Thursday, November 08, 2007


Okay, I now that some Americans still get all bothered by gays and lesbians. Why, I can't quite figure out, but they do.

And lots of religions are at a lather when it comes to what to do with their gay members. Again, why I can't quite figure out, but they do.

However, in the good old USA, land of the free and home of the brave, you'd think folks would be free enough to at least discuss a a book and you'd think the Catholic Church would be at least brave enough to allow it.

You'd be wrong.

In Minneapolis, of all places, a lesbian Catholic and her father (pictured here) were shut out of Church where a book discussion had been scheduled.

The Star Tribune writes that Carol Curoe and her father, Robert, had hoped that their book about their personal struggle to reconcile her being a lesbian with his staunch Roman Catholic faith would be a conduit for healing. It probably is for many, but not for the local archdiocese.

Two weeks ago the Curoes were "uninvited" to appear at St. Francis Cabrini Church to share the story behind "Are There Closets in Heaven?"

“Obviously, we’re disappointed, and we are still trying to understand it,” said Carol Curoe. “Our book, Are There Closets in Heaven? talks about an 82 year-old, life-long Catholic father trying to understand and practice his faith within his Church while also loving his daughter as he does her siblings. Neither our journey, nor writing the book, was an easy task.”

Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the archdiocese said, "We welcome gay and lesbian members into the church, but they have the same rules as heterosexuals" in terms of sexual activity outside of marriage."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone was planning on any sort of sexual activity inside or outside of marriage at the book discussion. Least wise I've certainly never been to a book discussion that got quite that heated.

Ironically as Carol points out there are few Catholics as Catholic as her father, an 82-year-old retired farmer from Bernard, Iowa, south of Dubuque. As he tells it, he didn't have any other option.

"There were two kinds of people in Bernard," he said: "Irish Catholics and German Catholics. When two of them got together, we considered that a mixed marriage."

I mean outside of the fact that Carol is a lesbian, these two are just about as regular a Middle America father and daughter as you can find these days.

Now I would think that the number of true blue or true red Americans out there really and truly feel threatened by a book discussion or by a father-daughter tandem like the Curoes is pretty damn small( Rev. Phelps and his god hate fags bunch aside - gay people really terrify them - it's odd don't you think. I mean have you seen Phelps? Is their a gay man alive who would find him in the least attractive on any score? What's he so scared of anyway. Reminds me of this guy I used to know who considered himself quite the urban liberal. He was sure that gay men at his health club were eyeing him in the shower. To quote the Beatles, "Well I just had to laugh,I saw the photograph").

And now back to the OD story currently in progress...

Then there are those poor warped souls like the author of the blog "A Faithful Rebel" who wrote before the event took place:

"I was quite shocked when I got an email saying, "Father Leo Tibesar cordially requests that you announce this wonderful loving GLBT lecture on your boards, in homilies and in your bulletins and other communication means."

The email goes on to describe how a very scandalous lecture will be given at a Catholic Church in Minneapolis by an openly practicing lesbian who has written a book on her experience along with her supposedly conservative Catholic father who has come to terms with his daughters sexuality."

...the scandal develops even further, as a Catholic Church, which is supposed to be consecrated to the worship of the True God, is to be used as a pulpit from which to preach acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle."

I strongly urge those who read this to spread the word on blogs and by other means to prevent this blasphemy and scandal from taking place in a Catholic Church."

I guess the archdiocese agrees with this nut.

Fortunately many, I would bet most, Catholics do not.

Michael Bayly, executive coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM)said, "The Archdiocese’s decision to ban the Curoes is very sad and misguided.” The Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) is a grassroots, self-supporting, and independent coalition dedicated to promoting ministry to, with, and on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) persons -- primarily of a Roman Catholic background -- and their families and friends.

Retired Catholic bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of Detroit has endorsed the book, noting that father and daughter’s “willingness to share their journey will help break down many barriers of prejudice and discrimination facing the homosexual community.”

Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick, who advocates for ministry to and inclusion of sexual minorities in Catholic life, also has endorsed the book.

Me, just some poor Heeb nabob (as Agnew used to say), I continue to be totally at a loss why so many live in such fear of gays and lesbians. I mean no one is interested in forcing these scardy cat heterosexuals into anything they deem an "abomination" (I just love that word and never get to use it).

With everything there is to be afraid of in this world of ours a book discussion featuring a lesbian and her pop would seem to me, at least, to be pretty near the bottom of the list.

And anyway, again I ask, what about that land of the free and home of the brave stuff. What's that all about?

The following comes from the Advocate.

Gay Book Discussion Halted By Catholic Archdiocese in Minneapolis

A book discussion at a Roman Catholic parish that was to be led by a lesbian Catholic and her father was canceled after objections from the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Carol Curoe of Minneapolis and Robert Curoe of Bernard, Iowa, were to speak at St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church about their book, Are There Closets in Heaven? A Catholic Father and Lesbian Daughter Share Their Story.

But after conservative bloggers were critical and contacted the archdiocese, spokesman Dennis McGrath contacted St. Francis Cabrini and St. Joan of Arc, the church where Carol Curoe, her partner, and their children worship.

The talk went on at a different location: Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ in Minneapolis.

McGrath said he advised St. Francis Cabrini that ''it wasn't a good idea'' and that Archbishop Harry Flynn would not approve of a lesbian who is ''in an actual full sexual relationship'' speaking at a church.

He added: ''We welcome gays and lesbians in the church, and there are many, I'm sure, who go to many of our parishes. But they have to follow the rules ... they cannot be sexually active.''

Michael Bayly, executive director of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, an independent group seeking greater church acceptance for gays and lesbians, called the archdiocese's actions disappointing.

''This understanding of church as an exclusive country club with a set of rules that everyone's got to follow -- I don't think that's reflective of the type of community that Jesus was all about,'' he said.

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