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Gay Groups Protest at St. Patrick’s

April 28, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Nearly 100 gay activists gathered outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday to protest church leaders’ handling of the sex abuse scandal.

Protesters said they were spurred on by Monsignor Eugene Clark’s comments during Mass on April 28, when he reportedly labeled homosexuality ``a disorder″ and said that admitting gay students into seminaries was a ``grave mistake.″

Clark has since said that his homily was misinterpreted and that he did not associate homosexuals with the illness of pedophilia or imply that they, collectively or individually, were guilty of any crime.

But protesters called Clark’s comments an example of church leaders trying to deflect criticism away from themselves.

``I think this is a very calculated, orchestrated campaign to shift the blame of this public relations and moral disaster onto gay people,″ said Matt Foreman, a protest organizer. ``But this type of abuse has nothing to do with one’s sexuality, and this is simply playing to people’s worst stereotypes.″

Inside St. Patrick’s, Bishop William McCormack did not comment on the issue of abuse during Mass.

Joe Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, had no comment on the demonstration. Earlier in the week he said Clark’s comments were his own and did not represent the views of the church.

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