Gay Catholic Resigns Over Archbishop’s Anti-Gay Rhetoric


Citing New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s anti-gay statements, 24 year-old Joseph Amodeo resigned last week from a Board of Catholic Charities committee.

In a letter sent to the diocese as well as Catholic Charities, Amodeo criticizes what he perceives to be Cardinal Dolan’s callous response to criticism over remarks Dolan has made about gay identity, including that New York’s legalization of marriage equality is “Orwellian social engineering” and that gay marriage will lead to incest.

Dolan has refused to accept that through his anti-gay comments he may be directly contributing to the intolerance and prejudice that leaves LGBT kids homeless and vulnerable.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Ms. McGowan and Ms. King:

After careful consideration and prayerful discernment, it is with mixed emotions that I submit my resignation as a member of the Executive Board of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities. Although I have a great deal of respect for the work of the organization and the incredible talent behind its efforts, I have found it difficult in recent weeks and months to reconcile serving on the Executive Committee of a board under the pastoral leadership of Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

The comments that His Eminence has made regarding same-sex couples, the LGBT community in general, and his recent in-action in response to the Ali Forney Center’s plea for pastoral assistance, has left me with no other choice but to resign. Contrary to His Eminence’s response to Ali Forney’s Executive Director, Mr. Siciliano’s comments were not inflammatory, they were truth; they were a call for help; and they were expressive of the cry in the wilderness that LGBT people have been making for far too long.

As a religious and pastoral leader for millions of Catholics, his voice is needed as together we work to create homes that are safe, affirming and welcoming for LGBT youth. The LGBT community is not asking the Cardinal to change Church teaching, but rather to exercise the Church’s social justice teachings. I hope the day will come when things will be less about “clear teachings” and more about what is truly right and just in the eyes of Truth itself.

This resignation should not be seen as casting an aspersion on Catholic Charities, but rather an ethical dilemma of a personal nature related to Archdiocesan leadership. As someone who believes in the message of love enshrined in the teachings of Christ, I find it disheartening that a man of God would refuse to extend a pastoral arm to the Ali Forney Center and the hundreds of LGBT youth that are housed, fed, educated and provided free health services.

These are concerns that I will share with the Office of the Cardinal and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council as well.

As a gay Catholic who teaches religious education (more than eight years in service to the Archdiocese of New York), is active in parish life and supports Catholic organizations, I’m afraid that the Archbishop has caused my heart to ache and my soul to feel pierced.

With a discerning mind, I have tried to overlook the Cardinal’s actions and comments, but this has now become impossible in light of his curt words to Mr. Siciliano and New York City’s homeless LGBT youth. It has been a great honor to serve Catholic Charities and to be a voice for the organization in my social circles as well as through my writing and online activities, so it is with a heavy heart that I make this decision and submit this resignation.

I submit this resignation with great respect for Catholic Charities and with hopes that one day the vision of peace and love that Christ promised will be realized.

Toward equality,

Joseph Amodeo

Cc: The Rev. James Cruz, Priest-Secretary to Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities

Carl Siciliano, who heads the Ali Forney Center, a homeless shelter dedicated to LGBT youth, wrote to Dolan saying that Dolan’s rhetoric was unacceptable and that he was becoming a “loud and strident voice against the acceptance of LGBT people” which creates “a climate where parents turn on their own children.

Siciliano continued: “As youths find the courage and integrity to be honest about who they are at younger ages, hundreds of thousands are being turned out of their homes and forced to survive alone on the streets by parents who cannot accept having a gay child.”

Dolan refused to accept Siciliano’s accusations, saying they were “not only unfair and unjust, but inflammatory.”

Dolan has, however, continued to make inflated remarks against LGBT rights measures and marriage equality.

The Advocate previously profiled Amodeo at age 19, tipping him as one of their “future gay leaders.

Related Reading:

NYC Congressional Delegation: It Gets Better! (VIDEO)

New York Archbishop Says Gay Marriage will Lead to Incest

Teens Reject ‘Gay Marriage is Like Bestiality’ Talk

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to moriza.


John T.
John T7 years ago

Dolan is on the side of pedophiles. While he was in Wisconsin a 'letter' was planted in The Catholic Herald back in February 2008 calling the children molested in his diocese 'providers of sexual comfort'. The only kind of adult who looks at a child and sees a 'provider of sexual comfort' is a pedophile. The so called letter writer goes on to say that rewarding these providers of sexual comfort monatery damages is wrong because doing so turns them into prostitutes. This kind of twisted logic smacks of Jesuit sophistry. At the altar at St Patrick's on Holy Thursday Dolan offered a plea to God to protect everyone from evil. When Dolan was in Wisconsin and St Louis he quietly moved molesting priests from parish to parish instead of reporting them to the police. Dolan is the evil we from whom we need protection. Beware Wolves In Shepherd's Clothing.

connie h.
connie h.7 years ago

How dare these "churches" whichever denomination they belong to, call themselves followers of Christ. Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" he didn't say, "Love thy neighbor as thyself unless they happen to be gay!" (Or effeminate, in the case of Jesus' time.) And to justify hate by saying the old, Ahh yes, but we would want people to warn us about our "destructive lifestyle" is just plain cowardly and curtails the issue. You don't have to deny gays their rights or treat them like garbage as part of your weird "warning" to them. You can still act like adults and be civil to them. Geez. Jesus would be ashamed of his followers!

Daniel Aldouby
Danield A7 years ago

Religion is not the problem in this world. Each person can find their own way to commune with their deity. The evil is highly organized religion, which twists religious truths as power and control become goals, rather than the promulgation of love, charity, hope, and trust. Those who wield this power have, historically done more damage to civilization, with their dogma, exclusivity, and the damning of The Others Who are Not Saved as We Are. Hypocrites, and hate mongers.

Lauren B.

If religion and religious people start behaving without hypocrisy, at least trying to live what they say their religion aspires to, I will be shocked. All this energy shaming, rejecting, and judging others when they could be living lovingly, simply, accepting others, trying to do good in the world. Instead they are incubating hate.

Sharon Balloch
Sharon Balloch7 years ago

I am a born again Christian but I would not join any church that does not preach the Love that Jesus came and told us to preach. We are to Love God and Love our fellow man. Churches and folks who do not do so are not following Jesus.. they may be following Levi or someone else but they are not following Jesus.
The RCC may not love Joseph, but Jesus does!

Nicole Pauline Sedkowski
Nicole Sedkowski7 years ago

In the words of old school slang, Joseph Amodeo rock on man, rock on!

Ainsley Chalmers
Ainsley Chalmers7 years ago

The catholic church has a right to uphold scripture whether you like it or not. At least the church has the guts to stand up for what it believes is the truth. Any church isn't perfect but together they do a lot of good works/deeds. Worldwide there are over 1 billion catholics and the church has been going for 2,000 years so it must be doing something right otherwise God would have shut it down many years ago. I am a christian but not a catholic.

Rin S.
Rin S7 years ago

I like you, Joseph Amodeo. Probably one of the few decent Catholics the world. And homosexuality leads to incest? How? Straight incest has been a lot more common than gay incest.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

Amen, Mr. Amodeo!

Craig Gosling
Craig Gosling7 years ago

The Church needs more brave Catholics to speak out before it will change. Change is possible because the Church once burned people at the stake for believing the earth was not flat.