LGBT New Yorkers rallied outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC on Easter Sunday in response to the recent Vatican document banning church blessings for same-sex couples, according to a press release issued by the Irish LGBT group Lavender and Green Alliance.
The document issued on March 15 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and approved by Pope Francis reinforced the Vatican's official position that it is "illicit" for priests to bless same-sex unions.
Brendan Fay, Irish gay activist and organizer of the rally, said: “On this Easter Sunday, LGBT Catholics, our families, and friends are here for love and justice.
“We honor the love of same-sex couples and our families. We call for equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people not just in civil society, but within our Catholic Church.”
Unfurling a large rainbow flag, the universal symbol of LGBT equality designed by Gilbert Baker, the group called for reform of church teaching that renounces homosexuality as an “intrinsic disorder” and opposes same-sex marriage.
Fay said: “The Church blesses goats and dogs, cars and cats. At Easter, there is a special blessing of the eggs. Yet the love of same-sex couples is called sin and unworthy of a blessing? This is a theology that leaves a trail of hurt and harm.”
Thomas Moulton, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist who met his spouse Fay at a DIGNITY Mass in 1996, said: “Recent studies indicate the link between anti-LGBT religious teachings and higher levels of distress and suicide rates among LGBT youth. We invite church leaders to join us in dialogue, witness committed couples in love, and to support LGBT youth and families with LGBT children.”
Fay and Moulton crossed the border to Canada for legal marriage on July 27, 2003.
The activists held images of Irish American priests Mychal Judge and John McNeill outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. McNeill, as an openly gay Jesuit theologian and psychotherapist, authored the groundbreaking book "The Church and the Homosexual" in 1976, challenging Church teaching on homosexuality which he said fostered violence and prejudice. Fay directed the film on McNeill's life, "Taking a Chance on God."
Judge, who died on 9/11, was recalled for his compassion during the AIDS crisis and his close friendship with the Irish LGBT community.
Former nun Donna Bungo said at the Easter Sunday rally: “My life today in a committed loving relationship with my spouse Kathleen is as blessed as my years in the Franciscan community.”
Kathleen Sullivan, who joined the vigil with her husband Blaise Dupuy, said: “We are standing in solidarity with our LGBTQ beloved friends and family in the Catholic community. We believe God is love and no love is a sin.
“On this Easter morning, let us resurrect God’s true teaching which is to love one another. We can always welcome more love in the world.”
Fay added: “To be neutral or silent at this moment in history is to participate in our own suppression and institutional second class status.
"Extending the hand of friendship and the blessing of solidarity with our LGBT family across the world, we rise up together for our equality, love, and liberation.”