NEW YORK - A day before Easter, the head of New York’s Roman Catholic archdiocese faced a challenge to his stance on gay rights: the resignation of a church charity board member who says he’s “had enough’’ of the cardinal’s attitude.
Joseph Amodeo said Saturday that he quit the junior board of the city’s Catholic Charities after Cardinal Timothy Dolan failed to respond to a “call for help’’ for homeless youths who are not heterosexual.
“As someone who believes in the message of love enshrined in the teachings of Christ, I find it disheartening that a man of God would refuse to extend a pastoral arm’’ to such youths, Amodeo said in his letter to the charitable organization last Tuesday.
Phone and e-mail requests from the Associated Press for comment from the archdiocese were not immediately answered on Saturday.
The conflict started with a letter to Dolan from Carl Siciliano, founder of the nonprofit Ali Forney Center that offers emergency services to homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people.
He said the cardinal’s “loud and strident voice against the acceptance of LGBT people’’ creates “a climate where parents turn on their own children.’’
“As youths find the courage and integrity to be honest about who they are at younger ages, hundreds of thousands are being turned out of their homes and forced to survive alone on the streets by parents who cannot accept having a gay child,’’ Siciliano wrote in his letter, sent last week.
Siciliano, who is Catholic, said parents who are strongly religious are much more likely to reject children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Of the nation’s homeless youths, as many as 40 percent fall into those groups, studies show.
Siciliano received a response from the cardinal in a letter dated March 28.
“For you to make the allegations and insinuations you do in your letter based on my adherence to the clear teachings of the church is not only unfair and unjust, but inflammatory,’’ Dolan wrote. “Neither I nor anyone in the church would ever tolerate hatred of or prejudice towards any of the Lord’s children.’’
The response prompted Amodeo to quit the board, said the 24-year-old gay Catholic.