BOSTON, May 14, 2004 ( – Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston, a usually strong defender of life and family, has issued what pro-family activists are seeing as a puzzling pastoral letter on same-sex “marriage” implying that pro-family activists are hostile toward homosexuals.

A letter under O’Malley’s signature stated, “I remind all Catholics that our sadness at what has happened should not lead us into anger against or vilification of any group of people, especially our homosexual brothers and sisters.”

On the same day, a group of about 100 dissident Catholic priests, nuns and lay people issued a letter that made an allegation of violent tendencies stating, “We call on all our brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth to treat same sex couples with respect, and to do no harm to them or their families.” Many of the signatory priests are members of a group called the Boston Priests’ Forum, a group that rejects the teaching of the Catholic Church on a variety of issues.

Some pro-family activists say they resent the implication in both statements, complaining that such comments play into the hands of those who would falsely paint the pro-life/pro-family movement as one prone to hostility and violence. Catholic World News reports that one Boston Catholic supporter of traditional marriage said he took offense at being “smeared by my own side.”

One of the organizers of the letter, Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton, said, “We’ve seen the need for the church to find a way to express its teaching, but at the same time to do it in a way that doesn’t alienate gay Catholics.” A representative of the dissident pro-homosexual group, Dignity, praised the Archbishop’s statement. Dignity is an organization that completely rejects the Catholic teaching on chastity and is in support of homosexual activists’ call for same-sex ‘marriage.’ “I think it’s terrific that Archbishop O’Malley added his voice to … calls for calm,” said Marianne Duddy a Boston representative of Dignity.

Last month’s pro-abortion March for Women’s Lives was shown the true face of the pro-life/pro-family movement by those who counter demonstrated along the march in large numbers by praying and witnessing silently. The peaceful, praying pro-life witnesses were verbally and physically abused by pro-gay marriage supporters and had to be protected by riot police.

Catholic World News coverage:

Boston Globe coverage including a link to both letters:


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