“Catholic groups equating homosexuality with pedophilia,” they say “are demonizing gay
survivors of clergy abuse.”
BALTIMORE, Maryland – On Tuesday, November 16th at 11:00am, survivors of clergy sexual
abuse and advocates will hold a press conference outside of the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
(700 Aliceanna Street) urging the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and
Pope Francis to condemn the use of the abuse crisis by Church Militant and Steve Bannon to
promote an anti-gay political agenda, a central tenet of Tuesday’s protest rally outside the
USCCB’s general meeting.
For the past decade, Church Militant has capitalized off the rape and sexual abuse of children,
using their suffering as an opportunity to court donors and gain followers. At the behest of their
wealthy donors, like financier Marc Brammer, they have built a propaganda network to mobilize
support for their agenda of re-criminalizing homosexuality by fear-mongering about the LGBTQ+
community and other marginalized groups. By attributing the Catholic clergy abuse crisis to gay
priests, they have contributed to heightened stigma around gay men while ignoring every
non-male victim of clergy abuse.
Church Militant’s speakers and partners for the event have their own ties to sexual abuse and
● Speaker and event partner, Steve Bannon, provided media coaching for Jeffrey Epstein,
urging him to deny he was a pedophile, calling him a “sympathetic figure.” Bannon has
worked closely with the virulently anti-gay Cardinal Burke, who kept a higher percentage
of priests with allegations of child sex abuse in ministry than any other diocese in the
United States.
● Emcee Milo Yiannopoulos, at one point, dismissed the clergy abuse crisis saying, “We
get hung up on this child abuse stuff…In the gay world, some of the most important
enriching, and incredibly life-affirming, important, shaping relationships are between
younger boys and older men. They can be hugely positive experiences very often for
those young boys.” After facing backlash, he reversed his position, committing himself to
the rehabilitation of conversion therapy, likening being gay to an “addiction.”
● Former Apostolic Nuncio, Carlo Maria Viganò, in his infamous 2018 letter, where he
accused Pope Francis of covering up the long history of sexual abuse by now-defrocked
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, has argued that gay priests are the root cause of Catholic
child sexual abuse. In his role as Apostolic Nuncio, Viganò himself covered up sexual
abuse for several senior members of the Catholic hierarchy who abused children or
concealed records, destroying criminal evidence in the process.
Ending Clergy Abuse unequivocally denounces the linking of homosexuality to pedophilia, a
right-wing Catholic myth that has been repeatedly refuted by medical and scientific experts.
LGBTQ+ people are nearly four times more likely than non-LGBTQ+ people to experience
violent victimization, including rape and sexual assault. To use survivors of rape and sexual
abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy as political pawns to criminalize homosexuality is a
despicable act that the entire Catholic hierarchy – including Pope Francis – have not
demonstrated the courage or integrity to rebuke.
Although Pope Francis has urged tolerance, in March, he signed off on a Vatican decree that
called gay sex “intrinsically disordered,” and stated, God “does not and cannot bless sin.” While
the Vatican avoids inflammatory language, they have essentially endorsed the same position as
Church Militant and Steve Bannon. Perhaps this is why Pope Francis and the bishops have not
condemned their protest. The Pope has stated that the Church must find a way to help Catholic
parents “stand by their [LGBTQ+] son or daughter.” He and the USCCB could start by making it
clear that the link between homosexuality and pedophilia is not supported by Catholic teaching.
In a year in which the unmarked graves of thousands of Indigenous children have been located
at the sites of Catholic-run Indian boarding schools in the United States and Canada, the
USCCB has chosen to ignore these atrocities to focus instead on fueling a Eucharistic culture
war. Their leader, Archbishop Gomez, has openly attacked the movement for Black lives calling
it a “dangerous substitute for true religion,” that promotes “intolerance” and “injustice,” rather
than a fight for universal human dignity in the face of systemic racism and state-sponsored
violence. In this and their refusal to denounce the hate rally outside their door, the US bishops
have demonstrated an absorption in their own identity politics and a betrayal of the universal
human rights proclaimed in the Gospel they claim to preach.
Peter Isely
ECA Co-Founding Member

Tim Law
ECA Co-founder/Board Member