Bishop: Catholics share blame for Orlando


There is no tip toeing around this.

It’s time to be blunt.

Early Sunday morning, 49 of our fellow Americans were killed by a purportedly gay, radical Islamist, who pledged allegiance to ISIS. The killer scoped several locations for his heinous crime, including Disney World where tens of thousands of families visit every day. He ultimately committed his crime at a gay night club.

Shamefully, in the days since the massacre, partisan ideologues have used the mass-murder to demonize Christians, gun owners, and anyone who doesn’t fully embrace the radical LGBT agenda.

…and it’s not just the ACLU.

Several of our own Bishops are engaging in this madness.

This is disgraceful. And wrong.

Every person killed in Orlando was made in the image and likeness of God. Human dignity does not stop at the doorstep of a gay night club. Each of the victims was loved by God beyond measure.

Not a single Catholic has celebrated this crime. Not one Catholic voice has called for violence against gay and lesbian people. But now, an increasing number of leaders are attempting to exploit the terrorist attack in Orlando to advance political agendas — and they are even blaming us!

Don’t believe me? Consider just these few examples:

  • Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, wrote in a national editorial: “sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.” Link.
  • A New York Times editorial today: “…lawmakers who have actively championed discriminatory laws and policies, and those who have quietly enabled them with votes, should force themselves to read the obituaries and look at the photos. The 49 people killed in Orlando were victims of a terrorist attack. But they also need to be remembered as casualties of a society where hate has deep roots.” Link.
  • Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project: “The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No. You know what is gross – your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate.” Link.
  • Virginia Congressman Don Beyer claimed if you oppose transgender bathrooms, you are part of the problem. “Hatred breeds hatred… we are not blameless.” he said. Link.

Did you get that? You and I are partly to blame for Orlando.

Catholics who believe in the natural institution of marriage and the intrinsic beauty and complementarity of men and women, and who desire to protect women and children from predators in public restrooms helped fuel this terrorist attack? This is outrageous.

This is nothing more than the shameless exploitation of a terrible terrorist attack to fuel hatred of anyone that believes in the time-honored institution of marriage, and traditional sexual morality.

What happened in Orlando was an act of terrorism, fueled by a radical ideology and carried out by a mad man. To suggest that faithful Catholics helped encourage this attack is beyond disgraceful.

We will not stand for it. And neither should you.

I am asking every CV member to write or call Bishop Lynch in St. Petersburg today.

Ask him to clarify his comments, which suggest that Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality somehow “breeds contempt for gays.” Ask him to consider issuing a public clarification.


Bishop Robert Lynch
Diocese of St. Petersburg
P.O. Box 40200
St. Petersburg, FL 33743-0200
Phone: 727-344-1611
Fax: 727-345-2143

Please do not personally attack the Bishop. He remains a shepherd of the Church. However, we must defend our rights as Catholics to follow the teachings of our Church — and respond together to the insinuation that doing so leads to violence.

We ask you to be charitable, but firm.

Someone has to stand up.

If not us, who?

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author is a lay-led movement of committed Catholics who are passionate about living out the truths proclaimed by Christ and His Church in the modern world. We are joined in this mission by many individuals of other faith traditions (and no faith tradition) because the common good we seek is universal to all men and women of goodwill. As patriotic Americans, we believe that life, faith, and freedom are precious rights, and that the family is the foundational unit of society.


  1. Jane Johnson on

    Bishop Lynch, I would like to see you restate your message saying Catholics are to blame for the crime in Orlando. Please clarify just what you meant. It was a Muslim man who commited the crime. How does the Catholic faith have anything to do with it. I myself, am tired of Catholics being blamed for so many things. Is it a crime to stand up for your faith?

    Please reconsider your statement.

