HOLY ORDERS

Petition to Get Cardinal Dolan To Meet LGBT Youth Gaining Traction—And Just Might Work

How much can one person do to combat institutionalized homophobia? Quite a bit actually: Two weeks ago, Joseph Amodeo (right) resigned his post on the Junior Board of Catholic Charities after New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan refused to reach out to needy LGBT youth at the Ali Forney Center.

Since then Amodeo launched a petition on Change.org to urge Cardinal Dolan to meet with LGBT youth. So far, he’s gotten nearly 1,200 signatures—and support from a broad spectrum of Christian leaders, including Father Anthony Ruff, professor of Liturgical Studies at St. John’s Abbey; Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry;  Joan Horgan, Director of Spirituality at the College of St. Rose; former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ),; Brother Brian Halderman, Minister for Social Justice at St. Mary’s University; and Archbishop Michael J. Champion of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Amodeo hopes to deliver the petition to Cardinal Dolan’s office on May 17, the Feast of the Ascension. It reads, in part:

It’s wrong that 30-40% of homeless youth are LGBT. We’re asking Cardinal Dolan to meet with homeless LGBT youth, hear their stories, and dialogue with them.

A little over eight years ago, I came out as a gay man to my family and friends and continued to practice my faith as a Roman Catholic. I came to witness the overwhelming support that so many people have for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Despite support for LGBT people from so many Catholics today, I resigned from the Executive Committee of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities two weeks ago. My resignation was a result of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York’s decision to avoid a request to help young people served by the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency care to homeless LGBT youth.

Cardinal Dolan is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. media often refer to him as “the American Pope.” That such a well-known Catholic leader would oppose responding to a request to assist youth represents a deviation from Catholic social teaching.

Since my resignation, the support from Catholic people and other people of faith – gay and straight – has been overwhelming.

Do you believe we should embrace our young adults and not turn our backs on them for being who they are?

I do. I believe we need to raise our voices and seek a dialogue with the Cardinal on this and other issues affecting the LGBT community. Those sitting in the pews must send a message that leaders in the pulpits need to hear: we stand in solidarity with LGBT youth.

A high-level source tells Queerty that Dolan is aware of the effort and is considering at least making a statement in support of at-risk LGBT youth.

Who knows, with enough names on the petition he might even meet with the kids. God works in mysterious ways, after all.