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04/18/2008

Dear out City Council Speaker Christine Quinn:

by Jeremy Hooper

Cq Headshot Even though you take a reasoned stance every year and abstain from marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade because of its queer exclusivity, we have heard that you plan to attend the Pope's Sunday morning Mass at Yankee stadium. So we would just like to be the first to say: WTF?!?!

Chris, surely you know that this Pope has made a parlor game out of demonizing gay people and painting their relationships as outside the boundaries of acceptability. When he called us an "intrinsic moral evil," he was presumably including you and your partner within that spectrum of immorality. Do you really want to embolden or even dignify that mindset? Do you really want to turn a blind eye to the fact that he called your love "weak and deviant"? While he is purportedly talking during this visit about togetherness, brotherhood, and reconciliation, he is making no attempts to extend this welcoming spirit to our community. He once said Catholic politicians have a "non-negotiable" moral duty to oppose marriage equality. We would argue that openly gay politicians have a "non-negotiable" duty to take a righteous stand of opposition against his hurtful rhetoric!

Historic or not, why would you voluntarily choose to attend this Mass? It would be different if it were a matter of government business, with you leading the pontiff on some sort of official tour. We certainly wouldn't encourage NYC officials to give Benedict the cold shoulder, as we recognize his role and respect the place that he holds in the lives of many city constituents. But Chris, this man does not (at least publicly) recognize your truth or respect your love! You don't have to willingly sign up for a celebratory religious experience, at which there's a very good chance your rights will be once again be papally poo-pooed!

We've been extremely frustrated with the way the mainstream media has hailed this U.S. visit with few to no mentions of the Pope's unfortunate stances. You, as a proud lesbian and staunch defender of civil rights, could peacefully help to bring this oversight to light! Your abstention and the attention it would likely receive would help connect the dots for people, putting a real face on the abstract portraits of immorality that flow so easily from Ratzinger's tongue. You could show the frustration behind the idea that one can achieve the rank of the second most powerful city official in New York City government, yet still be deemed a "failure" because they were made to love in a non-heterosexual manner!

Chris, we're not asking you to be an activist on this; we're simply asking you to do what is right by your own conscience, as well as those of all the queer men and women who are sick and tired of being marginalized in such a simplistic, narrow manner. Think it over.

Small Protests Mounted Against Pope [Gay City News]

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Your thoughts

I agree, the coverage is frustrating. What is also frustrating, though not equally so, is how the NYC media is covering his every freaking move with special reports.

"This is David Ushery. Sorry to interrupt our regular programming but we are standing outside of the holy bathroom that the Pope is using during his visit to the United States. Like the Pope-mobile, this bathroom is mobile as well. We understand the Pope is in the porta-Pope as we speak and we are just awaiting his holy flush. Back to you Diane!

Posted by: Jon-Marc | Apr 18, 2008 9:40:15 AM

i cant stand her, she thinks she is so self-righteous. plus as a vegan i hate her because she won't ban fois grois in NY and also won't ban those stupid horse drawn carriages. I don't care if she is a lesbian, she sucks.

Posted by: queerunity | Apr 18, 2008 10:33:12 AM

Here’s a way Christine can give equal time to witness as a lesbian Catholic.

This Saturday, on the eve of the Pope’s visit to Ground Zero, there will be a vigil honoring the late FDNY chaplain, Father Mychal Judge, the first official casualty of the 9/11 attacks. *

Mychal was considered a living saint by many even prior to his heroic death. His extraordinary works of compassion have been compared to Mother Teresa (see http://SaintMychalJudge.blogspot.com )

But ironically, Fr. Mychal Judge would be barred from the priesthood today because he was openly gay, though celibate. He often asked, “Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love ?!”

We have no illusions that this pope is going to change. Rather, we are bearing witness to two truths -- that God created and loves gay people, and that the pope does not speak for the whole Church, the Ecclesia, on these matters.

Indeed, two-thirds of U.S. Catholics-in-the-pews reject the pope’s homophobic views and support either civil unions or full marriage rights, according to numerous surveys.

As Fr. Mychal also said, "Don't let the (institutional) church get in the way of your relationship with God."

* An Interfaith Vigil of Hope:
Saturday, April 19: 6-7pm,
on the eve of the Pope’s visit to Ground Zero
& in memory of Fr. Mychal Judge.

Meet outside St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway & Fulton St at 6 pm.
From there the candle light vigil will walk to the corner of
Church and Vesey Streets where the body of Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM
was first placed on 9/11.

Bring your own candles. A 7-foot banner painting of Mychal will be unfurled at the vigil.
Contact: Brendan Fay 718-721-2780

Posted by: Mychals Prayer | Apr 18, 2008 11:45:02 AM

I think you need to reconsider your stance here. You're coming across as an anti-Pope crank. You are telling Christine Quinn that she shouldn't even respect Joseph Ratzinger as a priest by demanding she shun any mass celebrated by him.

This strikes me as completely at odds with the attitude expressed in your article for The Advocate.

Posted by: David | Apr 19, 2008 12:08:56 AM

Rubbish, David. The Advocate article is about standing firmly against anti-gay messages but remaining cordial with the human beings who choose to embrace them. It's about gunning for the hostility rather than the person. And If Ratzinger wanted to have a conversation with me, it would not be the man I would want to combat. With all anti-gay mindsets, it is only the message I care about.

And I'm not "demanding" Quinn do anything. I'm asking that before she voluntarily attend this mass on her on time, she consider the message that this Pope is choosing to send about her life and love. I'm giving her some food for thought, the likes of which she can consume or shun.

Personally, while I would gladly have a sit down discussion with Ratzinger the man, I would not go to what is essentially a celebration of his teachings. You may be fine with someone calling you an "intrinsic moral evil," David. I am not.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 19, 2008 12:31:54 AM

I'm sorry, Jeremy, that you didn't like my use of the word "demand." However, a request really starts to sound like a demand when you couch it in "do what is right by your own conscience" by doing exactly what I want. If it violated her conscience to attend the mass she wouldn't attend it.

A mass is not any kind of celebration of the celebrant. People make a big deal over a mass celebrated by the Pope because of their feelings for the Church, not for the Pontiff.

I though your article was about how "standing firmly against anti-gay messages but remaining cordial with the human beings who choose to embrace them" was a better tactic than being constantly angry. How shunning any mass said by the Pope Benedict fits in with this is what I don't get. And your response doesn't help explain it.

The Pope doesn't consider gay people an intrinsic moral evil. You have to twist his words and Church teaching to reach such a conclusion.

Posted by: David | Apr 21, 2008 10:57:33 PM

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