RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Speaking at an annual media luncheon Friday, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Catholic Dioseses of Raleigh spoke about House Bill Two, saying that legislators and others should discuss the so-called bathroom bill “in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
Burbidge released a statement on his thoughts and addressed the church’s reaction to the use of gender-specific bathrooms. “The common sense use of gender specific multi-stall bathrooms for parishes and Catholic schools throughout eastern NC reflects reasonable boundaries, especially for youth and young people,” he said.
Below is the full statement from Burbidge:
Recently, the Dioceses of Raleigh has been asked about HB2 and the Charlotte bathroom/locker room ordinance.
HB2 is a law addressing a complex legal issue which has been the focus of much debate, court action, the governor’s executive action, and political promises to repeal it.
After prayerful consideration and thorough review, and following various legal interpretations regarding the real impact of HB2, I believe another remedy to the unfortunate situation created by the Charlotte Ordinance and HB2 should be considered, whether that be legislation or some other measure. As a religious leader, I have the responsibility of conveying the teachings of the Catholic Church and advocating for those principles upon which legislation can be built.
I prayerfully hope that any legislation or measure addressing these sensitive issues would: defend human dignity; avoid any form of bigotry; respect religious liberty and the convictions of religious institutions; work for the common good; and be discussed in a peaceful and respectful manner.
No person should feel as though they are unwelcome in our communities of faith. The priests of this Diocese, myself included, remain committed to speaking with anyone who has concerns about how we operate or what we believe. This applies regardless of one’s gender or gender identity. Building strong relationships is fundamental to healthy faith communities. All people are made in the image and likeness of God as man and woman, and we stand ready to continue accompanying all people in their faith walk. We would expect that those wishing to know the Catholic Church more deeply would also respect our fundamental beliefs and teachings.
While the Diocese assumes people use restrooms and locker rooms with good intentions, we are deliberate in ensuring that we create an appropriate environment for all people and work continually to improve on best practices. This liberty must be respected in our free society. The common sense use of gender specific multi-stall bathrooms for parishes and Catholic schools throughout eastern NC reflects reasonable boundaries, especially for youth and young people. How individual organizations wish to operate should be respected; especially religious organizations, churches and schools.
My hope and call, is that before this issue takes another step in either direction, both sides will treat one another with decency, love, and mutual respect.