On Easter Talk Shows, Cardinals Call for Pastoral Outreach, Religious Liberty, and Civil Unions

Easter Sunday morning turned out to be an opportunity for senior Catholic clerics to hit the airwaves with messages about LGBT issues.  Not a surprise, given the fact that the Supreme Court heard two cases this past week about marriage equality.

Yesterday, we reported on New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan message of pastoral outreach to lesbian and gay Catholics. We urged him to open a dialogue with lesbian and gay people as the way to follow through with his suggestion that church leaders need to listen better to those who feel alienated from the church.  Cardinal Dolan also took the opportunity to defend the hierarchy’s view that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Washington, DC’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl also made a television appearance yesterday in which he discussed welcoming lesbian and gay people, but his outreach was a little more restrained.  Speaking on Fox News Sunday,  Wuerl was asked if the Catholic church should welcome gay and lesbian couples who are legally married.  His answer, according to the news website Rawstory, was:

“. . . we do that same thing with people who are married, divorced and remarried.  We say, you know, you’re still part of the family, but we can’t recognize that second marriage. It’s never been a great problem. It’s painful for all of us to have to realize that making our way through life is difficult and that we can’t always be as perfect as we like to be.”

Cardinal Wuerl should check with remarried people to see if, in fact, they feel as welcomed by the church as he thinks they should be.

Wuerl also used his television appearance to make a quasi-religious liberty argument, saying that those who, like himself, oppose marriage equality need to be tolerated better by society:

“The only thing I worry about is someone saying to me, ‘You, because you believe that sex is intended for marriage and because you believe that marriage is indissoluble and because you believe that marriage is between a man and a woman that somehow you don’t belong here, that somehow this is bigotry or this is hate speech.’ That’s what I worry about. There has to be room enough in a society as large, as free as pluralistic as America to make space for all of us.”

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

Wuerl’s predecessor as Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick appeared on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt, and defended the idea of civil unions for lesbian and gay couples.   The Christian Science Monitor reports:

“Cardinal McCarrick said he has ‘no problem’ with civil unions for gay couples that confer the same rights as marriage.”

“I certainly would prefer that to what I could call ‘a marriage,’ in quotes,” Cardinal McCarrick said.

McCarrick joins a growing chorus of bishops, including Pope Francis who have endorsed civil unions as an alternative to marriage–a compromise that was unthinkable only a few years ago.

McCarrick also acknowledged that society faces more challenging tests to heterosexual marriage than marriage equality:

“ ‘Same-sex marriage is not at this point prevalent in our society, and probably won’t be’ because gays are a minority, McCarrick told Bloomberg. Children whose parents divorce or are born out of wedlock, he said, ‘find themselves out on a limb,’ which ‘is a serious problem in our society.’ ”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
  1. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
    Fran Rossi Szpylczyn says:

    It would be interesting for Cardinal Wuerl to speak with some of the people who call the parish office where I work and say the following, or something like it… “I know that because I am divorced that the church hates me.” Of course, I even get a call every now and then and says the same thing, only substituting gay for divorced. *sigh*

    What the church has done is to have sadly whipped people with the teachings, after having done such a lousy job of teaching them in the first place. Can I tell you how many people do not fully understand that divorce alone does not leave them out? Frankly, as someone who is married to a once-divorced person (with all proper tribunal paperwork and so forth to allow us to marry…) it is not at all clear.

    So what is or is not a great problem is not as easy-peasey as might be expressed by the Cardinal, with all due respect.

    How interesting to see the shift in language occur so quickly. It makes them seem even more disingenuous than ever, doesn’t it? I don’t say things like this lightly, under my own name, but I am loathe to add that it is what seems to be very true today. I’m all for movement, but let’s see sincerity and clarity follow, so that all might be one, and by all I do mean, all… I suppose I should be happy that some movement is happening, but it is so hard to trust it.

  2. pjnugent
    pjnugent says:

    “It’s never been a great problem” That just shows how out of touch Wuerl is, or the depth of his state of denial. It’s not a ;problem for him because he doesn’t have to live with it day by day.

  3. Mary
    Mary says:

    I am tired and weary of all of this waiting and hoping. I have a gay adult son who once taught Caholic theology to high school students and was a youth/music minister in the Catholic church but could no longer be involved while hiding his true identity.
    My husband and I have left the Catholic church and joined an ELCA church in our area. We found no support, sensitivity, or understanding in any of the Catholic churches in our area. We no longer felt cared for, connected or loved in the Catholic church. The teaching of the Catholic church and the church’s harsh treatment of gay persons have divided my family to the point where we now have two separate families- my gay son who now does not even consider himself Christian; and the rest of my children and grandchildren who are Catholics. I hope that someday the Pope, Cardinal, and Bishops etc., who are trying to protect families with their unloving rhetoric, realize how many families they are detroying in the process.

