Ironically, I sent the following letter to the President of Assumption College on the same day Pope Benedict announced his resignation:
February 11, 2013
Mr. Francesco Cesareo
500 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Dear Mr. Cesareo,
It's ironic that Pope Benedict announced his resignation today given the purpose of my letter, which, were it not for Nemo, would have already been sent off to you. Regardless, I believe the purpose of this letter is still meaningful and speaks to a bigger issue.
I received an MBA from Assumption College in the spring of 1993, and it is with absolute clarity that I formally renounce my Assumption MBA. Based on Pope Benedict's recent egregious accusations about gay people and gay marriage, I can no longer have any affiliation in my life to the Catholic Church. I feel it is important to explain my reasons.
You should note that I am a woman married to a woman. Together we are raising four truly exceptional children, who are accountable and driven by kind, compassionate hearts.
I don't have any religion in my life, but I am spiritual and highly respectful of the diversity of religions that exists on our planet. My personal philosophy mirrors that of the Dalai Lama, who once said, "This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
Because I value the diversity of religions and the importance of education around it, I sent my children to St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts. St. Mark's is a faith-inclusive school with Episcopalian roots. At St. Mark's, my children were educated about all major religions, and it was always taught under an umbrella of respect and appreciation. As a result of this, they, too, respect and value the diversity of religions around the world.Recently, Pope Benedict has made some outrageous claims about gay people and gay marriage. I actually believe the pope has love in his heart, and that his comments are simply rooted in pure ignorance. A few of the more alarming accusations made by the pope recently include:
- Gay people are eschewing their God-given gender identities to suit their sexual choices -- and destroying the very essence of human creatures in the process.
- Gay marriage is a threat to world peace.
- Gay marriage threatens what the Church considers to be the bedrock of society: a family based on a man, a woman and their children.
Stereotyping is always a bad thing. It never reflects the truth, and often represents only the beliefs of a small group of people. The Catholic Church should know this well. Are all priests pedophiles? I certainly don't think so. Are all Catholics hypocrites? That's not my perspective. Are all Muslims terrorists? Certainly not. Are all Irish drunks? Nope. Are all politicians crooks? No, they are not. I could go on for days listing stereotypes, and in no instance does the stereotype accurately reflect the group of people it was hurled at. Stereotyping is rarely rooted in love and is never intended to spread happiness. If that's the case, why would the pope preach such incorrect information?
Let me tell you a little bit about my family and myself. I believe my purpose in life is to spread happiness, particularly to those in need. My every action is driven by my heart and by my desire to help people. I have a special soft spot in my heart for the homeless, the intellectually disabled and people working minimum-wage jobs. They are the true underdogs in society. My favorite thing to do is to find someone who looks as if they could use a break and to help them in some surprising, life-altering way. It is a remarkably rewarding experience that usually provides hope and happiness in the direst of circumstances. Am I destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society? Absolutely not.
My wife and I own a public relations and social media agency in Boston. In the 10 years the agency has existed, we have never had a goal that was financially driven. The business has had one goal every year, and that is to maximize employee and client happiness. Our employees know that their families should unequivocally be their top priority. That means that the employee who has a child who battled cancer can make every doctor's appointment a priority and not worry about job security. That means that the employee who has an autistic child can make him the priority and not be concerned with what that means to her job. That means that the employee who has suffered numerous miscarriages and is now successfully carrying a child with medical challenges can make the baby her priority and know we support her 100 percent. That means that the employee who has a dad dealing with Alzheimer's and numerous other medical conditions can make him the priority without worrying about losing her job. Are my wife and I destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society? Absolutely not.
My daughter graduated magna cum laude last year from The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. I am incredibly proud of her, and she embodies all the attributes you would want in a human being. She is kind, compassionate, fun, respectful and accountable. Unfortunately, not long ago, she was knocked unconscious by a group of men in a hate crime. While the pope's fist may not have been attached to the arm that coldcocked her in the back of the head, his anti-gay rhetoric and accusations fuel the fire of the men who did attack her. Is my daughter destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society? Absolutely not.
My oldest son is a junior at Johns Hopkins University. He is studying chemical and biomolecular engineering. He is a mentor through the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He does cancer research in a lab on campus, and he tutors freshmen. In spite of an extraordinary workload, he is a dean's-list student. Is my oldest son destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society? Absolutely not.
My second son is a sophomore at the University of Delaware. He is majoring in nursing and hopes to work as a pediatric nurse some day. He loves children and has a true gift for connecting with them. I would imagine he would bring much-needed comfort to many parents and their children during unimaginably difficult times in their lives. Is my son destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society? Absolutely not.
My youngest son is 10 years old. He is an incredibly compassionate young man and would be the first to stand up for someone being bullied. He recently shaved his head as part of a cancer fundraiser to support a friend's mom, who is terminally ill. Is my youngest son destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society? Absolutely not.
I don't share these stories with you to seek your approval. I share these stories about my family to amplify the absurdity of Pope Benedict's accusations. He cannot stereotype an entire group of people. It's unfair, unsubstantiated and irrational. I would love to hear the pope speak to the specific details regarding how he thinks my family and other same-sex families are destroying the essence of humanity, threatening world peace and threatening the bedrock of society. How exactly does he support such a preposterous claim? What does he think we are doing?
The pope is out of touch with the majority of Catholics. The Catholic Church is bleeding people for many reasons -- and its anti-gay rhetoric is one of the biggest. The majority of those who haven't yet left the Church disagree with the pope's stance on gay people and gay marriage. The pope has put these Catholics in an embarrassing situation by preaching biased, unfounded accusations about people they love. One can only pray that the pope's departure acts as a catalyst for positive change within the Vatican and the entire Catholic Church.
While I respect each person's individual religious beliefs, I can no longer have any affiliation in my life to the Catholic Church. For that reason, I respectfully renounce my MBA from Assumption College.