishops who drive drunk, hit someone and then flee… yes, Bishop McManus, I’m afraid it is you that I am looking at now.

    I’m thinking that maybe they should not be giving out communion instead of denying communion. (in fairness, i have no idea of McManus’ track record on any of this.) That they might do this voluntarily would speak volumes. That they use excuses and legalese to work the system, well… that is just wrong. I’m pretty cranky about this today.

    Before I sign off, remind me, on Holy Thursday, who washed the apostles filthy feet?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    God have mercy.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] to ban Catholics who support marriage equality from Communion. His comments prompted outcry from Catholic parents in Michigan, and from Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (links here and here) and Episcopal Bishop […]

  2. […] which he suggested that Catholics who support marriage equality should deny themselves Communion. Catholic parents and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton strongly criticized that statement, encouraging all to keep receiving […]

  3. […] are courageous voices speaking out against church injustice, as when a group of parents in Detroit protested anti-LGBT statements by the archdiocese there. Even Pope Francis is waking up to the special role of these parents, […]

  4. […] of an examination of Catholic parents of LGBT people .  The first installment, which features Linda Karle-Nelson and Joanne Weyant, can be viewed […]

  5. […] by PFLAG for their pastoral efforts within the church through Fortunate Families. They have led protests at the Detroit chancery and stood by Dignity/Detroit when its 39th anniversary celebrations came […]

  6. […] themselves for Communion, though he did not ban them outright.  His comments prompted outcry from Catholic parents in Michigan, and from Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (links here and here) and Episcopal Bishop […]

  7. […] Nelsons were featured in a previous Bondings 2.0 post when they organized a demonstration at the Archdiocese of Detroit’s headquarters to protest […]

  8. […] same weekend Catholic parents held vigil in Detroit to affirm their LGBT children’s place in the Church, an anti-gay organization protested Dignity/Detroit’s 39th anniversary […]

  9. […] related action in Detroit occurred this same weekend, as parents of LGBT children witnessed outside archdiocesan offices after Archbishop Vigneron told supporters of LGBT equality to refrain from Communion. Clearly, more […]

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