Catholic Bishops Increase Distance Between the Flock and the Hierarchy

 The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, reacted to the election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Dolan upset the current USCCB Vice President who is known as a more moderate figure in the church hierarchy.

“The surprise election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan, an outspoken advocate of disrespect for the marriages of same-sex couples, is yet another indicator of how out of step the hierarchy is with the Roman Catholic faithful,” said HRC Religion & Faith Program Director Rev. Harry Knox. “Great majorities of Catholic lay people know that lesbian and gay couples seek only to live in love and mutual respect with their neighbors.  They are dismayed when the bishops only offer an extension of the divisive ‘culture wars’ in return.”

62 percent of American Catholics say that homosexuality should be accepted by society and more American Catholics favor marriage equality than oppose it, according to polling by Gallup and the Pew Research Center.

“Roman Catholics in the pews know that everyone deserves respect and freedom, including LGBT people.  As long as the Catholic hierarchy continues to put up barriers to these basic values, the disconnect between the bishops and the Catholic faithful will continue to widen,” added Rev. Knox.

HRC is also concerned over the election of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville as vice-president, another leader in the church whose views fall far outside the mainstream of American Catholic laity.  Kurtz has served as chairman of the Conference’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage.

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