Father, lesbian daughter prohibited from speaking at Catholic church


The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis has prohibited a father and his lesbian daughter from giving a talk Monday night at a Minneapolis church.

Robert and Carol Curoe were scheduled to give a talk about their book, “Are There Closets in Heaven? A Catholic Father and Lesbian Daughter Share Their Story,” about a Catholic family coming to terms with their daughter’s coming out. The announcement of the talk several weeks ago spawned discussion on Catholic blogs, and according to the archdiocese statement to the church, “the number and intensity” of phone calls and emails opposing the event led the archdiocese to ban the event.

The Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) and Catholic Rainbow Parents had sponsored the talk at St. Frances Cabrini Church. “Obviously, we’re disappointed, and we are still trying to understand it,” said Carol Curoe in a statement Sunday. “Our book, Are There Closets in Heaven? talks about an 82 year-old, life-long Catholic father trying to understand and practice his faith within his church while also loving his daughter as he does her siblings. Neither our journey, nor writing the book, was an easy task.”

Dennis McGrath, spokester for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, said that because of Curoe’s active lesbian lifestyle and the related content in the book, “the parish was asked not to hold the event.” McGrath said, “We welcome gay and lesbian members into the church, but they have the same rules of the road as heterosexuals.” Those rules dictate that there will be no sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage, he said.

Since Curoe and her book discuss Curoe’s family, notably her partner Susan and their child, “We cannot allow that message to be heard in the parish. It’s antithetical to our beliefs and our doctrine,” he said.

“Though disappointing, the banning of the Curoes is not altogether surprising – especially given the climate of fear and intimidation that has steadily increased throughout the church over the past few years,” said Michel Bayly, executive coordinator of CPCSM, a group that serves as a resource for LGBT Catholics and their families.

The book chronicles conversation between father, Robert, and daughter, Carol. “Are There Closets in Heaven? lets us experience the real lives behind debates taking place in today’s media on same-sex marriage, constitutional amendments, gays and lesbians raising children, and religion,” an invitation to the talk says. “When she came out to her parents in 1990, their response was one of shock. They were from a small, conservative, Irish Catholic farming community in eastern Iowa, and were totally unprepared to deal with their daughter’s ‘coming out’ as lesbian.”

One blogger took issue with the talk, calling it a “scandal” within the church. “This whole thing is a disgrace,” wrote “Aristotle,” author of the blog A Faithful Rebel. “Such an event has no business taking place in a Catholic Church. Ms. Curoe opposes Catholic teaching, and she admits openly that she attends a Catholic Church only because it accepts her degenerate lifestyle.”

“Aristotle” continued, “I strongly urge those who read this to spread the word on blogs and by other means to prevent this blasphemy and scandal from taking place in a Catholic Church.”

“The archdiocese’s decision to ban the Curoes is very sad and misguided.” Bayly said. “This whole incident has reaffirmed our commitment to help build spaces of safety and respect within the church for gay people,” he said.

Instead of St. Frances Cabrini Church, the Curoes will speak at the House of the Beloved Disciple located at 2930 13th Ave. S., Minneapolis on Monday, October 22, at 8:00 p.m.