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Post image for Cardinal Dolan Uses NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From Sunday Worship In St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Cardinal Dolan Uses NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From Sunday Worship In St. Patrick’s Cathedral

by David Badash on May 5, 2013

in Discrimination,News,Religion

Editor’s note: Please also read our update: “Gay Catholic Leaders Weigh In On Use Of NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From St. Pat’s Cathedral

Cardinal Timothy Dolan today used the NYPD to prohibit from Sunday worship services gay Catholics and their allies by barring their entry into NYC’s historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the iconic home of the Roman Catholic Church in New York.

The small group of silent Catholic protestors were threatened with arrest by a New York City Police detective — unless they first washed their hands.

The ten Catholics, who are LGBT and not LGBT, and even parents of LGBT people, were responding to Cardinal Dolan’s April 25 blog post, “All Are Welcome!,” which tells gay people who wish to participate in the Catholic faith, you must first “wash your hands!” They labeled their actions today a “Dirty Hands Vigil.”

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“I have never been denied a seat at Christ’s table. In fact, today marks the first day that I have ever felt disowned, abandoned, and lost,” Joseph Amodeo, organizer of the action, writes at the Huffington Post. He adds that “the ten of us [who] gathered were greeted by four police cars, eight uniformed officers, a police captain, and a detective from the Police Commissioner’s LGBT liaison unit. The detective informed us that the Cathedral would prohibit us to enter because of our dirty hands.”

As we reached St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we were approached by Kevin Donohue, who identified himself as being in charge of operations for the cathedral. Sadly, Mr. Donohue’s tone was both cold and scolding. What astounded me most was when he said that we could enter the cathedral so long as we washed our hands first. Even now, writing those words I find myself struggling to understand their meaning, while coming to terms with their exclusionary nature.

It was at this moment that Mr. Donohue advised us that if we entered St. Patrick’s Cathedral with dirty hands, we would be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. Upon hearing those words, I remember standing there thinking, “How can I charged with criminal trespassing in my own home?” It was then that I realized what it meant to be spiritually homeless. This realization was particularly difficult for me in light of the private meeting that I had with Cardinal Dolan on November 27, 2012, at his office in Manhattan. It was during that meeting that he expressed such love and welcome that I find his subsequent “conditional welcome” to be difficult to understand.

In response to the Archdiocese’s threat of arrest, we opted to remain outside where we stood in silent vigil with our palms turned out facing toward the main doors of Cathedral. As the start of the Mass drew near, the temporary steel doors that mark the front of the Cathedral while the original doors are refurbished, seemed to be symbolically appropriate. The cold steel and the means by which the doors closed as we stood outside seem now to capture well the chill that we felt from the Cathedral’s staff as well as the Cardinal. Our peaceful presence was responded to with a resounding “you are not welcome.”

Cardinal Dolan’s comments which prompted the action were in the form of a story he wrote about his childhood and being allowed a seat at the family table with a young friend. Dolan writes his father told his friend Freddie, “looks like you and Tim better go wash your hands before you eat.”

“Simple enough . . . common sense . . . you are a most welcome and respected member now of our table, our household, dad was saying, but, there are a few very natural expectations this family has,” Dolan added. “Like, wash your hands!…”

skitched-20130505-161406Amodeo, (image, right) who resigned last year from the board of NYC’s Catholic Charities, told The New Civil Rights Movement today via electronic message that the “action on the part of the Archdiocese of New York stands in contrast to the radical welcome that Jesus Christ proclaimed throughout his ministry.” He added that it is “sad that the Cardinal is unable to extend the absolute welcome that forms the basis of Christian theology.”

Amodeo also told tNCRM that their action was not a protest but a “vigil,” and “no one was arrested as we opted to remain outside.”

“Although it is not clear who made the decision to ban us from entering the Cathedral,” Amodeo added, “as the seat of the Archbishop, he had to be aware of the situation.”

“At a minimum, the Rector of the Cathedral had to be involved in making this decision.

“The NYPD did confirm that if we entered the Cathedral, we would be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing — a felony,” Amodeo told tNCRM.

