Nicholas Coppola, the gay Catholic man who was removed from his volunteer ministerial responsibilities at his Long Island parish after marrying his longtime partner, delivered a petition calling for his reinstatement to his bishop. In less than a week, the petition garnered over 18,000 signatures.
Despite the enormous public support, the office of communications for the diocese of Rockville Centre released a statement yesterday explaining that they will not allow Coppola to serve.
"Well settled Church teaching recognizes marriage to be the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, holy and loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. Regardless of civil pronouncements, this definition does not, and indeed cannot, change in the eyes of the Church because it is rooted in biological teleology and natural law. Others may disagree but they have no justification to prevent the Church from living according to her teaching and protecting that teaching and the lives of faithful Catholics from those who would disregard it. Regardless of contrary opinion or even civil legislation, the Church must be faithful to her teaching and consistent and coherent living out that teaching."
In one bright spot, the leadership of St. Vincent de Paul, where Nicholas has worked for the last three years, has allowed him to continue volunteering with them. St. Vincent de Paul is a parish-driven program, run by the laity. Most of Nicholas' work involved visiting people in Oceanside who find themselves in difficult circumstances
GLAAD continues to work with Coppola in his effort to return to the full life of the Catholic Church despite the hierarchy's resistance. Ross Murray, Director of News and Faith Initiatives, stated, "The Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to ignore the overwhelming support for LGBT people that exists within the Roman Catholic Church. By refusing to meet with Nicholas, Bishop Murphy demonstrated that he is not interested in the pastoral care of his own members, but in punishing those who don't support the hierarchy's agenda of exclusion."