    • Gregory Barrett on

      I read the Bishop’s comment, Chris. I do not know him or his history, which would certainly colour the reception of his comments here. What I find in his comments here are a basically sound perspective with an unfortunate emphasis. One point that does need clarification, however, stems from his statement, “…Muslim community in our nation, who have acted in unanimity to deplore this act of violence and to reject hatred rooted in a distortion of Muslim faith.” What we need to understand, beyond the fact that Islam is perfectly content to play the optics game, is that Islam considers Judaism and Christianity to be a distortion of Muslim faith. According to Islam, there was no fall, there is no original sin, the revelations to Moses, the intervening prophets, and Jesus were expressions of Islam before the arrival of its final and greatest prophet. These revelations, according to Islam, were consciously and intentionally distorted by apostate Muslims who left the world with corrupt versions of Islam which have come to be known as Judaism and Christianity. These distortions, according to Islam, were corrected by the revelation to the last and greatest prophet of Islam, who commanded his followers to purify the true faith from the distortions left by the corrupt apostates, which distortions we call Judaism and Christianity. Muslim apologists, therefore, are perfectly content to say that they have always considered themselves Jews, and reject hatred based in a distortion of Muslim faith. We need to understand, however, that this does not constitute any of respect for Judaism and Christianity, a communal examination of conscience with respect to fomenting hatred for the kafir (detestable non-Muslim) or a modification of Islam. Islam remains an existential threat to everything that is not Islam, including Judaism, Christianity, and Western society.

  2. Ryan DellaCrosse on

    Talk about tip toeing

    Author:Catholic Vote

    The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of

    Grow some will ya?!?

    • Joshua Mercer on

      Ryan, that’s a default disclosure we add to every blog post. We do this to make sure people realize some times a blogger’s specific views not be the official position of CatholicVote.

      For this specific article, it does represent the official view of CatholicVote.

      • Catherin Lockett on

        Why post it on your site then? You’re throwing a match into a room full of gasoline then saying “oh it wasn’t us.”

      • robert sullivan on

        I believe you prioritize the Republican party over the Catholic Church. I doubt Christ would recognize you as a follower of his.You have aligned yourself with the money changers he drove out of the temple.

  3. *my letter, emailed to the Bishop*

    Dear Bishop Robert Lynch,

    Thank you for your priestly service as shepherd of the Church of Christ. A fellow Catholic shared with me your statement on the tragedy at the gay club in Orlando. Your re-affirmation of the Church’s teaching that all humans are made in the image and likeness of God along with your prayers for the salvation of the departed provide hope and reassurance in the face of so terrible a tragedy.

    However, I was shocked and saddened by your comment “it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.”

    Your excellency, the Catholic Church has always been adamant in defending the dignity of all, calling for those with homosexual desires to “be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (CCC 2358). Your comments undermine the Church’s long-standing teaching of charity and compassion, instead implying that the Church is “anti-gay”, “intolerant”, and “homophobic” as the media would paint us.

    In the history of the Church, have fallen, sinful members acted with contempt towards LGBT men and women? Yes. But Catholics as a whole are not sowing contempt and hatred towards gays and lesbians. Even less so is the Church guilty of these charges because of her teaching the true nature of marriage.

    Please consider that intentional or not, your comments falsely tarnish the reputation of the Church, somehow suggesting the Body of Christ is in part to blame for this massacre. Please consider a public clarification of your comment which suggests that Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality somehow “breeds contempt for gays.”

    Respectfully yours in Christ,

    • Elizabeth, your statement “the Catholic Church has always been adamant in defending the dignity of all, calling for those with homosexual desires to “be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” does not accurately reflect Catholic history. As late as 2013 Pope Francis welcomed Gays into the church with “respect”.

      When I grew up in the 50s and 60s there was no tolerance for “fagots” or “queers”. The homosexual atrocities from the Catholic clergy had broad effect on homosexuals in general. In other words… Gays lost ground because of the cover up of the clergy.

      • Gays were in the Church before Pope Francis ever mentioned them.