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Hat tip: Gay Marriage USA. All images of today’s action by Gay Marriage USA

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{ 27 comments }

SeanLiberty13 May 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

A non-tax paying leech used the tax payer funded NYPD to bar tax payers from a Cathedral on land that costs tax payers $10million a year. Who do the cops work for? The tax payers or that leech? Hint: The tax payers, including LGBT tax payers. This is disgusting and illegal. The Catholic church does not pay one dime in taxes therefore by law the NYPD is under no legal obligation to fund anything for them including threatening their employers, the tax payers, with arrest for practicing their first amendment rights. This is not American. This is fascism. The NYPD works for us, not them. Tax the parasites or don't tax us. CHOOSE!

SeanLiberty13 May 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm

It is not trespassing when it was said that "all are welcome". It is the Catholic church that is trespassing on the land they do not even pay taxes for. That land belongs to Americans. That land belongs to the tax payers. Tax payers cannot trespass on what is their land.

lingin May 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Reminds me of something that happened when Jimmy Cagney passed away. The Archdiocese of New York offered the use of St. Patrick's for the Requiem Mass but apparently the actor had directed his executors to refuse should it be offered. When Cagney's father was taken ill and subsequently passed away in the great flu pandemic in the early part of the century the family had requested a priest who never showed. Apparently the RC church was more concerned with its' wealthier parishioners. Now that Cagney was famous and wealthy the RC church was more attuned to the family but the actor still felt that snub all those years later. His service took place at his old neighborhood church, St. Francis de Sales in Yorkville.

A personal comment on a life well lived. When Jimmy Cagney's casket was being carried out of the church to the hearse there were tons of people who lined the streets and broke into applause. There can be no better accolade for a life.

TomTallis May 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

The Catholic Church isn't worth their effort. They need to get over their Catholicism addiction and move on to better religions (if there is such a thing). They'd feel right at home in the Episcopal Church, among others.

slowe11 May 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm

That would be Humanism.

slowe11 May 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Perhaps, it would be helpful to consider that the church, the religion, is no longer really necessary or even needed. Why not just abandon it as obsolete, and childish. It is, at least harmful, to LGBT and always has been and probably shall be for a long time, if not forever. Consider Humanism as an alternative philosophy. It is a moral, ethical system that has never degraded gays, lesbians, women, etc. It has never had to re-interpret it's texts to make room for modernity and everybody. Humanism, the next step for humanity

sdfrenchie May 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Why would a gay person even want to set foot in a church these days? Religion and its foolish man-made rules is nothing but a big joke. I know plenty of Christians who wouldn't set foot in a church ever again. These are the people who actually live by the Golden Rule, not the church rule. I'd like to bitch slap that Cardinal with my dirty hands.

SeanLiberty13 May 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

He has protected pedophiles from prosecution. Your hands are far cleaner then his will ever be.

leonardoricardo May 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Dolan is a fool, a puffed up fool…

BJLincoln May 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm

My head is reeling!
A golf clap for the 10 who showed up. It was cool you stood up for what you believe…but…..why?
The RCC has made it clear they hate LGBT people.
Then you have the whole taxpayer issue. My LGBT taxes go in part to pay for the taxes the church doesn't pay. The church has free land and tax free income. The amendment they keep close to the vest, doesn't count when they want to openly discriminate and deny others their freedom of religion. To protect them from the dangerous LGBT people, they get free police who happen to be paid in part by my LBGT taxes.
I thank those 10 people for bring this to light and I hope lots of people see this.

Derek Warren May 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I find it sad, but not surprising that Saint Patrick's Cathedral would do something like this. I am not Catholic, but I am no stranger to this kind of blatant hatred directed from "Christians" and being directed towards LGBT people. I was raised in an ELCA Lutheran congregation and our church went through a split up after the church's 2009 decision to allow gay and lesbian people to serve in the ministry. In a very close vote, we decided to stay with the ELCA. This infuriated Conservative members of our church. They left and then joined congregations that conform to their own beliefs.

I don't think the Roman Catholic church will ever change. If they don't ordain women, they probably will not allow gay men to become priests or even be a part of their congregation. (Even though some Catholic churches do welcome gay people.) If I ever find myself in New York City, I will not go into St. Patrick's Cathedral! I cannot stand people who not only use their religious beliefs, but use tax funded law enforcement to exclude people from being a part of a church that claims to welcome everyone.

faquint May 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Ahhh! The Ecumenical Catholic Communion! What a wonderful way to be Catholic! Where all are welcome and have a spiritual home, are invited to the Lord's table, and are encouraged to fully participate in the life of the Church!

