Hi! We are the Duddy-Burkes: Becky, Emily, Fini, and Marianne, and we’re excited to be part of the Equally Blessed World Meeting of Families Pilgrimage.
Becky and Marianne are a married lesbian couple. We live in Boston, Massachusetts and are active members of the Dignity/Boston Catholic community. We met at Easter Sunday liturgy (how Catholic is that?!) in 1994. We quickly discovered that we shared a connection to the Sisters of Mercy, and a love for Mercy spirituality. During our more than 20 years together, this commitment to the disenfranchised, especially women and children, has been an important cornerstone of our relationship. It has guided Becky’s work with elders, imprisoned people, and people with chronic mental illness, and fueled Marianne’s decades-long commitment to volunteer and professional service on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics through DignityUSA. Perhaps most importantly, it led to our decision to adopt our two daughters, who came to us through our state foster care system. Emily was a 10-month old infant when she came into our home, and Fini joined our family just before her fifth birthday. They are now 13 and 11, and are happy, healthy, loving, generous kids.
We feel called to attend the World Meeting of Families on behalf of all of the families formed by same-sex couples, especially those formed by adoption. There are numerous barriers to adoption that lesbian and gay couples face, many of which are created or supported by Church officials. Pope John Paul II even said that allowing children to be raised by same-sex couples is doing violence to those children. Our bishops continue to refuse to place children in the care of Catholic Charities with qualified LGBT parents, denying already traumatized kids the stability of safe and loving homes offered by folks like us. We’d love to show Pope Francis and other Church officials why this is so wrong. In the long term, we would hope to help end this practice, and let Church leaders know that LGBT people often have the intentionality, commitment and support communities that children need in order to thrive.
It’s important that families like ours are represented in settings like the World Meeting of Families so it is clear to all that we are part of the Catholic community. We want to share with others how we try to pass the essential values and traditions of our faith on to our children. We also want to bring awareness to how certain teachings and practices create stumbling blocks for us. We are looking forward to being part of a gathering of Catholic families from all over the world, and learning about how these families practice their faith.