1995: Pope John Paul II’s visit to New York City, Newark, and Baltimore
The Lesbian and Gay Papal Visit Coalition and ACT UP led a “Stop the Pope” campaign that included demonstrations and advertisements with demeaning images of the pope. Feminist Gloria Steinem and actress Olympia Dukakis led more than 1,000 Catholic dissidents, feminists and gay rights activists in a march protesting Church teachings on abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and other matters. Six people were arrested after unfurling a banner reading “Condoms Save Lives” at Saks Fifth Avenue, overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The cover of the LGNY Newspaper, published by “Lesbian & Gay New York,” featured a cartoon depiction of Cardinal O’Connor and Pope John Paul II kissing, with headlines like: “Revealed! REAL Reason for Papal Visit!”; “O’Connor & Pope’s Secret Gay Love!”; “Their Urgent Warning: ‘The Catholic League are False Prophets.'” Tom Fox, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, told U.S. News that because Pope John Paul grew up under Nazi and Communist regimes, “he fears the freedoms we have in the West.”
2008: Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington, DC and New York City
The National Coalition of American Nuns, a pro-abortion group, declared that the pope was not welcome, while the Women’s Ordination Conference had women dress up like priests to say Mass. Dignity, a group which once appointed gay rapist Paul Shanley its chaplain, staged a protest of the pope’s visit. New Ways Ministry held a press conference to promote gay sex. Catholics for a Free Choice, a pro-abortion anti-Catholic front group, hawked condoms, urging that no one leave home without one. SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), a group of professional victims who with their lawyers have exploited the Church, called for the United Nations to investigate the Vatican. And Rainbow Sash, a gay group, promised to throw ashes at the pope instead of confetti.
Bill Donohue warns, “Look for some of these same ugly groups to show up when Pope Francis arrives. We’ll be sure to out them.”