Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D.
Bishop of Brooklyn
313 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, New York 11215
I am writing to officially resign as a member of the Roman Catholic Church. After a long and personal struggle, I came to this arduous decision while witnessing a rather disgusting and disagreeable series of events occurring in the United States at the moment, most recently in the State of Maine.
As you know, the people of Maine voted this week to deny the right for Lesbian and Gay couples to enjoy the same marriage rights as everyone else. A right awarded to them by the elected civilian government of Maine. The Diocese of Portland was very involved in getting parishioners all over the state to the polls to vote down these rights, including an unprecedented movement in the Northern part of the state, where there is a devout Francophone Catholic community. to get undecided voters from the pews to the polls to do, what is it they called it?; God’s Will. A similar vote occurred just one year ago in California. I understand that this is a decision your church agrees with. I will not pretend to understand why. I will merely state that because of we disagree on this issue, I can no longer, with good conscious, remain a member of a group that chooses to accept what I personally see as persecution and bigotry as legitimate belief. On top of that, I can no longer feel right supporting a group that cherry picks when they can enforce their laws.
I notice that you defend your beliefs by quoting the Bible. I understand. I’ve read my Bible like a good Catholic. I know the applicable scripture;
Thou shall not lie with a man as with a woman, this is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22
That’s fine, that is your holy book, and it is your belief that the words in that book are God’s law, but what struck me is while you preach the Bible rejects homosexuality and live by it, you choose to ignore the Bible also states that after childbirth, a woman cannot enter a sanctuary for 33 days;
And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. Leviticus 12:4
Will you support, your Excellency, a bill that would ban a woman from entering a church, synagogue, mosque or any holy site for 33 days after childbirth? Right now, a woman is allowed to go to a holy sanctuary as soon as they wish. This, of course, is an abomination to God as told to us by the very same book of the Bible you use to defend your stance against homosexuality. There it is, in black and white, six chapters earlier.
Anyone who curses his father or mother shall be put to death; since he has cursed his father or mother, he has forfeited his life. Leviticus 20:9
I was under the apparently erroneous impression the Catholic Church opposes capital punishment. There is it, your Excellency, in plain ink, “shall be put to death.” I take it you will support a bill allowing the state of New York to execute children who say vulgar words to their parents?
Do not lacerate the bodies of the dead. Do not tattoo yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:25
When can I expect the church to come out and demand a law be passed banning tattoos? That is clearly God’s will. He even reminds us that it is HIS will in the last sentence, just in case any of us should forget. It cannot be clearer!
On six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be sacred to you as the Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord. Anyone who does work on this day shall be put to death. Exodus 35:2
My mother’s boss requires her to work some Sundays, as the bank she works for is open seven days a week. If I tell her to kill him, will you protect her from being tried and convicted of murder? Will you support a law excusing the murder of an employer who tells his employees to work Sundays? It is God’s will, is it not?
Slaves, male and female, you may indeed posses, providing you buy them from neighboring nations; You may also acquire them from among the foreigners residing with you, and from the families that are with you, who have been born in your land and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness. Leviticus 25:44-46
In these tough economic times your Excellency, slaves would come in handy. Will you fight for God’s will and demand a repeal of the 13th amendment to our nations Constitution that clearly doesn’t allow us to own slaves? This would solve our illegal immigration problem. God must not be pleased to see us contradict his given law, wouldn’t you agree? Do you believe President Lincoln was damned to hell for rebuking the Lord?
It is stunning to see that not only did the Catholic Church not put up a fight against the banning of capital punishment and slavery, they were party to it. The Catholic Church was one of the first major bodies to speak out AGAINST slavery and the Vatican has not performed an execution since 1870. I noticed the church did not excommunicate Leopold II, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, when in 1786; he banned the death penalty, something the church still agreed with at the time. I wonder, your Excellency, if it was perfectly acceptable for the church to ignore God’s will concerning capital punishment and slavery, and in the both cases it was acceptable for the church to change It’s positions on both, why would it be wrong for the church to change its position on homosexuality, and on marriage rights for them? Why is the church allowed to selectively choose which parts of the Bible to ignore and which to enforce? Is there some sort of elected body in the Vatican that does that? Some sort of commission? If so, how do you get put on it? I would stay in the religion if I can make myself a candidate for such a commission. People say I’d make a great politician.
Furthermore, I had been led to believe, in all my years in Catholic school that divorce is very much frowned upon by the Catholic Church. The United States, and the world for that matter, has a divorce epidemic, with nearly half of all marriages ending in one. I wonder, your Excellency, if it so important to “protect the sanctity of marriage,” why is the Catholic Church not spending it’s precious political clout that it appears to have in fighting to outlaw divorce? Why is it that we are asked only to get politically involved and protect the “sanctity of marriage” when it’s lesbians and gays looking to be married? Could it be, possibly, that “protecting the sanctity of marriage” is merely a cover to defend yourself because you know people would be less supportive of your cause if you flat out said “Gays are evil, we must discourage them from being who they are?” Could it be that you only selectively believe what you preach?
I am routinely amazed on how some major critical issues around the world go relatively unnoticed by the church; poverty and hunger in sub-Saharan African, genocide in Darfur, the murder of innocent women in Northern Mexico. Why, is it the Catholic Church considers themselves powerless to tackle these issues, but when it comes to allowing people to have certain rights, suddenly you become a political force? Would Jesus overlook Darfur or Mexico and spend his time and influence fighting against same-sex marriage in Maine?
The Catholic Church is in crisis, I know. There is a shortage of priests. My parish in Queens has that same problem. When once we had a pastor and three associate priests, now we’re lucky to keep even a pastor. Membership is declining; according to the 2009 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, Catholics lost almost 400,000 members in the past year. The numbers of worshippers in the pews are getting smaller and smaller, you know that. It’s happening in Europe as well. I hope, and I pray,
that the next time you sit and ask God why this is occurring, maybe you might see this crisis as a sign from God that the Catholic Church needs to stop living in the past and begin looking to the future.
In the meantime, my faith in the Lord God and in his son Jesus Christ who suffered and died for our sins is unchanged. Jesus taught us to love and God gave us the gift to love. I see that gift exist with my parents and other married heterosexual couples I’ve been exposed to, but I’ve seen the same love exist between two men and two women. God does not make mistakes, and it is definitely not an accident he gave homosexuals the same ability to love, to enjoy love, to suffer from the loss it, that he gave the rest of us. I just do not understand why you would resist attempts to allow that gift to be shared with all of God’s children.
` This is why I am submitting my letter of resignation. To be a dedicated member of a group, you must agree to all the terms and conditions. I cannot agree to this one. Therefore, this is not a group I belong in. I will continue throughout my life to live as I believe Jesus would want, in the image of him. I believe too, your Excellency, that we will meet again, in heaven, when our time on this Earth has ended.