        Societal tolerance for gays when you grew up reflects social mores of the time. The Church never taught anything different about how your fellow man is to be treated then.

        Are you positing here that “homosexual atrocities from the Catholic clergy” were made more atrocious by the coverups? That seems a stretch. The acts stand alone as atrocious, yes?

        • Robert Lynch is my Bishop and I am trying to understand his current position.
          Is he accepting the fact that homosexuals are born that way and should not be disowned or alienated? That view is in direct contrast to former Congresswoman Michelle Bachman’s “pray the Gay away”, a slogan that she uses at her “clinic” in Minnesota where she and her husband Evangelist Marcus practice a form of “exorcism” on their “clients” with hopes of recovering their souls. What religions seem to accept the Gay individuals? Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian and the Jewish faiths. Some faiths even ordain clergy who are openly Gay. To make matters more challenging; some faiths go so far as to ordain openly lesbian women. If one is openly Gay he cannot become a Catholic Priest. That would presume a number of “closeted” clergy who were, and may still be active in the pedophile cover-up.

  4. Tammy Schneider on

    The Muslim community / religion doesn’t promote violence and I am sure that they are just as sickened that their religion is getting blamed for this as we are. These attacks are fueled by Satan and hatred and all the victims were innocent bystanders at the wrong place at the wrong time. I agree with the author we are all God’s children in his likeness and none deserved to die. Everyone needs to quit pointing fingers and blame and start embracing each other as human beings. Love one another as I have loved you.

    • Gregory Barrett on

      You have an interesting choice of words, Tammy. Which Muslim community to which you refer is not clear. Like Protestantism, there are many strains of Muslim communities, some of which do not promote violence, others of which actively pursue it. Inasmuch as Muslims are engaged in what we in the West would recognise as religious activity, the Muslim religion, or strains of it, does not promote violence. Islam, however, is more than its expression in individual communities or elements of religious activity. Islam is a set of ideas comprising a complete civilization which actively works for the overthrow of all alternative civilizations. These attacks certainly are fuelled by Satan and hatred. The claim that the victims were either innocent or bystanders is presumptuous. Those who are reborn by baptism thereby become God’s children; in any case, none deserved this death. Telling people who are rightly disturbed by the manifold and manifest injustice perpetrated here that they are wrong to apportion blame is simply adding more blame, in this case unjustified. A rabbit might embrace a fox, but it is not in its best interest to do so. Our enemies delight in the prospect of our being easy victims. They will not cease to be our enemies simply because we fail to defend ourselves. There is no fault but rather great need to recognise the enemy and treat it as such. The same Jesus who commanded self-sacrificial love for fellow Christians commanded preparing for armed conflict.

  5. Susan Melkus on

    Your Excellency,

    I was saddened and disappointed to read that a shepherd of God’s people, blames the Church and faithful Catholics for the shooting at the LGBT nightclub. I have no hatred in my heart for any person, no matter what they’re lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean I have to tolerate their sinful choices. That said, I would never condone an act of violence such as occurred there. The Muslim and apparently gay shooter is to blame for his choice. Period. I will not be silent when accused by any one, no matter their office, that I am somehow responsible for this crime. I am not. I pray for all people and harbor no hate for anyone.

    Please restate your message as it has not helped things at all.

    Thank you.

  6. While I will not personally attack Bp. Lynch in any correspondence, it won’t be because he “remains a shepherd of the Church.”

    He isn’t a “shepherd of the Church” if he believes that adherence to Her teachings leads to evil.

  7. Irene Swanson on

    I do not accept Bishop Lynch’s assessent of Catholic blame. Sorry. No. I don’t know of a single Catholic that has spewed any kind of hate either by word or deed towards anyone who does not follow Church doctrine. Not pro-choicers including abortionists, or gay or trans, or whatever. Speaking the truth in love, living the truth in love is not hate speech. This tragedy is not an opportunity to take advantage of to denigrate Church teaching or bash Christians in general. Sorry. Don’t go there Bishop. Rather, speak to the Muslims.

