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Mark Segal: Your Holiness, it's about your Archbishop

It seems that your Archbishop here in Philadelphia just doesn’t get your mantra of “Who am I to judge,” and your teaching that the Church should reach out and make bridges rather than hurl insults.

Your Holiness:

It seems that your Archbishop here in Philadelphia just doesn't get your mantra of "Who am I to judge," and your teaching that the Church should reach out and make bridges rather than hurl insults.  And lately, your Archbishop seems to be not only out of touch, but is attempting to sabotage the World Meeting of Families, taking place here in Philadelphia this September, an event which many, including me, are thrilled that you will be present.

Consider the headline on the Huffington Post, "Gay Catholics Will Be Silenced During Pope Francis' Philadelphia Visit: Archbishop." Consider this quote from Philadelphia Magazine: "One day before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said that gay people can attend Pope Francis' visit to the city this fall — but only if they don't use it to protest the Catholic Church."  His statements were also a topic of discussion on WPVI-TV's Inside Story on Sunday.

There are two issues I take with the Archbishop's statements.  First, with all due respect, if someone wants to demonstrate, they will find a way to do so.  Second, I have heard of no organized protest being planned against you, but this seems to be your Archbishop, almost asking or suggesting protest simply to stir up controversy.  And now,  the Archbishop has opened that door, but not against you. He's opened it up against himself with his intolerance, spending Church funds to fight LGBT equality, closing schools and churches, and a whole host of other reasons here and in his former archdiocese.  Let's face it. Your Archbishop is not a popular man in your Church or the city.

One more point is the issue of respect.  We in the LGBT community know immediately when someone does not want to show us respect they refer to us as "homosexual."  It's like referring to the African American community as "negroes."  It says that person is disrespectful and out of touch.  I believe in redemption and hope your Archbishop will use the proper term of gay and lesbian, or LGBT.  It would at least show he is trying.  He should take another cue from you, your Holiness: meet with Catholic LGBT families and listen to the problems his views have caused them and their children.  And as I've said to your Archbishop on numerous occasions, I'm available to talk at any time.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter @PhilaGayNews.