MARCH 20. 1987 / MONTROSE VOICE 25
Bishops to Warn Pope of Gay Protest
By Paula Butturini
VATICAN CITY <UPI)-A group of
American bishops met with Pope John
Paul II Wednesday to brief him on his
upcoming United States trip, which
some clergymen say may spark protests.
As is customary, the Vatican released
no details of what was said during the
private papal audience, which also was
attended by a small group of senior Vatican officials.
A Vatican statement said only that
the meeting was called to discuss plans
for the papal visit and gave "the participants an opportunity to exchange information and views on the pastoral visit
and its potential for fostering the life of
the church in the United States."
U.S. delegates declined to reveal specifics of their talks, but Archbishop
John May of St. Louis said the meeting
Tuesday night May said the group
planned to tell the pope about the possibility of protests during his visit, scheduled for Sept. 10-19.
May, president of the U.S. bishops
conference, said he expected the topic of
possible protests—especially by ga
rights groups in San Francisco—to '
"It would be a real disservice not to,"
May said. "I'm sure we'll discuss how
best to react to possible problems."
Gay rights groups have promised to
protest the papal visit to demonstrate
their dissatisfaction with a Vatican document issued last October that labeled
all homosexual acts "an intrinsic moral
The U.S. delegation is composed of 20
American prelates, including the
bishops of eight of the nine dioceses
John Paul will visit next fall. Bishop
Ernest Unterkoefler of Charleston, S.C.,
could not attend because of a schedule
conflict, the Vatican said.
The group was to meet twice a day
Wednesday and Thursday and once
again early Saturday with Vatican officials involved in organizing the tour.
John Paul was expected to attend only
Wednesday's first session and then
lunch with the group after their meetings ended Saturday.
May said the group had prepared a
slide show for John Paul to accompany
their oral reports but that Vatican officials had asked them to skip the visual
During the tour John Paul will visit
Miami, Columbia, S.C., New Orleans,
San Antonio, Phoenix, Ariz., Los
Angeles, Monterey, Calif., San Francisco and Detroit.
Archbishop Edward McCarthy in
Miami, where the papal visit begins
Sept. 10, said March 15 he would stress
the Florida church's role in helping settle two major waves of Cuban refugees,
plus a minor wave of Haitian refugees.
The bishops were expected to respond
during the trip to criticisms of laxness
in U.S. Catholicism. The rift between
the U.S. church and the Vatican was
apparent this month when the Vatican
condemned all artificial techniques of
conception, such as test-tube babies.
Experts quickly predicted rank-and-file
Catholics would largely ignore the ban.
"I think the Holy See is going to use
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this opportunity in a very helpful way to
discuss what is happening in the United
States," said McCarthy.
McCarthy discounted suggestions
that the Pope's American visit would be
a "disciplinary" one aimed at driving
home the points of fidelity and obedience to the church.
"Now, as a father, he will want to
clear up ambiguities about where he
stands, and he'll sometimes repeat some
church teachings," McCarthy said.
"But I don't imagine him scolding."
The Vatican was criticized last year
when it stripped the Rev. Charles Curran of his right to teach theology at the
Catholic University of America because
of his liberal beliefs on sexual matters.
Last year the Vatican transferred key
powers from Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen to an auxiliary
bishop, for Hunthausen's alleged lack
"The bishops are worried that if Hunthausen was picked off, they might be
too," said the Rev. Richard McCormick,
a theology professor at Notre Dame
"They think maybe the Vatican may
be getting one-sided information. It's
time to respond to that and give a
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