In their haste to discredit the Church for relieving an actively homosexual man of his duties at a parish on Long Island, the media never bothered to question the three boxes of petitions for reinstatement that the man claimed to be delivering to diocesan offices last week – two of which were found to be completely empty.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue is reporting that Nicholas Coppola, 47, showed up at the offices of the Diocese of Rockville Centre yesterday with what he claimed were three boxes of petitions signed by 18,500 supporters who wanted him reinstated at St. Anthony’s parish in Oceanside.
However, according to the diocese, two of the three boxes were empty.
This information was released after the media presented Coppola’s case to the world in a way that cast him in a favorable light while making the Church look like extremists. In response to the lop-sided coverage, the Diocese of Rockville Centre revealed Coppola’s duplicity by informing them of the empty boxes.
“Looks like the media were snookered,” Donohue writes. “Had they shown an ounce of curiosity, they would have asked Coppola to see what was in the three boxes that allegedly contained evidence of those who signed the petition. Two of the boxes were empty; the contents of the other box was so small it could easily have fit into a large envelope.”
Coppola was removed from his duties as a Eucharistic Minister and a religion teacher at the parish in January after the diocese received an anonymous letter informing them that he was an active homosexual.
Michael Sherrard of Faithful America, an activist group claiming to oppose “right-wing extremism” said reinstating Coppola would be “a major opportunity for Bishop Murphy and for Catholic bishops across the country to begin practicing Christian love when it comes to their gay and lesbian parishioners.”
Rubbish, says Donohue, who applauded the parish for making the right decision. “Just as it is the right of a yeshiva to insist that its employees abide by Judaic strictures, it is the right of a Catholic school to insist that its employees respect Catholic teachings,” he said.
The diocese agrees and says the decision to remove Coppola, which was made by St. Anthony’s pastor, the Rev. Nicholas Lombardi, was correct.
Diocese spokesman Sean Dolan told Long Island Newsday that anyone in public ministerial positions in the church must take public positions consistent with Catholic teachings.
” . . . (N)o one is stopping Coppola from joining a religion that accepts his view of marriage,” Donohue writes. “If he respected diversity, he would practice it by finding a new home. Instead, he seeks to impose his agenda on the rest of us, thus showing nothing but contempt for the rights of Catholics.”
He added: “It’s too bad Catholics on Long Island did not get a chance to see what was in the three boxes. It would have been a great optic.”
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