Scores Archbishop Borders For Failure
To Oppose Homosexual Rights Bill

Special to The Wanderer
May 19, 1988.

by Leon J. Podles


BALTIMORE– Dr. Leon Podles, president of the Maryland Chapter of Catholic Parents United, severely criticized Archbishop William Borders of Baltimore for his failure to oppose the homosexual rights bill in the Baltimore City Council. Dr. Podles spoke for an hour and a half on the Les Kinsolving radio program on May 4th.


Podles pointed out that the homosexual rights bill threatened the religious freedom of all Catholic institutions and schools in Baltimore, and might even force them to hire convicted child molesters. The Georgetown University case, Podles pointed out, showed that the courts would use such laws to force Catholic schools to give full access to homosexual activists. Judge Mack, in her opinion in the Georgetown case, stated that the interests of the state in overcoming "sexual orientation discrimination" overrode the First Amendment guarantees to free exercise of religion. The District of Columbia law has a "religious exemption," Podles stated, but this did not save Georgetown. The courts, he noted, are defining religion as "what goes in in the sanctuary" and not as church schools, hospitals, and, charitable institutions.


 Podles had attempted to contact Archbishop Borders to arrange a meeting about this matter and to voice the concerns of Catholic parents about the effects of this bill on public morality and the Catholic schools. Podles had arranged for a public health official and psychiatrist, and a law professor who specializes in religious liberty cases to accompany him. He was astonished when Archbishop Borders refused to meet with Catholic Parents United, the only organization of Catholic parents in Baltimore. Podles then had sent a second certified letter, which Archbishop Borders refused even to accept. Then, Podles called the Arch bishop's office and repeated his desire for a meeting, stating that he would be on the radio that evening. The Archbishop's secretary hung up on him.


Podles then called Richard Berndt, the archdiocesan lawyer who is handling a $12,000,000 lawsuit against the Archdiocese stemming from admitted child molestations by a priest. He suggested to Berndt that the Archbishop should listen to what parents say and oppose the bill, especially in light of all the bad publicity the Archdiocese was getting over the lawsuit and over the recent arrest of an archdiocesan priest for homosexual solicitation at an I-95 rest stop, Berndt tried to deflect criticism by saying the Archbishop saw I parents all the time, "on the street, in church, on the highway." Podles told Berndt this was nonsense, and began closely questioning him about why the Archbishop would meet with homosexual groups and not with parent groups, and why the Archbishop opposed the bill in 1980 and would not oppose it now, when there was a direct threat to Catholic religious freedom.


When Podles, a federal investigator by profession, pinned Berndt down, his final reply was, "I'm not on trial; Mr. Podles." Podles characterized Berndt as "a weasel" and said he was defending the indefensible. Podles said that he had been reluctantly forced to conclude that the Archbishop's main aim was to please homosexuals and not to protect public morality, religious freedom, and Catholic school children. He said that he gathered from Berndt's remarks that the Archdiocese would ask for a religious exemption to the homosexual rights bill. Podles stated that the exemption was meaningless, because the exemption in the D.C. law did not protect Georgetown University, and it would not protect Catholic schools in Baltimore.


In response to questions from callers, Podles pointed out that there was strong evidence that decisions affecting homosexuals in the Baltimore Archdiocese were being dictated by homosexuals. Fr. Paul Thomas had written articles asserting that Jesus and John had a homoerotic friendship, and that St. Aelred was a saintly model, for homosexuals because he encouraged homoerotic friendships, kissing, and hugs among his monks. After the national controversy about these remarks, Thomas was promoted to archdiocesan archivist. On the week before the hearings in City Council on the bill, the only article on the subject that the Catholic Review carried was one by Paul Thomas in favor of it. Podles said that Berndt claimed that the Archdiocese was aware of and concerned about the Georgetown precedent. Podles said that the Catholic Review had not alerted Catholics to the dangers of the Baltimore bill, and that city councilmen had not heard a word from the Archdiocese. Podles said that he was forced to conclude that the Archbishop wanted the bill to pass.


One caller asked if the speaker were the same Dr. Podles who has written for a national Catholic newspaper (The Wanderer) that had been denounced in the Catholic Review as "neo-pharisaic." Podles said he was indeed the same person. The caller suggested that Catholics send their contributions to Catholic Parents United instead of their parish, and place a note in the collection that the money was being withheld because the Archbishop refused to protect Catholic schools from homosexual activists. Podles said that that was an excellent idea, but that people should put a xerox copy of the check in the collection, with a note that the money would have been the Church's if the Archbishop had opposed the homosexual rights bill.


Learn more about Leon Podles.