Bishops must end silence on violence against LGBT youth

Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Roman Catholic organizations that support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families both in the church and in civil society, has released a sign-on statement asking the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to end its silence about violence directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

“Religious leaders from many faiths have been active in speaking out against bullying of LGBT youth for more than a year,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an Equally Blessed partner. “But our Catholic bishops have remained silent.”

“We call on the bishops, who meet in November, to put our church firmly on the side of LGBT youth who have been targeted. When any of us is harmed or tormented, the entire Body of Christ is wounded,” said DeBernardo.

“A statement by the bishops at their November meeting would provide clear direction to Andrew W. Lichtenwalner, the new executive director of the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth who begins work in January 2012,” said Mary Ellen Lopata, co-founder of Fortunate Families, an Equally Blessed partner and ministry for Catholic parents with LGBT children. “This transition provides the bishops and their staff with the opportunity to end the church’s complicity in the silence that has caused agony for so many families.”

Equally Blessed is a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society. Equally Blessed includes four organizations that have spent a combined 112 years working on behalf of LGBT people and their families:  Call to Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry.

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