  8. My letter to the Bishop:
    My son is gay and we have been Catholics, I play a role in my church we have all our lives and you don’t know how much I pray and cry that he be welcome in our Catholic Church. For him not to be looked at up and down like he is a Leper. What does a gay guy look like? To answer that question is crazy because we all are human beings! We all have two arms, two legs and so forth if we are lucky to have all our parts! My son is a wonderful caring, a volunteer has 1000’s of hours and gives his last penny to anyone they don’t even have to ask! I realize homosexuality is on the mortal sin list but so is hundreds of other sins yet those people that commit those sins are not labeled or condemn by Catholics at least not that I have ever seen or heard! I am not promoting mortal sins but I am not condemning sinners either that is left to God not the Church or it’s Christian followers! We as Catholics should love unconditionally!

    Sent from Jane’s iPhone

    • Jane

      Is your son actually NOT welcome at Mass, or are you writing so the Church will change its teachings?

      I have a hard time picturing your family walking into Mass and everyone regarding your son “like he is a leper”.

    • The church cannot reconcile its doctrine with the ideologies that are contrary to her teachings. And while we may have seen occasional protests and rallies by groups comprised of divorced and remarried people, for example, neither they nor the gay Catholics can obtain grace (according to the church) without changing their sexual lifestyles. The church acknowledges free will but individuals must also allow religions to teach traditional values if that is a church’s choice. It goes both ways.

  9. George Roxandich on

    My Letter:
    Your Excellency,

    With all due respect, when discussing the Massacre at Pulse, shouldn’t the Church’s area of focus be on the real jeopardy for the 49 souls which is… what comes next for them. The thought would be a sobering one for all those currently engaged in blame shifting and political posturing.

    There is nothing but disadvantage to blaming those who take a moral stand instead of the real culprit… a self-loathing liberal homosexual Muslim. Even assuming a portion of the blame only gives those in direct opposition to Catholicism the advantage in the battle between good and evil. And make no excuse, this public discussion is all about gaining advantage.

    I apologize for being blunt, but it takes a blunt message to cut through all of the diabolical misdirection appearing in the media and on the internet.

    In Christ

  10. Dominic Lombardo on

    Bishop Lynch just turned 75 at the end of May, and, as canon law dictates, submitted his written resignation to Pope Francis.

    Hopefully, a successor will be named and installed sooner rather than later.

    And, in addition to the “let’s blame the Catholics” rhetoric emanating from the Dioceses of St. Petersburg and San Diego, let’s not forget that which emanated from the Archbishop of Chicago, Blase J. Cupich, this past Sunday.

  11. I am saddened by this article. Why do Catholics seem, in my opinion, to take everything as an attack against their faith? And I mean everything because that’s what it often seems like. So many Catholics seem to go out of their way to twist something into an attack against their faith when it’s not an attack on their faith at all. What good does it do to for Catholics to go after and attack one of their own bishops who really didn’t say anything wrong?

    Bishop Lynch is simply recognizing that the Catholic Church has fallen short in how it treats gays, lesbians, and transgender people. That is simply a fact, whether you want to admit it or not. The Church is not to be blamed directly for this specific attack in Orlando, but the way Catholics often act towards and speak about these groups of people is filled with hate. The problem is most Catholics do not recognize their words and actions as being hateful or at least they don’t want to admit it. They hide behind the excuse that because they are speaking Catholic “truth” they are in fact being loving. Catholics seem to be more worried about being “right” and imposing their truth on others who do not agree with or believe the same as them than they are about showing mercy and love to these people. It is not necessary to agree with or accept the lifestyles of gays, lesbians, and transgender people to show them love and mercy. Jesus would not call this love, and he would not treat people this way. At least the Jesus I know from the Bible wouldn’t.

