Cardinal George, LGBT People, and the Klan

Description: A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Gainesv...

The Catholic hierarchy are starting to let their claws and teeth show.

Fox-TV News in Chicago reports today that Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has compared the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.   A story and video of the interview is available on their website.

The Huffington Post report of this incident has the text of the Cardinal’s explanation of his analogy:

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Klu Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.”

When the Fox host pointed out that George’s comparison was “a little strong,” the cardinal stood by his statement.

“It is, but you take a look at the rhetoric,” he continued. “The rhetoric of the Klu Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.”

This comes on the heels of last month’s statement by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, where he said, in reference to lesbian and gay people:

“We said the next thing will be we’ll be sued if we don’t do marriage, we’re going to be harassed if we don’t do receptions, we’re going to be penalized if we don’t allow adoption, we’re going to be booed if we don’t hire these people.”

The sheer ridiculousness and callousness of these comments show not only  ignorance of the LGBT movement, but also bespeak an irrational fear.

What else can account for such vicious responses?  Part of the fear may be due to the fact that the hierarchy senses they are losing the argument on LGBT equality.  I do not think that these men are evil.  I believe them to be motivated by good and trying to do good, but that pressure is getting  the best of them and making them act in irrational ways.  I am not excusing their behavior or statements at all, but I think it is important to understand what may be behind these statements.

Regardless of the motivation, an apology is needed in both cases.

I first learned of  Cardinal George’s  statement from our friends at the Unitarian Universalist website,  I agree with their call to action:

“Get in touch with Cardinal George. Ask him to reconsider his comments and issue an apology. Above all else, approach this conversation with the greatest amount of love you can muster, lest we give credence to his beliefs that “the gay liberation movement” is full of angry hate-mongers. Our issue isn’t with Catholics — it’s with those leaders who use divisive, incendiary language and tactics to suppress an entire group of people and our families.

“You can leave a message for Cardinal George through his Facebook page:

“Or try the Diocese Catholic Information Line: 312-534-8204.”

Equally Blessed, the coalition of faithful Catholics who work for LGBT equality and justice (of which New Ways Ministry is a member), has released this statement in response to Cardinal George’s comment.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
  1. wild hair
    wild hair says:

    It seems to me that Cardinal George is just trying to back up his successor as president of the USCCB, Dolan who lost the battle for gay marriage in New York.

    Now the attempt is for cardinals, like George and Dolan, to play the victim and scream they are being persecuted because they are Catholic.

    If they were really Catholic they would be reaching out to the gay and lesbian part of their flock as pastors. They have abandoned that calling since they have trust themselves into the whole realm of civil politics which runs by different rules than the confines controlled by so called “catholic dogma”.

    I have more respect for the Catholic State Senators in New York who struggled with their consciences to grant rights under the American Constitution to gay and lesbian couples than to cardinals George and Dolan. When their eminences embrace their calling as pastors, I might begin to show them respect.

  2. Patti Boman
    Patti Boman says:

    I can’t believe the insane things they say. The Church all these years has turned away families that want their babies baptized if parents are not Catholic, take classes, etc. same with marriage, they won’t marry you unless you are Catholic, take classes,had first communion etc etc… And no one has sued them! They just lost more parishioners like myself that decided to become Protestants and attend a friendlier Episcopal, Lutheran or Methodist church. There are plenty churches that follow Jesus’s teachings and welcome everyone as they are, no one is going to force them or take them to court! They wish we were so eager to join!
    I was raised Catholic, and did all my CCD’s, etc. married in the Catholic church, but left before my youngest son came out and told us he was gay, now I have an even bigger reason to not return!

  3. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    The Catholic Church is not the enemy of LGBT people. Most Catholics support equality for LGBT people, according to recent polls.

    The enemy of our community is the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church which asserts that they speak for the whole church. Cardinal George is the enemy. Benedict XVI is the enemy. They have consistently fought the legalization of ANY civil rights for LGBT people. They have derided our relationships and called them evil. They have labelled us disordered by nature. They have accused those of us who have children of causing psychological violence to them. They have led campaigns of lies against us, unconcerned about the harm they do to our youths and their families as they sit in the pews listening to their demonization. They have remained silent amid reports of suicides of LGBT youths, and have refused to address the problem of violence against us.

    Cardinal George and so many in Church leadership are not facing their homophobia and their bigotry. They need to ask themselves what there is inside of them that leads them en masse to oppose civil marriages of same sex couples so stridently, while they ignore the real issues of joblessness, poverty, hunger, war and climate change.

  4. Carolyn Shalhoub
    Carolyn Shalhoub says:

    I haven’t heard the term “Gay Liberation” since the 60’s. Where has this guy been – O wait. I know. It is embarrassing to me as a Catholic to see these guys continue to shoot themselves, and the Church they are under the impression they represent, in the foot over and over. And they wonder why people are leaving? They educated us far too well in Catholic schools and colleges.

  5. Barbara J Monda
    Barbara J Monda says:

    One only wonders what these so called educated Bishops and Cardinals are using for their sources! Where is their spirituality in all of these. This article is just another document that proves that everything is all ABOUT THEM. Everyone is picking on them! Poor little them!! The LGBT mob is out to get them, Those bad “abused” people who blame them, and want money!! The bad press that prints stuff to make them look bad. Everybody is out to destroy the rich, megalith, HOLY, INNOCENT, Roman Catholic Church!! While the world looks on in shear disbelief at the insanity of it all. They are making therapists rich!

