Deadline to sign is December 31, 2016
Copies of this statement and signatures will be sent to Pope Francis,
Cardinal Beniamino Sella, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy,
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
and to known gay priests and religious.
The Vatican's latest document on priestly formation, The Gift of the Priestly Vocation, has reaffirmed a 2005 ban on gay men entering the priesthood. Pope Francis approved the document, raising serious questions about what his celebrated "Who am I to judge?" remark now means, especially since this was in response to gay men in the priesthood.
As Catholics, we know that for centuries gay men in the priesthood have faithfully, dutifully, and effectively served the People of God. We have experienced their pastoral sensitivity and insights, and we appreciate the perspective which they offer the Church community. Their many gifts have produced wonderful blessings in vibrant, inclusive faith communities, in theology, in pastoral care, and in a special empathy for people who are marginalized.
Vatican II's Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests exhorts priests to "remember that in carrying out their task they are never alone but are supported by the almighty power of God. . .remember too that they have their brothers in the priesthood and indeed the world's entire believers, as allies (Presbyterum Ordinis, 22).
The Vatican’s instruction will instill shame and fear in the hearts of many gay priests and seminarians. We want these ministers to know that we stand with them in this dark hour. We want Church leaders to know that we reject this ban on the ordination of gay men. Such a ban goes against our deeply held Catholic principles of non-discrimination and the human dignity and equality of all.
To our Church’s leaders, we say:
“Lift this ban. Affirm gay priests.”
To our gay priests and seminarians, we say:
“Thank you! Despite what the Vatican has said about you, we offer you our total support.
You are welcome in this church. You are one of us. You are wonderfully made.”