    I say this as a straight ex-Catholic man, who until very recently spent his entire life in the Church and was very devoted to it, even getting a Theology degree and working in various parishes as a youth minister over many years. I never wanted to leave the Catholic Church, but the judgement and hate I felt all around me – even from some of my closest friends – made me not want to be a part of it anymore. I am not even gay or transgender, but my heart and conscience would no longer allow me to associate myself with the Catholic Church anymore.

    There are many wonderful things about the Catholic Church and its members. I know many Catholics who are very caring, loving, and selfless people. I know most are coming from a good place in their words and actions towards gays, lesbians, and transgender people. The intention is a good one – the intention to love – and I have encountered very few Catholics who actually hate these people. But even if the intention is good and loving, when it is received as hateful as so often it is there has to be another way. There has to be a different approach Catholics can take to be more merciful and loving without compromising their beliefs. This is what I believe Bishop Lynch is trying to get at, that Catholics must change the way they speak and act towards gays, lesbians, and transgender people because up to this point Catholics are viewed as a hate group that only attack these people and thus indirectly carry some of the blame in planting the seeds of contempt that ultimately lead to violence.

    I know most if not everyone here will disagree with me on this, and that is okay. I hope we can agree to disagree in a civil, loving manner without immediately getting defensive and attacking anyone.

  12. Joseph R Yungk on

    According to the Catechism, homosexuals are “objectively disordered” from the very start, they do not have the “affectual ability” to form a meaningful family. Their social abilities are therefor inferior to heterosexuals. According to the Vatican, their relationships cause “harm to society”, impair “religious freedoms” just by existing and cause “violence toward children”.
    Clearly, the homosexual’s ability to have a relationship is seen with disdain, such relationships are sinful and despised: “hate the sin”, meaning that the family itself is a sin and is met with hate. Hate how someone loves but claim you love them and you are the ones who really do know how to love. They are inferior at loving each other.
    This all ads up to contempt by any “objective” measure. If you cannot grasp that, turn the tables, you would find it hate speech if aimed at you.
    I have experienced abuse on many occasions, regardless of “lifestyle”, all with a hostility born of the above attitudes and definitions of me by your church. Saying that a family would cause “violence toward children” certainly does not make anyone safe. I can very assuredly say that any time I’ve been abused due to my sexuality, no practicing Catholic has ever offered to help.
    Despite whatever else the Catechism says about fighting “unjust discrimination” and showing “compassion”, the entire concept is redefined to fit what is outwardly, and objectively, contempt. I guess if you feel superior, anything can be called compassion, but it’s, well, not.

  13. Pingback: Are Catholics to Blame for the Orlando Jihad Slaughter? | Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray

  14. Gregory Barrett on

    Your Excellency:

    I today read with distress your message of support to Orlando in the wake of the terrorist attack. I here relieve myself of my duty in conscience to protest problematic elements of your comments.