    Don’t be married but don’t be like us holy and celibate. Didn’t they murder all the Albigensians for thinking that??

  6. Bill Oliver, leader of Integrity in Colorado (GLBT Episcopalians and allies)
    Bill Oliver, leader of Integrity in Colorado (GLBT Episcopalians and allies) says:

    Bill Oliver, Colorado Springs.
    Dear Frank,
    I can understand the outrage, but surely it doesn’t help when each side demonizes the other, paints them in the worst possible light. And I feel this is often done to help raise funds.
    We’re all beloved children of God and we all hold so much more in common than things that would divide us – and God grieves in our shared brokenness.
    Blessings of Christmas – and peace. Thanks for your devoted efforts on behalf of the inclusion and celebration of GLBT people. Love & NTW, Bill

  7. Ken
    Ken says:

    Unfortunately Cardinal George has put his foot in his mouth again. And that’s sad as he’s arguably a relative moderate by today’s standards in the American hierarchy.

    Apparently this brouhaha started when Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish on Belmont Avenue had issues, and rightly so, with the Gay Pride Pride schedule and route being changed to come by the church on Sunday morning. The Gay Pride is a massive one, the second biggest in Chicago outside the back-to-school Bud Billikin Parade on Chicago’s south side. Historically the Gay Pride parade was held later in the afternoon on Sunday. But because of so many pre-parade parties, people were already drunk when the parade started and it went downhill from there. So years later the parade was moved to early afternoon on Sunday to reduce drunkenness. Problems persisted. So for next year the parade was to be scheduled at 10 AM and shortened and rerouted to pass Mount Carmel which was not the route heretofore. These changes were problematic because the parish has 9:30 and 11:00 AM Masses. Access and the noise level would be serious issues. The litter and trash in the aftermath of this parade is incredible. The church has a lengthy and mostly open property line on Belmont and will probably experience an unpleasant litter problem.

    Mount Carmel’s pastor requested parishioners to protest the routing and time by writing officials and signing a petition. Over 800 people signed the petition.

    Mount Carmel is a gay-friendly parish. The pastor is not anti-gay. He is not against the celebration, just the timing and routing. The parish for decades has hosted the weekly Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach Mass.

    The apparent resolution as I understand it is to move the parade to a noon start with the revised routing to remain. By the time the parade reaches the parish, the conflict with the 11 AM Mass should be a non-issue.

    Certain people in the gay community have probably vindictively over-reacted to the parish’s legitimate concern. Unfortuanately the Cardinal’s response has not been helpful. According to a newspaper account today, the Mount Carmel pastor never contacted the cardinal as he regarded it a local issue.

  8. Rev. Dr. John J McNeill
    Rev. Dr. John J McNeill says:

    There is an ancient saying:”Those whom the Gods intend to destroy they first render stupid’ I thing this applies to recent statements about glbt Catholics by Cardinals Gerorge and Dolan. Thheologically I see this as part of God’s plan to eliminate patriarchal authority in the Catholic church and render it the democratic church Jesus meant it to be based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
    Rev. Dr. John McNeill

  9. Charles Niblick
    Charles Niblick says:

    Since his arrival in Chicago, Cardinal George has never missed an opportunity in his weekly column in the newspaper of the archdiocese to take a mean spirited and judgmental approach toward, especially gay men (I don’t think he understands that women can even have sexual orientation or that sexual identity is not the same as genital design).
    I sincerely believe that the Cardinal projects the rejection that he received from the Archdiocese of Chicago when he was not acceptable because of his polio caused physical limits onto gay men. He is afraid to be angry at the male leadership that found him wanting and still carries enormous anger that in the clerical culture is often projected onto men and to the heart of maleness. Gay men in a weird way, we all know, have found a home in the Catholic priesthood and there is a lot of anger by gay men who are angry at being found wanting.
    I pray that someday he allows himself to be gently held in the arms of a man who will love him and not find him flawed.

  10. newwaysministryblog
    newwaysministryblog says:

    Charles asserts that it is likely that Cardinal George is gay. While I think that it is accurate to say that there are many gay men in the priesthood and the hierarchy, I have trouble with speculating about any one person’s orientation in particular. It is difficult, if not impossible to be able to discern that. Equally difficult to discern is someone’s response to a physical ailment such as polio. Unless one were privy to Cardinal George’s inner psyche, it is hard to make such a particular judgment.

    Francis DeBernardo

    • Charles Niblick
      Charles Niblick says:

      I do not assert that he is gay, I assert that he is angry and projects his anger inaccurately toward gay men which by virtue of being gay are worthy of scapegoating, i.e. carrying his misdirected anger. I am aware that this is a large leap and, inevitably, unfair, but it explains to me his consistent and predictable demonizing of gay men. The anger from the polio is pure conjecture, i know, but the record was that he was not accepted as were many other people based on “accidental” physical conditions as well as ethnicity, race, and nationality.
      I am not privy to his private psyche, of course, but elementary pastoral counseling would indicate a red flag when such consistent demonizing of another comes from one with an obvious perceived limitation.


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