Response to an Appeal

The following letter was sent in response to the Archbishop’s Appeal, the annual end-of-year fundrasing effort of the Archbishop of Washington that supports many of the archdiocesan activities throughout the year.

November 9, 2008

Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, S.T.D.
c/o Rev. Msgr. John J. Enzler
Vicar for Development
PO Box 98076
Washington, DC 20090-8076

Dear Archbishop Wuerl and Msgr. Enzler,

I am responding to your recent letter for this year’s Archbishop’s Appeal. As a past contributor, I have been pleased to support those efforts in the Archdiocese of Washington which support the “least among us” by meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the poor, the homeless, the dying, the immigrant, and those whom our society can so easily forget. Though my contributions both to the archdiocese and my parish of St. Joseph on Capitol Hill have been modest, I have tried to give what I could to support what I know have been, and I pray will continue to be, very worthwhile efforts.

However, I am writing to say that I will not contribute to the Archbishop’s Appeal for this year. Newspapers have reported that the bishops of the United States, through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), recently contributed $200,000.00 in California toward the successful effort to pass Proposition 8 and make legal once again state-sponsored discrimination against God’s gay and lesbian children. What small contribution I would have given to the Archbishop’s Appeal will instead be donated to efforts to promote the civil rights of gay and lesbian people through our country.

The bishops of California and the USCCB continue to speak about “defending marriage,” though they fail to see the illogic of their position. After all, why would those who wish to share in something simultaneously “attack” it? Proposition 8 and other efforts through the United States to support same-sex relationships would do nothing to harm or diminish either the civil marriages that all heterosexual men and women may enter, or the sacramental marriages that the Church recognizes between men and women who are baptized. These civil efforts are about the right to civil marriage which allows gay men and women to publicly solemnize their committed relationships and share in the same civil and legal benefits accorded to other civil marriages. Gay and lesbian people forge their relationships in love, according to their God-given nature. Even the Church recognizes that sexual orientation is a given, not a choice; to deny God’s gay children the right to fulfill their nature is not only an affront to their human dignity, but it is an affront to God Himself.

This past October 12th marked the 10th anniversary of the brutal slaying of Matthew Shepard on the plains of Wyoming. This twenty-one year old man was murdered because he dared to be true to himself, a young gay man trying to find his way in the world. The world the bishops envision is one in which God’s gay and lesbian children would be told once again to deny their God-given selves; a world in which acts of hatred toward gay people would no doubt increase. While I do not believe the bishops would consciously promote physical violence against gay people, their message to gay people that they are somehow “less than” and “not fully human” promotes a violence to the heart and soul that is equally deadly.

The moral emptiness of the bishops’ position on this matter, as well as the partisan political actions they have taken, compel me to write and tell you why I choose not to support your appeal this year. Even as I do so, please be assured of my prayers for you and all bishops of the United States, that they may come to see ALL God’s children, including those whom God chose to create as gay, as members of their flock, deserving the full rights and dignity of their baptism and their citizenship.

In Christ’s Peace,

Timothy J. MacGeorge
Washington, DC

P.S. – for more information on Catholic perspectives on the issue of homosexuality, I encourage you to visit the following Web sites:

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