    • newwaysministryblog
      newwaysministryblog says:

      Dear Mary,

      I am so sorry to hear of all the pain that the Catholic hierarchy has caused you and your family. While I am sad that you had to leave Catholicism because no support was given you, I am glad that you found a
      spiritual home in the ELCA. Your story is one that all bishops need to hear.

      Francis DeBernardo

  4. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
    Fran Rossi Szpylczyn says:

    Mary’s comment breaks my heart. Having had the chance to open doors for people, I am grateful, but I am so deeply troubled when I read such words… I am sorry too, for such horrible pain. Like Francis DeBernardo, I am glad that you have found a place of welcome and respite.

    How tragic this is for our Church.

  5. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    It is difficult to believe that the comments being made by our brothers in scarlet come from a sincere, pastoral attitude and not from a frantic reaction to the humility being demonstrated by Pope Francis. When Representative Young (Alaska, R) called us wetbacks (I’m Latina), the overwhelming reaction from all quarters was for an apology and/ or resignation. I personally prefer knowing what a person truly thinks of me. If the Republican party is sincere about ethnic inclusivity in the GOP, I would welcome their staff, candidates and politicians taking anti-racism training. Likewise, my brothers in the USCCB, if you are sincere in being a true pastoral leader of the LGBTQA community, I would welcome your staff and you to take similar training. I’m sure Equally Blessed could arrange it. Ideally this would be done with no media fanfare. No picture ops. No film at eleven. Just come with an open mind and a heart broken open and ready to receive the Holy Spirit. And then realize that there is a lot of repentance, healing and embracing that needs to happen. May God bless you and our very human church.

  6. freecatholic808
    freecatholic808 says:

    Pope Francis can change things overnight–if the spirit moves him and Catholics make it very clear it’s past time for the church to turn the page on its history of sanctified bigotry.. He can start by repudiating –as braver churches have done–the hateful Doctrine of Discovery. A church that clings to something as objectionable as that has no business talking about the rights and wrongs of marriage for LGBT couples. The hypocrisy is getting very, very old.http://freecatholic808.com/2013/04/01/passover-seder-to-easter-letting-go-of-odious-orthodoxy/

  7. Robert
    Robert says:

    Basically, in the above interview Dolan half-heartedly regrets that the Church Hierarchy have up till now not found a more humane way to reject and condemn gay people… but up till now, they have not felt the need to try to find a more humane way, either! They have merely presumed that all of Society still loathed gay people as ever before, and that that loathing validated the Hierarchy’s hateful rhetoric, policies and campaigns. Now that things in Society (and perhaps also in the Church?) are changing, Dolan is suddenly concerned about how the message of rejection and condemnation will be received in the new more gay-accepting context… ultimately, for Dolan, it is still all about the Hierarchy’s image. How they and their message will be perceived. Not at all about justice and charity towards gay people. I am not fooled. Nor am I so desperate as to need to pretend that Dolan and Company are at all interested in listening to and trying to understand and care about gay people, or any people: as the son of a sicilian nobleman in the book and film Gattopardo says, “Things must change, in order that everything remain the same”. Cardinal Dolan seems to be looking for more loving words for the same old hateful policies. And as for saying that gay people might be wecomed by the Church as are remarreid divorced Catholics (!), thank you no! We all know how ”welcome” they are made to feel!

  8. Larry quirk
    Larry quirk says:

    They are all reading from their new script but they still don’t get it………it’s about LOVE ….but the hirarchy is all about spinning the message. We may love you but sit in the back of the church.


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  5. […] bishops made positive comments about LGBT people within Catholicism, including remarks by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Easter and several Vatican officials endorsing civil […]

  6. […] Ways Ministry repeats its offer to meet with Cardinal Dolan to help him understand effective ways of pastoral outreach to LGBT […]

  7. […] Bondings 2.0 had already reported about Cardinal McCarrick’s comments.  You can read the blog post about them here. […]

  8. […] On Easter Talk Shows, Cardinals Call for Pastoral Outreach, Religious Liberty, and Civil Unions (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com) […]

  9. […] Donald Wuerl of Washington, and his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, were also on Sunday morning news shows addressing the issue of gay rights and stressing that the Church needed to be welcoming. As […]

  10. […] Sunday, Cardinal Dolan spoke to the need for improved Catholic outreach to the LGBT community. Many Catholics questioned his sincerity, and they asked for dialogue on the hierarchy’s […]

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