Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Response to Archbishop Flynn

A version* of the following letter was published in today’s Star Tribune.


Catholic Church and Gays

There was a time when they worked together

Retired Catholic Archbishop Harry Flynn takes both myself and the Star Tribune to task for “statements and actions attributed” to him in the Nov. 17 article “Gays reject church’s attempts to ‘cure’ them.”

Flynn labels as “pure fabrication” the claim attributed to me that he personally approached the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) in the late-1990s and requested that it be a resource for the archdiocese. I regret such a claim was printed but nevertheless maintain I was misquoted.

I believe what I said was that throughout the 1980s and ’90s CPCSM, an independent grassroots coalition, worked with various parishes and archdiocesan agencies and was approached in 1995 by the archdiocesan Education Administration Office – then called Catholic Education and Formation Ministries (CEFM) – to share its experience and expertise in ministry with gay people in designing and implementing a Safe Schools Initiative for Catholic high schools. A need for competent and compassionate ministry with gay youth in Catholic high schools had been identified by school administrators and brought to the attention of the head of CEFM. Archbishop Flynn was aware that CEFM had approached and was working with CPCSM. This collaboration took place in the mid-late 1990s.

I empathize with Archbishop Flynn’s annoyance at having statements wrongly attributed to him, but I am also disappointed that he did not take this as an opportunity to set the record straight and acknowledge that there was a time when the archdiocese, although not the Archbishop himself, collaborated with CPCSM.

Michael Bayly
Executive Coordinator, CPCSM

* I actually submitted two versions of the same letter to the Star Tribune. One was slightly longer and more detailed (see above) than the other. Perhaps not surprisingly, the paper chose to print the shorter version (which can be viewed here).

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
For the Record


Richard Demma said...

So sorry you have to go through this. How depressing. Previous post was fascinating and uplifting - the commentary on your book, that is. Happy Thanksgiving to an Australian living in the US. We seem to share a common history in our treatment of the aborigines (the US being the more violent, of course). Peace

Michael J. Bayly said...

Thanks, Jayden. And a happy Thanksgiving to you too!



Mareczku said...

I feel sorry about this too. It would be nice if he could have given you a positive acknowledgement. Hoe that you had a nice Thanksgiving. I ate lots of turkey and stuffing. My mom is the best cook. Now I am taking it easy and getting some rest.

Peace & Blessings to you.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi Mark,

Peace and blessings to you too on this Thanksgiving Day.

I also enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner - and probably ate way more than I should have!

Anyway, thanks for your support and friendship via The Wild Reed. Both are greatly appreciated.