Philadelphia Archbishop Releases Statement Responding to Catholic Coach’s Involvement in Gay Bashing


Yesterday, we reported that an assistant basketball coach at a Pennsylvania Catholic high school was fired (technically forced to resign) for his alleged role in the brutal attack on a gay couple last Thursday in Philadelphia that left one victim with facial fractures and a jaw that had to be wired shut. 

Now, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, led by Archbishop Charles Chaput, has released a statement in response to the attack, writing:

Charles chaput"A key part of a Catholic education is forming students to respect the dignity of every human person whether we agree with them or not. What students do with that formation when they enter the adult world determines their own maturity and dignity, or their lack of it. Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian. A recent beating incident in Center City allegedly involved, in some way, a part-time coach at Archbishop Wood High School. After inquiries by school leadership, the coach was contacted regarding the matter and he resigned. Archbishop Wood's handling of the matter was appropriate, and I support their efforts to ensure that Catholic convictions guide the behavior of their whole school community, including their staff." 

Sexual orientation is currently not included in the state's hate crimes statues. Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims has already pledged to bring the victims to the state legislature and try and get a hate crimes bill passed. Sims will also help organize a public rally next Thrusday to "support the victim and call for the passage of hate crime legislation." 


  1. Tony says

    “A key part of a Catholic education is forming students to respect the dignity of every human person whether we agree with them or not”.

    In other words, he deserved it?

  2. Gigi says

    They fired this guy without knowing what his actual involvement in the attack was but the RCC shields pedophile priests from prosecution. Instead of turning them over to the police they move them from parish to parish, giving them a fresh crop of kiddies to diddle. Makes sense.

  3. Marc says

    It’s gross that “whether we agree with them or not” was added to the very first sentence of this “apology.” That was completely unnecessary and shows exactly the mixed messages that “love the sinner, hate the sin” teaching sends. The church and it’s teachings allowed this to happen. They need to own up to this crime. Blood is on their hands.

  4. MT says

    I’m glad the archdiocese is speaking out. I am really upset about the Philly story, and I find it chilling that this occurred. For some reason, it’s more chilling to me that this occurred by well-dressed people immediately after fine dining. My mind could understand it more if it were in an alley by a lone wolf or an angry couple of guys. I hope comeuppance is served.

  5. says

    that’s one of the lamest things i’ve ever read in my entire life. nothing about the victims, eh? he can’t even say GAY. WTF?

    how’s this: “Hi, due to the cult i’m a part of, we indoctrinate children as young as eight years old to think that homosexuality is an abomination, a sin, an affront to God and something to be feared and hated. so we’re not that shocked that our pupils went out and acted on that hate…”

    not a word of love or apology to the couple who were attacked. it’s all protect the church PR.

    excuse me while i vomit. that was shameful to read.

  6. BobN says

    “Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian.”

    But once they go for the buttsex, it’s open season!!!!

  7. MaryM says

    “Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian.”

    Utter bull.

    Violence, hatred, bigotry and division are key concepts of the christian cult.

  8. Frank says

    “Violence against anyone, simply because of WHO THEY ARE, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian.”

    As a qualified vaticanologist, I see a change in rhetoric. He acknowledged that homosexual orientation is a part of an individual’s identity. While I view this with considerable suspicion, I note this apparent change.

  9. woody says

    I wish it were a substantive change, Frank, but the Catholic Church does view homosexuality as part of who a person is. Their view is that we should all remain celibate. True, they don’t say it often and focus on what they call “acting out” or behavior.
    The “whether we agree with them or not” is the truly awful part of Chaput’s statement. By including himself in the “we,” he’s saying he agrees with the people that assaulted this couple, though he doesn’t think beating them is acceptable. Whatta guy!

  10. Steve says

    You reap what you sow. They constantly tell everyone that gays are subhuman barbarians and then try to act innocent when their sheep act on those teachings.

  11. Jason MacBride says

    @MICKYFLIP – They asked him to resign because they need to avoid bad publicity. They get no credit for that. They will get credit when they change the doctrine that encourages disrespect and hatred of day, lesbian and bisexual people.

  12. jamal49 says

    Archbishop Chaput, I don’t give a good g*ddam whether you “agree” with me or not. The problem here is the gay bashers take direct inspiration from your Church’s hateful teachings about LGBT people. Those bashings are YOUR fault, Charlie.

  13. r says

    Any parallels with the way the NFL reacts to their players and domestic violence, or college football at Penn state and the rape of little boys?

  14. Gregory in Seattle says

    Given how vigorously — even viciously — the Church continues to persecute LGBT people, his words ring very hollow. These students went on a gay-bashing rampage BECAUSE OF Church doctrine, not in spite of it.

  15. woodroad34 says

    That archbishop is repugnant. His statement is one step forward, two steps back. He’s a bully, who’s trying not to get sued but at the same time still bullies.

  16. Richard says

    The Catholic Church motivates violence with hate speech, then condemns the violence to preserve its false aura of godliness.

