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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Resigning From The Catholic Church

Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D.

Bishop of Brooklyn

313 Prospect Park West

Brooklyn, New York 11215

Your Excellency;

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.

Sincerely Yours;


  1. HappyinVT

    You are the second person I’ve seen who has made this move although the other (an ex-nun, FWIW) will continue to work with the church on social work.

    I hope you find a place that suits your spiritual needs outside the Catholic Church.

  2. fogiv

    …why opposition to LGBT equality based on religious grounds makes no friggin’ sense whatsoever.  Then again, most religious stuff makes no sense.


  3. Steve M

    It’s kinda funny how one of the examples of antiquated Biblical prohibitions that no one would ever dream of following today… is the divine prohibition against tattoos.

    In fact, tattoos are still forbidden by Judaism today.  Reform Judaism is accepting of homosexuality… but not tattoos, those are still off limits according to God!

  4. has credibility problems. The first chapter of Leviticus is strictly about animal sacrifice including detailed instructions on such sacrifices. Of course, Biblical apologists will say that Jesus changed all that.

    The second chapter is about food offerings. This chapter shows the true nature of religion.

    2And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:

    3And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.

    The third and fourth chapters are a continuation of instructions for animal sacrifice.

    The fifth chapter through the eighth all deal with sacrifice and confirming the role of Aaron and his sons as priests.

    Things begin to get interesting in the ninth and tenth chapters. There is a story hidden here that many people do not see until it is pointed out to them.

    Leviticus 9:24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

    Then in chapter 10 something strange happens.

    1And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

    2And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

    What I take this to mean is that the special chemicals they used to create the fire were pretty unstable. They were probably mixing up a new batch to impress the yokels when it ignited and burnt them to death. The priests wouldn’t have been able to call it an accident without admitting what they were doing, so they claimed God killed them for offending Him.

    Chapter 11 deals with dietary restrictions. I’ll bet a lot of Southern Christians would be surprised to know that eating catfish is forbidden along with all manners of shellfish and eels.

    And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

    Oh yeah, don’t forget, no more turtle soup or escargot.

    Chapter 12 is the one where we find that women are unclean for a set period after giving birth. Were you aware that a woman who gives birth to a female child is twice as unclean as one that gives birth to a male child?

    2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

    3And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

    4And 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.

    5But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.

  5. I wonder how many social conservatives who are motivated by religion pay attention to these passages?

    Leviticus 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. (Welfare)

    Leviticus 19:14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD. (Health Care)

    Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD. (Death Panels!!!!1!)

    Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. (Racism and anti-gay attitudes)

    Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Real Americans as opposed to Unreal(?) Americans)

    And, of course, there is something about immigrants that is completely ignored by the rabid Christian nationalists.

    Leviticus 19:33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.

    Leviticus 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

  6. Jjc2008

    You are in good company.  I went to catholic school, the very strict version of the 1950’s and 1960’s; the version of “Do your patent leather shoes reflect up?”  humor.  

    I remember begging my poor mother who worked in a textile factory all week, not to do “servile work” on Sundays.  I feared, as a little girl, my parents (who were not so into the church other than letting us go to the schools as all our neighborhood did because the church paid tuition) would burn in hell.

    I had nightmares about “commie atheists” coming to my house, holding a knife to my neck and demanding I reject Jesus less he will kill me and my whole family.

    But then something happened.  Suddenly, I developed thinking skills on my own, somewhere in high school.  I started to silently question things I knew on some level, had to be wrong.   Why for example, would God say (as some priest told us in Retreat), that sins of sex were twice as bad in the eyes of God for girls than for boys.  I was only fourteen, my parents were apolitical, but already I knew these things:

    ****I, a female, was not allowed to play my favorite sport, baseball as a little girl, no matter how good I was.

    ****I, as a female, was not allowed to go to the camp, provided as courtesy to the children of policeman (who were poorly paid back then) so my male cousin got to take my place.

    I could list many more things but most of you know what it was like for females in the 1950s.  

    In my mind, any God who was so unfair was not someone I wanted to spend eternity with!!

    As well, I knew it was the women (volunteers) who did the most in the church: cleaned the rectory; cleaned the church; brought the flowers; decorated for pageants; cooked for the priests, etc etc etc.  And yet it was the men who were supposedly “closer to God.”  We, females, were not even allowed to go on to the alter back then.  We did all the work, but had the least access.  Screw that!!!

    Anyway, it took me another few years, through college, through the 1960s to finally lose my fear of being struck by lightening, to say “NO, I will not be a part of this paternalistic, sexist, intolerant organization.”   I thought at one time, during the peace marches, and the marches against segregation, poverty, that the church was changing for the better.   But somehow, it stopped and headed back to the right wing, and imo, has become less and less about the teachings of Christ and more and more about “sinners in the hands of an Angry God”, more and more sexist, more and more intolerant.

    Gay citizens are not soon to be tolerated by the “Christian” right and sadly the Catholic Church is looking more and more like it fits right in with the Falwell, Dobson mentality.

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