The Catholic League is asking Vice President Al Gore to intervene in the proceedings regarding the World Gay Pride march.   The event, which is scheduled to take place July 1 to July 9 in Rome, is under challenge from Vatican officials who have asked for a postponement or a change of venue. Angelo Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, is urging Italian authorities to “reconsider” the event in light of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee 2000 celebrations.  The mayor of Rome, Francesco Rutelli, has withdrawn the city’s co-sponsorship of the march because of the “unwillingness of the organizers to work in a spirit of collaboration”; he did not say, however, that the event could not take place.

Catholic League president William Donohue explained the league’s position as follows:

“We are asking Vice President Gore to intervene in this matter because he is the highest-ranking American official to have endorsed the event.

“Given the stated objectives of the principal organizer of the event, Imma Battaglia, the Vatican’s request is modest and reasonable.  Battaglia has been quoted as saying ‘F- – – you, the pope and all the rest,’ and has said of the event that ‘Of course it’s provocative and the choice of Rome was deliberate.’   She accuses the Church of ‘oppressing people’s sexuality.’

“Not only was the city of Rome chosen as an in-your-face gesture to the Vatican, this event is actually promoting the very behavior that accounts for the high mortality rate among gay men.  Skeptics should tap into the website and witness the links to porn sites, personals, escort services, youth organizations, etc.

“The Catholic League’s appeal to the vice president is hardly unorthodox.  Just recently, the Italian community in New York acceded to Jewish requests to reroute this year’s Columbus Day Parade so that the noisy crowd would not pass in front of a synagogue that will be holding Yom Kippur services.  This is the kind of tolerance that Catholics want from gays.”

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