Maryland Cardinal Mandates That Marriage Discrimination Letter Be Read Aloud at Mass

Is it just me, or are these news items becoming a daily occurrence?

Here's the latest, courtesy of popular LGBT blog Joe.My.God: The office of Baltimore Cardinal Edwin O'Brien required that a pro-marriage-discrimination letter authored by the cardinal himself be read aloud at Mass this past weekend as part of a petition drive to collect the signatures needed to ensure that a statewide referendum to overturn Maryland's new marriage equality law makes it onto the ballot in November.

The cardinal addressed Catholics directly in the letter: "Today after Mass, you will have the opportunity to sign this petition, and I strongly encourage you to do so." Later, he falls back on the anti-LGBT fear mongering that seems to have become a number-one priority for Catholic leaders, saying that the "Church's understanding about marriage" is being "deeply threatened" by the specter of marriage equality. (Funny, I thought the only thing being threatened by marriage equality was the ability of churches to write their religious dogmas into civil law, but I must have missed something...)

And just in case there were any rogue priests who might have preferred not to use Mass as a pretext to stir up division and hatred against LGBT people, or who simply wished to respect the consciences of the 71 percent of Catholics who support marriage equality, the heading on the cardinal's letter left no room for interpretation: "To be read at Masses the weekend of the petition drive."

That was not a request; it was an order.