I wrote this letter to my parish priest this morning and sent it by e-mail, with a copy to our priest in residence.
I am sure that by now you have read the most recent issue of The B.C. Catholic newspaper. I am sure also that you have at least seen the article on page 12 with the headline "Homosexuality, pedophilia related: cardinal," if you have not read it.
Nearly four years ago I returned to the Church of my baptism after more than 35 years of wandering in a spiritual wilderness. I was well aware at the time of the teaching of the Church on homosexuality but I had not read and studied as much as I have since my return. I felt that the Church is like one's family: sometimes there are issues that family members disagree about, but they still love each other and the family stays together. When I decided to choose St. ---- as my parish, I was touched by the warm welcome I received from you and from fellow parishioners, and I have grown to love this parish despite the fact that theologically I am decidedly to the left of most members of our community.
When I read the pamphlets created by the Courage apostolate (and distributed in a workshop during Priests' Study Week in November 2007) that you kindly gave me in December 2007, I was shocked at the homophobic misinformation that they contained. I was also outraged that such deliberate ignorance should be foisted upon priests who likely have neither the time nor the motivation to verify the content of the workshop and the pamphlets. I am a writer, so at the time I wrote an article on this topic. Out of respect for you, I did not immediately attempt to publish that article and only did so when I established a blog in late 2009. The article is attached to this e-mail message.
I was again deeply disappointed, offended, and outraged when I read the B.C. Catholic article. It is clearly the intent of this article (and thus of the editors who decided to publish it) to connect pedophilia and homosexuality in the minds of readers. Nowhere does the article report the almost universal ridicule with which Cardinal Bertone's remarks were greeted. Nor does it report that the authors of the independent study on clerical sexual abuse commissioned by the USCCB replied to a specific question by an American bishop by stating that the study found no link between homosexuality and the sexual abuse of pre- or post-pubescent children.
The editors of The B.C. Catholic are fully aware that many readers will only glance at the headline of an article and that many of those who do take the time to actually read the page 12 article will not be aware of the scientific facts that have resulted from studies of sexual abuse. These readers will therefore receive the absolutely incorrect impression from the article that indeed there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia. There is no way that the editors cannot have been aware of this when they decided to publish the article. The article is, in effect, a lie.
I am profoundly discouraged by the ignorance, irresponsibility, and insensibility reflected in this article. Moreover, I feel that I am in the wilderness again because I now believe there is no one in the Archdiocese who is willing to acknowledge the wound opened by such hateful attitudes and actions, let alone to begin to attempt to heal it. I am a soul in distress but because that soul is a gay man's soul, I do not expect pastoral understanding and care from my Church.
The B.C. Catholic is, I understand, the official voice of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. If the page 12 article is a reflection of the message of love in the Gospel, a message which it is part of the mission of any diocese to deliver to the faithful, I, a simple Christian who hungers for that message, did not find it on page 12.
When you declined to allow me to be a catechist in 2007, after I told you I was gay, it was out of deep respect and great affection for you as a pastor and as a friend that I remained silent about your decision. For the same reasons, I have not told anyone in our parish that I am gay and that I respectfully disagree with the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. You must understand that this has caused me great personal conflict. After the publication by The B.C. Catholic of such an egregiously ignorant and hurtful article, however, I can no longer remain silent. As I am only one parishioner out of several thousand at St. -----, I do not wish to cause you either embarrassment or stress that is out of all proportion to my importance as a member of the community. Therefore, in order to preserve my integrity, my only recourse is to excuse myself from continued membership in St. ----- parish. You have no idea how deeply this saddens me.
I sincerely hope that both you and Father ---- experience continued joy in your ministry.
In Christ's love,