In bizarre move, bishop who ousted gay catholic from parish rejects 18,000 signatures, sends them back

File under: insulated, monolithic, callous, tone deaf church power structure

by Ross Murray

On April 11, Nicholas Coppola delivered over 18,000 signatures gathered through Faithful America to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, asking that Nicholas be once again allowed to volunteer with his parish, after getting married to his husband.

nicholas-coppolaOn April 23, Bishop William Murphy mailed them back, accompanied by one sentence:


Seriously. You can see the cover letter here.

“I really don’t understand what sort of message Bishop Murphy is trying to send,” said Nicholas Coppola upon learning that the signatures were mailed back. “Is he no longer listening to the voices of the faithful? I have more questions than anything now.”

“Bishop Murphy owes Nicholas and the 18,000 people who’ve signed this petition a real answer, not a tactless ‘return to sender'” said Michael Sherrard, executive director of Faithful America. “I’ve never heard of a church official returning a petition like this without any kind of explanation.”

In January, Nicholas was informed by his priest that because he got married, he was to be removed from all parish activity, including altar server, lector, visitation minister, and religious education instructor. More than 18,000 people, including many Catholics, stood up in support of Nicholas, and asked that he be restored to his participation with the parish. Rather than speak with Nicholas, the Diocese dispatched security and would not allow Nicholas to enter the building. A security guard stated that he was to collect Nicholas’ petition and deliver it to the correct person.

Since that time, Nicholas has launched a second petition through, inviting Cardinal Timothy Dolan to break bread with him and listen to the story of at least one faithful gay Catholic. The petition comes in response to Cardinal Dolan’s admission to George Stephanopoulos that the Roman Catholic Church hasn’t “been too good” about not attacking gay and lesbian people. The petition has collected over 20,000 signatures to date.

According to canon law, the bishops must respond to letters that have been delivered. Later the same day that Nicholas delivered the petitions, the diocese issued a media statement reaffirming Nicholas’ ouster. It is unclear if returning the petition is the official response, per canon law.

“Nicholas Coppola is a faithful Catholic who loves his church, and he is now being treated like a threat by his own bishop,” said Ross Murray, GLAAD’s Director of News and Faith Initiatives. “Now more than ever, it is vital that Cardinal Dolan break bread with Nicholas to hear how he is being treated by the church that he loves so much.”

Take Action: Tell Cardinal Dolan to break bread with Nicholas Coppola

It’s time to replace shunning with real dialogue. Please join GLAAD in asking Cardinal Dolan to break bread with Nicholas Coppola so he can see that they are just like any other American Catholic family. Visit to learn more.

Complete Article HERE!

Same-sex marriage: France changes law

The French parliament has approved a bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption, following a divisive public debate.

husband & husbandFrance becomes the 14th country to pass a law allowing gay marriage, and follows New Zealand last week.

Opponents of the move have staged some of the biggest protests seen in France in years, though polls suggest a small majority in favour of gay marriage.

Demonstrations are expected from both supporters and opponents of the bill.

Police reinforcements have been brought in and security stepped up. Although previous rallies have been overwhelmingly peaceful, some clashes on the fringes have been blamed on far-right elements.

President Francois Hollande has made the law his flagship social reform.

He is expected to add his signature to the bill once it has cleared any challenge in the constitutional council.

Opponents of gay marriage hope the council will block the bill – but analysts say that is unlikely.

Supporters say gay people will only have equal rights when they are allowed to marry.

They also say the campaign of opposition has encouraged an increase in violent attacks on gay people.

There have been some high-profile attacks in recent weeks, and on Monday gunpowder was posted to the speaker of the lower house, demanding he stop the vote.

The violence and threats have been condemned by both sides.

Some argue this is the most important social reform in France since the death penalty was banned in 1981, says the BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris.

France becomes the ninth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage. It has already been legalized not just in the traditionally liberal Netherlands and Scandinavia, but also in strongly Catholic Portugal and Spain. Legislation is also moving through the UK Parliament.

