The following letter has been sent to Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops of Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester by the Board of Upstate NY CTA. In it we voice the sentiment of many CTA members that actions by the Bishops of the United States claiming to promote religious liberty do not speak for us. We call for a diversion of personal donations away from the Catholic Communications Campaign and towards a local cause of your choice. Actions such as this should be noted and recognized. For this purpose a suggested statement is attached below the letter. Print, sign and place in the collection.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Archdiocese of New York
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
May 24, 2012
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
The prophetic voice of the Catholic Church is never more compelling than when it speaks of the needs of the poor. It is the selflessness exhibited by Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day and other great servants that has attracted so many to the Catholic Church and its ministries. The eloquent declaration by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of the church’s affirmation of a “seamless garment” of life promoted a message of great idealism and unity for Catholics.
That prophetic voice of affirmation and unity has been lost and smothered by the divisive message of the church hierarchy. It has adopted a voice of condemnation against those who disagree on issues related to contraception, celibacy, homosexuality and the role of women in the church. The latest example of this crusade is the treatment of religious orders of nuns who are dedicated to serving the poor and marginalized in our society. These have become the new target for “reform.” Now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced its “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign to promote religious liberty during the two weeks leading to July 4th. This campaign seems motivated by political concerns designed to protect the institutional church rather than its members and to use its members as a political weapon against its opponents. It will be up to the sisters and the laity to restore the message of the “seamless garment.
“The Fortnight to Freedom is a campaign and voice that many of us choose no longer to support in our politics. Nor will we support it with our contributions.
The USCCB will be sponsoring the Catholic Communications Campaign in May and June, an annual collection in local dioceses and on a national level to promote media initiatives. We – a group of Catholic laity – will not be participating in this campaign. We do not want our funds to be used to promote the message of condemnation by the bishops and maintain institutional liberty while denying freedom of thought and liberty within the church membership.
We urge Catholics, instead, to consider alternate giving during that weekend and donate those contributions to a parish food pantry, Catholic Charities or another charitable program. The message of the church needs to return to the promotion of a “seamless garment of life.” This unbalanced message of condemnation and ostracism of those who disagree is imploding the church from within, and it needs to end.
We believe the USCCB is pushing the envelope with the Fortnight to Freedom, so we are withholding our envelopes and giving, instead, to those most in need.
Ellen and William Halligan (Albany), Steve and Nita Powers (Albany),
Fr. TimTaugher (Binghamton), Mike Toner (Buffalo), Lucille Gervase (Buffalo),
Ellen and Ray Grabb (Rochester), Bob Dugan (Syracuse), Fr. Fred Daley (Syracuse), Mary Ann Dobe (Syracuse), Theresa Zehe (Utica)