    With respect to your second paragraph, which addresses itself to second amendment rights, you will recall that the founding fathers had understood themselves to be British citizens who had found themselves compelled to declare independence from the British government, which had become tyrannical and oppressive, and wage a war against its military, in order to secure their rights and freedom. Both text and context identify the right to bear arms to operate in the face of the possibility that one’s own government may become a threat to be countered. The founding fathers could never have countenanced a proposition that arms be reserved to the military. The question of the quality of firearms then available relative to today’s standards was irrelevant and immaterial. The balance of power was relevant and material. As for the evils of warfare, the founding fathers were keenly aware, having found their citizens being obliged on a regular basis to fight to protect their western frontier. They therefore sought through several years to resolve difficulties with the British government through peaceful means. To summarize the historical context, the British government became increasingly oppressive, the colonists sought for years to find redress, the founding fathers declared independence, the colonists fought for their freedom, the founding fathers enshrined the right of the citizen to bear arms. Your proposal, then, that weapons be reserved to the military is ignorant at best. You draw a dichotomy between military and those who would turn weapons on innocents. This is a false dichotomy. Throughout history and around the world, the military have turned weapons on innocents, and criminals and the deranged have been dissuaded and checked by law-abiding citizens who took the means necessary to protect their rights. Criminals have always found means of oppressing the defenceless, also with powerful weapons. Disarming the citizenry will not change this, but will multiply the advantage of their oppressors. It is precisely law-abiding citizens who are best placed to protect and defend against existential threats. This was the explicit thought behind the second amendment, and displays its truth in the comparison of violent crime statistics in places in which the government disarms the citizenry with places in which the government respects the second amendment. To summarize the value of the substance of your proposal, your proposal has no basis in law and no basis in fact. The question of whether the firearms contemplated in your proposal constitute weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is equivocal at best. WMD generally refers to weapons which by their nature are indiscriminate in the destruction they cause and cause such destruction on a large scale and broad base. Personal firearms, on the other hand, are ordered to precisely controlled use with limited destruction. Your discussion, then, of personal firearms control is of no value and serves at best to confuse matters which need careful consideration.

    With respect to your third paragraph, you identify religion generally as targeting LGBT+ persons. You specifically include the religion founded by God Incarnate. You do not limit this targeting to speech, but include the fomenting of hatred which leads to violence. With the rest of the paragraph, these statements are rife with difficulties. The essence of religion is to pursue questions of ultimate meaning. Religion in its essence, then, does not target anyone. Many religions include a moral code, including the one revealed religion which culminated with God Incarnate. There are many religions, as there are cultures, which both teach and transmit to its members hatred for classes of human beings. Christianity is not to be numbered among them, either in its teaching or in its effect. True charity and true compassion induce deep concern for the welfare of persons who gravely endanger their eternal destiny, of persons led astray by their bad example, of leaders who do not energetically warn them of their danger, and of society which crumbles into disintegration without clear societal supports for authentic disciplined harnessing of passions. It is not religion which instils contempt for perversity. Rather such contempt is a natural, normal, healthy human response to perversity. The religion which God revealed provides a way to frame, direct and balance the contempt which will never be lacking. You express a supposition of what is offensive to God’s ears, that being unjust action based on prejudice. In point of fact, you need not wonder what is offensive to God’s ears. The advantage of revealed religion is that God has told us what is offensive to his ears. What is offensive to God’s ears is sin, and those who do these things will not inherit the kingdom of heaven unless they repent. Something you could do to improve the situation is clearly, explicitly, specifically denounce the sins of sinners rather than denounce the healthy revulsion of the faithful. This will reassure them that you hold and teach the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles, and prepare them to take the practical measures of many descriptions which behove them.

    With respect to your fourth paragraph, it is necessary to distinguish that Islam is not a religion like Christianity. Rather Islam is a complete civilization, consisting of a religious component, as well as a political component. Inasmuch as Islam is a religion, it is protected by the Constitution. Inasmuch as Islam is an organization of every dimension of society, it is a self-consciously and intentionally existential threat to all alternatives. This dimension of Islam is un-American, subversive, seditious, and does and should enjoy neither protection nor tolerance from any alternative society, including America. It is true that Satan acts wherever and however he might, including in the statements of Catholic bishops. With Islam, however, there are myriad manners in which the system of ideas which constitutes Islam actively and forcefully promotes what is explicitly condemned by God in the religion He created.

    In light of the foregoing, and considering the dignity of the office you hold, your blog post is unworthy of your office and calls for immediate retraction, correction, and clarification, without which serious harm is done to your office, your Church, and society. While such ignorant and damaging statements might be passed over when expressed by one who has neither standing nor credentials, when expressed by one whose office calls for trust on the presumption of knowledge, intelligence, and good will, such statements become inexcusable. Your immediate action is desired.

    Your obedient servant,
    Gregory Barrett

    cc: Catholic Vote

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