  17. simon says

    It is easier to deny this as typical “christian” behavior since the coach is part-time. Not even a former Pope can deny all the historical great works by Christians when he offered his apologies. Like the crusades, inquisitions…etc etc.

  18. John says

    Ridiculous that the press and even the coverage on TOWLEROAD does not call out in one of their first sentences of the coverage that the Archdiocese was still unwilling to mention that the victims were gay or a same sex couple of many years. Of course Towleroad is supported by ads so perhaps that would bit of confrontation would be going too far. Gotta make a buck!

  19. james street james says

    Ah, the self-righteous have been caught with their pants down again.

    At least no minors were raped this time.

  20. says

    anyone else loving the fact that the perps have, thus far, not been rounded up? had they been black or latino – the cops would have tracked them down and arrested them. just waiting for preppy white kids to do it on their own time, eh?

  21. StranglerFig says

    Does anyone else hear a flushing sound as information about this comes in?

    If Philly gays and allies want justice, they’re going to have to make it happen themselves.
    The hetero supremacist justice system and gay bashers will pussyfoot around this issue until new hate crimes distract gays and their allies from this issue. Stall – Stall – Stall – Ok, new hate crime in South Dakota! Now move on to that one, gays, and forget about this one… and so on and so on.

    Sadly, the only time I ever saw footage of gay bashers getting bashed, it was a couple of straight boxers who were in drag for some party in a gay village somewhere who stood up for themselves. The gay bashers mistook these straight boxers for gay men in drag and attacked them – big mistake.
    The footage showed that before the gay bashers attacked these straight boxers, they were harassing and assaulting lots of people in that village, and nobody did anything to defend themselves or each other. The scene was bitter sweet; I was glad to see the gay bashers got bashed, but I was sad that it wasn’t until the gay bashers assaulted a couple of straight guys that they got what they deserved.
    To me, it’s an illustrative example of how gays in general don’t value themselves or each other enough to stand up to gay bashers assaulting them.

  22. Randy says

    Why does it even matter if Pennsylvania has a hate crimes law?

    Isn’t the entire point of the federal hate crimes act to allow the federal prosecutors to step in when states fail to prosecute hate crimes, even off federal property?

  23. Kate says

    Not a substantive response. Unless you’re a terrorist, OF COURSE you don’t support savage beatings of innocents. It is a shame that the Archbishop does not speak to the collective failure of the community. Not one, but a group of these 20something alumns have been implicated in a 9/11 act of violence to two human beings having gotten a pizza. Clearly the church, school and homes of these young adults failed to raise individuals with even a rudimentary sense of morality. “Whether we agree with them or not” insidiously implies the hate is understandable although the actions are not. The nation is watching, hopeful that those who colluded in this hate motivated crime are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I would like to think their parents, while lawyering up, are profoundly ashamed to have raised criminals. Catholic schooled and well dressed though they may be.

  24. exeter19 says

    Honestly, I think we need to give this Archbishop some grace. He is publicly shaming this coach and his actions in a very public way and letting people know the church does not approve of it. Maybe he didn’t do it in the most PC way possible but I can assure you that the Baptists or Protestants wouldn’t even address the issue at all and probably wouldn’t even fire the coach unless the congregation made a big deal about it. I say that as someone who grew up Catholic in a very Catholic neighborhood in Boston and now lives in a very Southern Baptist area of Houston with a Baptist boyfriend. I am not part of any organized religion.

  25. PeterPresley says

    The Vatican in recent past offered that if gay men are not evidence that the devil walks the earth, they are at least sucking at the Devil’s teet. The Catholic church has been a huge reason for the hatred.

  26. Kate says

    It is fascinating to me. This congratulating the school or the Archbishop for “doing the right thing.” Of course they needed to fire a violent coach who was about to be arrested. Of course they would denounce that smashing the orbital and jaw bones of an innocent is not acceptable or Christlike. Isn’t that common sense rather exemplary? What ELSE would you expect them to say?? Why isn’t doing the right thing a GIVEN? Not something astonishing, deserving praise or accolades. Maybe that was the disconnect with the Archbishop Wood alum who brutally attacked two innocent human beings. Maybe these kids were raised to believe that “doing the right thing” was not the norm but rather exceptional. And optional.

  27. Mike says

    “The church and it’s teachings allowed this to happen.”

    No no no. I went to Catholic school in a Philly suburb for 13 years, and went to weekly mass many years after that. Not once did they say to beat up gay people. Oppose marriage equality: yes. Endorse lifelong celibacy: yes. Attack on sight: never.

    This statement is to comment on firing the coach, and a general comment on the incident. Anyone expecting him to head to the Gayborhood for a candlelight vigil needs to think again.

  28. says

    Mike – nice to see that the church either cut your balls off, or lobotomized you.

    “they never said to attack us! just that we’re sinful people who defy god who should never be allowed to marry because we’re an affront and an abomination and also we’re sinners and our sex and love is not right”

    that’s what results in these attacks. prejudice. bigotry. animus.

    he should head for the gaybourhood for a candlelight vigil. that’s what all decent human beings should do.

    but you’re right, we need to think again if we expect this Archbishop and his many followers to be decent human beings.