The pro-Obama group Catholics United decided last week to take another step to deliver a petition signed by some 5,000 people to the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, but its fate remains uncertain. The petition requests that the archdiocese allow the enrollment of children from gay couples in Catholic schools without any limitations or vetting process.
Catholics United announced a petition drive two weeks ago that demanded Cardinal O'Malley "not to allow discrimination in his Catholic schools on the basis of the lifestyles of students' parents."
The group announced that the petition was delivered almost immediately after St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham, Mass. denied admission to an 8-year-old boy being raised by a lesbian couple.
But despite the public announcement of the delivery, the official archdiocesan newspaper The Pilot reported that the Catholics United petition never reached the archdiocese.
After the non-delivery was made public, Catholics United, which is based in Washington D.C., requested three of its members living in Boston (Joe Betz, Phil George and Larry Kessler) to personally deliver the signatures to the archdiocesan offices and take pictures of themselves at the entrance of Boston’s pastoral center.
In a press release sent to CNA, James Salt said that Catholics United members expressed their concerns “to an archdiocesan canon lawyer, who agreed to present the petition to Cardinal O'Malley on their behalf.”
Salt sent the press release to CNA from a Blackberry “powered by CREDO Mobile,” a company that trumpets its support for progressive causes and has donated over 65 million dollars to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace.
The statement added that Catholics United "will continue to circulate its petition until the archdiocese adopts a clear non-discrimination policy for its Catholic schools."
Nevertheless, the effectiveness of Catholics United's pressure campaign remains in doubt.
Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications of the Archdiocese of Boston, informed CNA on May 28 that he is in possession of the petition to Cardinal O'Malley.
In response to a question about what influence the petition might have on the forthcoming policy, Donilon said that “the recent statements by the Cardinal and Dr. Grassa O’Neill addressing the matter noted that we expect a policy to be established in the near term in order to provide guidance for pastors and schools going forward.”
“We hope to be able to report on the progress of this effort in the weeks ahead.”