Preparing for the Pope

Gay Catholics primed for papal visit

A small group of prominent gay Catholics is holding a press conference, ”A Few Minutes with the Pope,” Thursday, April 10 from 9 to 11 a.m. to address Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington D.C. and New York.

”I think that this Pope because of the many statements that he made when he was the head of the [Congregation of the] Doctrine of the Faith, and also as the Pope, that he has alienated a lot of gay and lesbian people,” says Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministries in Mt. Rainer, Md.

”In 2003 he issued a document against same-sex marriage, he said that children should not be raised in same-sex headed households because that would be violence to the children.”

The event, to be held in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club at 529 14th St. NW, will include the following speakers: Teresa DeCrescenzo, executive director of Los Angeles-based Gay Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS); Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked; Del. Heather Mizeur (D) from Maryland’s Takoma Park/Silver Spring district; and Richard Rodriguez, a social commentator who often contributes to PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

”They’re only going to talk for about five minutes each, saying what they would say to the Pope if they had a chance to meet with him,” says DeBernardo. ”A lot of lesbian and gay Catholics, although they feel alienated by the Pope, still feel welcome by the church.”

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