I am writing to comment on PGN’s front-page story [“Person of the Year: Cardinal Justin Rigali,” Jan. 2] and picture of the Person of the Year. I am shocked, appalled and offended by our community newspaper’s choice! Especially when you consider the qualifications and achievements of the runners-up! I guess this is PGN’s attempt at shock journalism and maybe an opportunity to “rally the troops” to fight against what I would consider one of the biggest foes of gay rights, Cardinal Rigali and the Catholic Church!
I am a former Catholic who now has freedom from oppression and full acceptance in the Episcopal Church. I ministered for many years in the Catholic Church on the parish and diocesan levels and know fully well from the inside about the double standards, political posturing and hypocrisy, not to mention the hundreds of gay clergy and religious who continue to serve in a church that cannot and will not ever accept and support them for who they are regardless of all the good that they do! Maybe the Person(s) of the Year should have been them: the ones that continue to serve even though they have to do it “in the closet,” so to speak. Considering that we are just a few months after the debacle of Prop. 8 in California, do we really need to continue to draw attention to religious denominations like the Catholics and Mormons, who continue to use the LGBT community to mask their own dysfunction and controversies? I mean, after all, we continue to be scapegoats and used as diversions so that they can continue to run from the law and fight off lawsuits due to the priest pedophilia scandal and the polygamy and child-abuse cases of recent note. Not to mention that this feeds into the homophobia and hate-crime attacks on our community at a time when these types of crimes are on a rise nationwide! I would hope that the editorial staff will print a better explanation (or even a retraction) of why the cardinal was chosen as Person of the Year in next week’s paper. If there was a clarification in this week’s paper, I certainly did not see it. I find it interesting too that the cardinal takes that “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach, which to me is nothing more than sugar-coating lip service! If he really means it, then put your parishioners’ contributing dollars and money where your mouth is and establish an office of ministry to the LGBT community like the Archdiocese of Baltimore did, so that they can truly open a dialogue and minister to the thousands of gay Catholics looking for a lifeline from their church.
I do hope that the LGBT community rallies against this choice and that the opposition to it is overwhelming. Maybe this is the reaction that you had hoped for when you named the head hatemonger of the Catholic Church in the Philadelphia region to be PGN’s choice for Person of the Year?
Jon J. Rania
Rehoboth Beach, Del.