Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
Earlier in the month, Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago angered gay rights activists by making an unfortunate comparison between the gay rights movement and the Ku Klux Klan. “Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, this week told a Chicago news station that he agreed with a local Roman Catholic church’s objections to the city’s recently-adjusted Gay Pride Parade route passing by its doors and warned that the parade could “morph into the Ku Klux Klan.” George made the comment Sunday on Fox Chicago when asked about Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s complaints that the parade passing by its Belmont Avenue location would force the church to cancel its morning mass. The church recently launched a petition urging the city to force parade organizers to adjust their plans. “I go with the pastor,” George told Fox. “He’s telling us that he won’t be able to have services on Sunday if that’s the case. You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.”‘ Huffington Post
If you were like me when you read Cardinal George’s words, you may have guessed that he was misquoted or taken out of context. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, he was given a chance to retrace his words, but instead of doing the Christian thing, he repeated his comments which I consider a slur. “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 Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.” The cardinal’s comments came a matter of days before the Gay Pride Parade organizers announced Wednesday that the pride start time, originally pushed back to 10 a.m. in an effort to curb public drinking, overcrowding and other safety hazards, would revert back to noon in order to stay clear of the church’s Sunday mass, according to the Windy City Times.” Huffington Post
I know everyone is human and can make mistakes, but Cardinal George has not admitted that his comparison was a mistake. “George — who initially backed off his incendiary comparison — is doubling down on his remarks in a written statement:
“The Chicago Gay Pride Parade has been organized and attended for many years without interfering with the worship of God in a Catholic church,” George wrote. “When the 2012 Parade organizers announced a time and route change this year, it was apparent that the Parade would interfere with divine worship in a Catholic parish on the new route. When the pastor’s request for reconsideration of the plans was ignored, the organizers 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 1940′s, 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. “It is terribly wrong and sinful that gays and lesbians have been harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm. These tragedies can be addressed, however, without disturbing the organized and orderly public worship of God in a country that claims to be free. I am grateful that all parties concerned resolved this problem by moving the Parade’s start time so as not to conflict with the celebration of Mass that Sunday.” Think Progress
I included the full statement from the Think Progress article in order to provide the full context of the Cardinal’s statement. I have a few questions after reading these disturbing comments from the head of the Catholic Archdiocese. Why would the local parish have to cancel its Sunday mass? Aren’t other events held on Sunday at the same time as the Gay Pride parade’s original start time? Why couldn’t the Mass proceed as usual? In one breath Cardinal George complains that having a parade would disturb the “public worship of God in a country that claims to be free”. I guess in the Cardinal’s world, only Catholics have the right to gather on a Sunday morning at 10:00 am.
I think the good Cardinal needs to take a refresher course in recent American History. The Ku Kluk Klan did indeed attempt to harass and abuse Catholics and Jews and Blacks, but the last time I checked, nowhere in the LGBT movement is it suggested that gays should block Catholics in their attempts to gather and worship on Sundays! All Cardinal George had to say was that he was grateful that an arrangement had been made to return the parade time to Noon. Cardinal George to his credit did comment that the LGBT community has been harassed and abused and called that harassment sinful. Has Cardinal George forgotten when he and his priests refused to offer Communion to LGBT members?
“After Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George denied the Eucharist to protesters wearing rainbow sashes on Pentecost Sunday, he and several gay activists said the problem wasn’t that the protesters were identifying themselves as homosexual but that they were using the Eucharist for a political statement. “When you come with a statement about yourself, that’s not the way to receive it,” said Cardinal George in an interview on the “Catholic Community of Faith” radio show May 28, two days before about a dozen members or supporters of the gay activist Rainbow Sash Movement were refused Communion at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral.” Catholic News
I guess it is a political statement to Cardinal George to wear the rainbow sashes to church. It would seem to me that it would be reasonable to claim that Cardinal George has a problem co-existing with the LGBT community and this latest episode is just icing on the cake. What do you think?
My final question to Cardinal George is, What Would Jesus Do?