Siddigfan May 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm

http://www.facebook.com/TimothyCardinalDolan?grou… Leave the man a message (tho it will probably be promptly erased Lol!) He's got about three or four facebook pages but this appears to be the last one he's skipped to.

peeonthehaters May 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Oh I just went off that bastard AND some hypocritical bitch, on his page!!!! LOL!!!!

James_M_Martin May 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Dolan has been culpable in the pedophile priest scandals so it is the ultimate hypocrisy he would deny the sacrament to queer people. It is almost like saying, it is OK to be a child molester, but not OK to be an out gay or lesbian.

peeonthehaters May 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Yup…But he'll knowingly give the Eucharist to the divorced, a man and woman living together but not married, a known criminal, etc….HYPOCRITE!

tgflux May 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Unbelievable. Except that I *do* believe it.

Russo Lewis May 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Don't be fooled. This is not the whole story…by far, it's unfair to both sides, written to 'inflame' instigate and inspire prejudice whatever side the reader may choose.

Susan J. Elliott May 6, 2013 at 12:44 am

Taxpayers pay for NYPD, not the Catholic Church. OUTRAGEOUS.

Truth_Addict May 6, 2013 at 2:38 am

I am absolutely OUTRAGED. I'm hoping this story is a prank, but I know it's not. We need to show that POS what a real protest is like.

Superbbluewren May 6, 2013 at 3:21 am

This was a clever protest which effectively picked up on Dolan's blog post. It is reminiscent of the Rainbow Sash Movement protests in Melbourne Australia where Cardinal Pell simply refused communion to those wearing the sash. However, Dolan has gone one step farther by refusing entry to the cathedral with the threat of police action. As a political act, that was less than astute.

While I disagree with Dolan's position, the position is reasonable. His understanding, and the understanding of the Catholic Church is defective. That is what needs to be changed. Dolan's definition of 'clean hands' is not mine. He sees dirt where there is none. The challenge lies in changing that view. If we are all throwing mud, we will all have muddy hands.

narchais May 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I guess I'm missing something. I read the blog post, and it seems that the whole "washing your hands" bit was to everyone. Much later in the blog he says that being homosexual isn't a sin, only the acts. It seems someone thought they'd be clever and say "he mentions homosexuals! The entire post is about us!" I also read this clip where it mentions that the members of the vigil were both members and not members of the LGBT community. What it sounds like to me isn't that this was the church keeping people out for being gay, but a group intentionally attempting to be disruptive and happened to include gay people.

MN-SNAP May 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Hey Dolan, you DO NOT have to wash your hand before you read this list: Here's a shocking list of 174 accused clerics, nuns and staff
http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/villainous-mn-clerics

GayleValverde May 7, 2013 at 2:53 am

The article brought me to tears for the 10 men. for I know Christ would NOT have forsaken them. May God have mercy on Cardinal Dolan & the elders at St. Pat's who made this decision, for the good book tells us, Judge not, lest Ye too will be judged. The Church IS the faithful who gather together to worship, pray and give thanks for God's love, while sharing their time, talents and treasures. I have worshiped at St. Pat's while in NY, and I say it is Cardinal Nolan & the elders who are in need of a good hand washing along with a heartfelt confession of their sins and penance seems in order as well!!!

Joe Lyman May 7, 2013 at 10:32 am

This is a poorly written and researched article. It sounds like its newsworthy. I would love to know more. Is there any chance you can take another crack at it?

randwatters May 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Hope this helps, Joe: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-amodeo/cardi

Here's the blog post that started it: http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/all-are-welcom

philip10124 May 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm

that's so crazy. This is why I never put my trust in man nor women, because they will always disappoint me. So I put my trust in God, because God nor Jesus will fail me. What is a church?? its not a building, nor one man saying you can't enter a building. where 2 or more people gather in God and jesus name, there's a church. Walls don't define a church, people coming and standing together in son/father/ and holy spirit, that's where the true spirit of the church is in us, standing together  in a church, in our homes, in a coffee shop, or a field. as long as we stand with someone who believes in Christ, then we are not alone or abandoned. For Jesus never fails. Jesus went through his battles, and trials, and even died and rose again. I'm sure he seemed abandon. But he was never abandon nor alone, because he rose & lives. Don't allow no one to teach you the bible other than christ through the holy spirit and God.

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