But the measure has aroused stronger than expected opposition in France – a country where the Catholic Church was thought to have lost much of its influence over the public.

In January, a protest in Paris against the bill attracted some 340,000 people according to police – one of the biggest public demonstrations in France in decades. Organisers put the figure at 800,000.

Since then both sides have held regular street protests.

The opponents, backed by the Catholic Church and conservative opposition, say France already has civil partnerships for homosexual couples, and extending rights to marriage undermines an essential building block of society.

Opinion polls suggest about 55-60% of the public support same-sex marriage.

However, support for adoption by same-sex couples, which is also provided for in the bill, is only at about 50%.

Opponents have marched under banners declaring a child’s right to a mother and father.

At a last-ditch demonstration on Sunday, Camille, 32, told AFP news agency as she fed her baby of four months: “We are here for the rights of the children… We take it as a slur when we are called homophobes or fascists.”

Complete Article HERE!

Pope’s strongman blasts old guard aside

The pontiff is to give more women top jobs and break the grip of Italian cardinals, his key aide tells John Follain in Vatican City

By John Follain

POPE FRANCIS plans to appoint lay women to top jobs in the Vatican and to dilute the power of Italian cardinals in a radical shake-up of the Catholic Church’s government following a series of scandals.

pope francis025In a move branded as “revolutionary” by Vatican watchers, the Pope last weekend appointed eight cardinals to advise him on the governance and reform of the Curia, the church’s bureaucracy which has been tainted by controversies over child sex abuse by priests, leaks of papal files and allegations of corruption.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, whom Francis named to head the panel and who is now seen as a “power behind the papal throne”, predicted a difficult fight ahead for the Argentine pontiff.

Complete Article HERE!

Inconsistent messages damage credibility of the new evangelization

By Isabella R. Moyer

“Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility,” Pope Francis stated Sunday during his first papal visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.


I couldn’t agree more. Inconsistency is one of the greatest obstacles to the new evangelization. It might be the greatest obstacle.

The new evangelization is aimed mostly at Catholics who have “drifted” from their faith. Papal and episcopal fingers of blame have pointed outward to the evils of secularism and other temptations of our modern age. But a simple mirror of introspection will show that the lack of credibility in the church is a major cause for the mass emptying of pews.

True, some may have drifted apathetically away but others have stomped out of the church in disgust, happy to slam the door behind them. The disgust comes from the glaring divide between the message preached, and the message lived.

Inconsistency is present when a parish describes itself as a welcoming, inclusive community but single mothers, questioning Catholics, divorced, re-married or LGBT persons do not experience that welcome.

Inconsistency is present when a diocese claims to be a faith-centered communion of communities, but all you see is division, financial or legal cover-ups, or a dysfunctional leadership.

Inconsistency is present when Catholics publicly rage against specific culture war issues, while disregarding the truly seamless garment of human dignity and life.

Inconsistency is present when we are told to give generously to church coffers to build extravagant worship spaces while schools, shelters and hospitals struggle to serve those in greatest need.

Inconsistency is present when priests who question the male-only or celibate priesthood are defrocked, but child abusers are not.

Inconsistency is present when more time, money and energy is put into petty and obsessive liturgical changes than into teaching women and men how to form a loving, personal relationship with God in prayer.

Inconsistency is present in each and every one of us when we lack the crucial balance of faith believed, faith prayed and faith lived. The more consistently we ponder, proclaim and live the gospel message in our everyday lives, the more credible we are as Catholics.

In the short month since his election, Francis has shown a gift for saying a lot in a few words and with the smallest of actions. Simplicity has the power to reach many hearts.

It is, perhaps, the most brilliant form of evangelization and our new pope does it well: “Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God!”

Complete Article HERE!

