The homosexual activist issue won’t go away because it is one of the most virulent issues facing the Church today, its people, its pastors and its hierarchy. It is worth taking a long look at Cardinal George’s words and at his recent apology, and asking what does it all mean? As gleaned from the secular media (subject to change based on learning new information) it looks like the gay pride parade scheduled for next summer was to be routed past a Catholic Church in the Chicago Diocese at 10AM on a Sunday, instead of at the traditional noon starting time. It is reported that shortly before Christmas, the starting time was changed back to noon, not to occur during Mass.
Cardinal George was interviewed by Fox News; his remarks aired on Christmas Day, and he is reported to have said:
“You know, you don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism. So I think if that’s what’s happening, and I don’t know that it is, but I would respect the local pastor’s, you know, position on that.”
On December 28, it was reported in the Chicago Tribune that Cardinal George further defended his position, saying:
“Organizers (of the pride parade) invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church…. One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.”
I’m not going to give voice to Cardinal George’s critics by reiterating their comments (except for one, below), which can be found at the links shown, but obviously the gay activists called for the Cardinal’s resignation. (Timely call, as he is turning 75 and about to submit his resignation any way; then it will be likely touted as a rainbow success.)
Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune carried the headline: “Cardinal George apologizes for linking Pride Parade to KKK” which I would find to be a disappointment if he actually did so. It seems to take so long for Cardinals and Bishops to get up the nerve to speak out, that anything which seems like retreat can be demoralizing to all those trying to uphold Catholic faith and principals. But what the Cardinal seems to have said, and which has been taken as an apology, is:
“I am truly sorry for the hurt my remarks have caused,” George said in an interview with the Tribune. “Particularly because we all have friends or family members who are gay and lesbian. This has evidently wounded a good number of people. I have family members myself who are gay and lesbian, so it’s part of our lives. So I’m sorry for the hurt.”
I am pleased to see that Cardinal George’s apparent apology (again pending correction on seeing a full text) is an apology for the hurt, not for speaking out about the dangers of gay activism to the rights of the Church to speak out, not for the teachings of the church, and not for being faithful. What I am disappointed about is that 100 bishops didn’t put out statements of a supportive nature, even if they couldn’t agree with his exact wording. They could reaffirm Church Teaching. They could express pastoral care for souls caught in the gay web. They could express concern about erosion of the rights of the Church and of the faithful by intimidating words and actions, bullying actually, by some in the gay pride movement. But, no, it seems that the hierarchy left Cardinal George to swing in the gay secular wind for doing exactly what a successor of the Apostles should be doing. If every soldier went to war one at a time, there would be a lot of defeated soldiers. The Church Militant can’t afford to do battle that way. I searched the USCCB site and also could find no support troops for Cardinal George’s battle engagement, although Pope Benedict and the USCCB have apparently expressed concern about the erosion of rights of conscience in the US. Where is the support or even acknowledgement when a bishop or cardinal does step out in his beliefs, in his (expected) well-formed conscience? Is there some litmus test of genteel wordiness that is first needed so nobody really knows what is being said? I found nothing on Zenit either, although in fairness they have been shut down a lot over the Christmas holidays.
The reason for the headline “It JUST Won’t Go Away” is that the issue pits moral teaching against sinfulness. There is much absurd, disgusting and sick that can be said or done in this secular world, but the most reviled of all actions is speaking the truth and calling “sin” what it truly is. Failure of the church hierarchy to have taken strong and clear enough positions on contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual activism AND on its own obligation to work, no matter what, for the salvation of souls is what leads to the tip-toeing volley of speak / apologize / speak / apologize. Cardinal George seems to have apologized for “hurt;” yes, sinners feel “hurt” when they are confronted. But the careful crafting of the “apology” seems to have been either misunderstood by those who need to hear the truth, or manipulated to serve their agenda and intimidate hierarchy further, or both.
The misunderstanding is so great among those being morally corrected, that it behooves the hierarchy to speak with clarity and stand their ground. One example of the deep misunderstanding is clear in the words of one protester: “It’s schizoid,” M_____ said. “You can’t say on one hand that you love people and on the other hand condemn them for who they are.” This comment does illustrate the basic problem, that the church hierarchy has failed to explain their duty to souls. True love is all about saving souls. Condemning the action isn’t the same as condemning the person. It needs to be explained much better. Each of these outbursts is another teaching moment; set aside by the failure of others of stature to join in, and with too much unspoken. To let those moments pass by will inevitably bring the day closer when condemnation of sin, from the pulpit or individually, will become illegal.
Here are the links to read more. What do YOU think?
FOX News: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-22/business/chi-cardinal-under-fire-for-comparing-gay-rights-movement-to-klan-20111222_1_gay-rights-annual-gay-pride-parade-rights-and-civil-unions