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US priests question Vatican anti-gay rhetoric

A group of priests in the Rochester Diocese in upstate New York has written an open letter in the hope that church officials will refrain from using pejorative terms such as "deviant" in documents concerning homosexuality.

Rochester diocesan officials said the letter, which they received last Wednesday, carried the signatures of 35 diocesan priests. It used the text of a similar letter written by Chicago priests several weeks earlier.

The letter regretted language used in recent Vatican documents denouncing efforts to legitimize same-sex unions. It called the documents' language "violent and abusive".

The letter also expressed concern that Vatican stances were driving gay and lesbian Catholics from the church.

"In the recent past, individual bishops, bishops' conferences and the Vatican have assumed a tone of such violence and abusiveness toward these sons and daughters of the church, we can no longer remain silent," the letter said.

"Language can destroy or build up," said signatory Fr Joe Marcoux of Rochester's Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Rochester priests sign letter criticizing church language on gays (Catholic News Service 10/2/04)

Priest Protest Vatican Anti-Gay Rhetoric (
An Open Letter to the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the Pastoral Care of Gay and Lesbian Persons (National Catholic Reporter - Chicago Priests 5/1/04)
Diocese of Rochester
Jesuit magazine defends Vatican document opposing gay marriages (Catholic News Service 10/2/04)

12 Feb 2004