Cardarelli, Richard Papers

Span Dates: 1968-2003
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 10.5 linear ft.


The Richard Cardarelli Papers contain his correspondence, reports, publications, buttons, t-shirts, photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, and other materials. The collection contains valuable material relating to Dignity/Hartford from 1975 to 2003. It also has material concerning the Catholic Church, the gay and lesbian movement from the 1970s to 2003, and some material from the Radical Faeries in New England. There are ten folders of newspaper and magazine articles about gays and the Catholic Church between 1969 and 2003; material about the 1987 and 1993 LGBT Marches on Washington, as well as material on Connecticut's Gay Rights Bill. There is also an extensive collection of pins, buttons, and T-shirts relating to the Gay Rights movement. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection by the public.

Hist/Bio Note

Richard Cardarelli born in Connecticut, graduated from Xavier High School, in Middletown. He received a BA in French Literature from St. Michael's College in Vermont and a teaching certificate from Central Connecticut State College. He taught French and religion in Catholic high schools until he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in 1976. He was ordained in 1982 and received a M.Div. and M.Th. at Maryknoll School of Theology. While serving as Director of his province's Office of Peace and Justice, he began his public activist career. In 1971 he first attended the gay parade in New York City; in 1974, he joined DIGNITY, USA; and in 1975 he helped to found the Springfield/Hartford Chapter of Dignity. Cardarelli became involved full-time with peace and justice activities: he engaged in civil disobedience to protest war; the nuclear arms race; apartheid in South Africa; and homophobia/heterosexism. His arrest at the Supreme Court for gay/lesbian rights made news headlines and hardened the Catholic authorities against his activism. Cardarelli continued to speak at colleges, on panels for clergy and religious, on television and radio, and continued to march each June in New York City. Publicity surrounding his ministry eventually led to DIGNITY being forced out of Catholic facilities around the country. When Cardarelli came out as a gay celibate priest in the press, the American bishops revoked his priestly faculties and he was silenced and banned. After he then stood with the International Lesbian and Gay Organization in New York City when it was barred from the St. Patrick's Day parade, his bishops forced him to take a leave of absence from his order and active ministry. Later, Cardarelli was informed that he would never be able to function as a priest again. Devastated, he sought other venues for his ministry, briefly exploring several splinter groups within the Independent Catholic Movement. However, the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated him for his involvement with the Independent Catholic Church. Devastated, but certain of his ministry, he joined the Anglo-Catholic Parish of Grace Church in Hartford in 2000 and later became a brother in the Anglican Society of St. Francis. He continues ministering with Dignity/USA.

Finding Aid

A finding aid is available on-line at the following web address.


The collection is housed at the Elihu Burritt Library of Central Connecticut State University. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection by the public.


Episcopal Church | Radical Faeries | Catholic (Roman) | Cardarelli, Richard | Dignity | Gay Liberation Movement | Ordination/clergy | Theology | New York | New York City