Columbus Diocese Fires Gay Teacher, Coach

File under: insulated, monolithic, callous, tone deaf leadership.

by Bob Vitale

Bishop Watterson High School students are fighting for a longtime physical education teacher and coach they say was fired by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus because she’s gay.

schoolgoodnewsmapCarla Hale is liked and respected by students and colleagues, but people close to her and the school say she was terminated after Bishop Watterson and church officials were told that she included her partner, Julie, in her mother’s newspaper obituary.

Students began an online petition yesterday that has been gaining about 100 supporters per hour. It was up to 2,800 by noon today.

The petition calls Hale a beloved teacher “who cared for her students and treated each one with respect.”

“The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her,” reads the petition, started by Watterson senior Jackson Garrity. “Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today’s society. … The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale. That is why we all have to stand up together and let it be known that this decision is unacceptable.”

Garrity said students learned of Hale’s firing this week, although they weren’t told directly by the school. The school didn’t tell faculty either, others said.bishop with the porn mustache

“She’s a great lady,” a former colleague said of Hale. “She’s totally dedicated to her students.”

Two people who know others who’ve spoken to Hale told Outlook the details of her termination. Hale’s mother, Jeanne E. Roe of Powell, passed away on Feb. 25, and her obituary appeared in The Columbus Dispatch the next day. Hale’s partner, Julie, was listed among Roe’s survivors. That is what prompted school officials to fire Hale, the source said.

“My classmates and I feel very passionately about this issue,” Garrity told Outlook by email. “We (the senior class) agreed that we needed to take a stand as leaders and voice our opinions.”

Other Watterson students, parents and alumni have voiced their anger at the school as well. Here’s a sampling of comments:

“Bishop Watterson demands that we all treat each other with equality and respect. I hope they see that their students are standing up for the morally right thing, not to just rebel against the school. Carla Hale is a child of God and equal in his eyes to all of us. Bishop Watterson needs to recognize that.”

“Ms. Hale was a fantastic PE teacher, she encouraged everyone to be a part of the games and activities we did in class. This made the class more fun for everyone. She was always fair towards me, even in my freshman year when I was rude and disrespectful in her class. … To see the treatment of a woman who has given so much time to the Watterson community as a teacher, coach, and much more is just sickening. Judging and discriminating against people on the basis of their sexuality is not what God wanted at all. … I want Ms. Hale reinstated to the school because regardless of her sexuality (which is no one’s business but her own), she is a great teacher, and a fantastic woman and role model.”

“When I was a student at Bishop Watterson, we were always taught to treat others with dignity and compassion. As an alumni, I still credit Bishop Watterson with shaping me into the person I am today — both morally and ethically. I am deeply saddened to learn that, in spite of what Watterson taught me about respect for all humanity, a longstanding and well-respected faculty member was treated so unfairly. Ms. Hale has always been an excellent coach and teacher. Her sexual orientation and lifestyle choices have no bearing on her capacity to educate her students and should NOT be grounds for termination of employment.”

“My kids go to Bishop Watterson. I want them to see a model of tolerance and love, not discrimination.”

“As a graduate of Watterson I am deeply disappointed that my former school seems to have lost sight of one of their core principles — to love and respect others. I truly hope Watterson realizes their mistake before teaching students that it is acceptable to judge another person for any reason, let alone for loving someone. Ms. Hale please know that we support you.”

Someone who signed the petition with the name of Hale’s daughter wrote: “Discrimination against someone for their sexuality is wrong. It is not our place to judge someone especially based on these terms. She is an amazing mother, friend, teacher, and all around person. That is how people should see her!”

Hale still is listed on Watterson’s website as head of the school’s health and physical education department.

Bishop Watterson Principal Marian Hutson didn’t respond to Outlook’s request for comment. Diocese spokesman George Jones said it’s church policy not to comment on personnel matters.

It’s the second time this year that Catholic schools in Ohio have fired educators for ties to the LGBT community. In February, Mike Moroski, an assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati, was fired by the Cincinnati Archiocese after he stated his support for marriage equality on his personal blog.

Complete Article HERE!