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!

4 Replies to “In bizarre move, bishop who ousted gay catholic from parish rejects 18,000 signatures, sends them back”

  1. This is just so horrible and heartbreaking. It makes me think of what it must have been like for Catholics in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s who had Jewish grandparents. If someone in the parish found out, would they have been kicked out? Where is this hatred coming from? The Church that I was raised in didn’t have this kind of hate. It would be good if Cardinal Dolan would weigh in on this and speak out against the hatred. We need to stop the hate that is harming the Catholic Church.

    1. it’s pretty astonishing, isn’t it? of course, i don’t expect anything else from them. they have so much hate in their hearts. they are so very afraid of anything that is unfamiliar to them or doesn’t reflect their value system. how anyone could mistake this for leadership is beyond me.

      1. What kind of value system is that? Bishop Murphy was loyal to the “value system” that covered up for child abuse in Boston and he was rewarded for that. I wonder if he had spoken out with compassion for the victims and criticized those in power for their negligence if he would have been named a bishop.

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