Cardinal George…..What Would Jesus Do?

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?

39 thoughts on “Cardinal George…..What Would Jesus Do?”

  1. I’m a little late to comment on this but, FYI:

    This parade is a serious, fairly well run operation, and the organizers have more than a decade of experience doing it. They anticipated the logistical issues with getting parishioners in and out of the church, and had a plan in place to use volunteers and barricades to re-route traffic in and out of the Church’s parking lot via alleys and alternate streets, rather than off the large street/parade route in front. Other than some noise, this church as zero logistical grounds to complain, particularly given, as Dan stated above, numerous other churches and synagogues have had no real logistical problems being on the parade route.

    Cardinal George is generally not an idiot, so this sort of weirdness is surprising. Maybe it’s advancing age, maybe, given the child molestation+coverup scandal, he’s a bit unhinged on the LGBT/homophobia issues? (WTF does he think he’s doing using the phrase “gay liberation movement”? Does he think this is 1982? Is he trying to use some sort of Republican Newspeak to tie this part of the Civil Rights movement to “animal liberation” activism? Ugh. Who knows….)

  2. My take on the Cardinal is that he is analogous to the mob boss of a crime syndicate of pedophiles who is jaeolous of what he perceives to be a rival group, not gang, of unorganized folks who are, like he, gay, but not so connected, organized, protected, self confident, blinded by lack of contrition. as he. The odd looking fellow needs to be liberated from his demons. Could anyone even imagine going to this schmuck for Confession?

  3. Male child molesters who molest boys are not “gay.” They are opportunists who will molest whatever gender of child who is available and vulnerable. They are not expressing a sexual “preference.” They are not acting out of a sexual “desire.” They are acting out of a need for power and domination. Why is that so hard to understand? Everyone knows that about the rape of adult women. Why do so few of you understand that about the rape of children?

  4. James,
    I agree that it might be sour grapes on the Cardinal’s part, but I think it is evidence of a deeper problem with him and many leaders in the Church.

  5. Christ long ago fled the catholic church, if he ever attended. The most important point of this story is that the cardinal lost. Whatever he says, chalk it up to sour grapes, and let his institution crumble apace. He deserves no further attention, unless we receive news of his excommunication, and then only as a curious footnote.

    For apologists who had to drag in pedophiles and equate them to LGBT people, the weakness of your argument in 2011 is belied by the cardinal’s loss. It’s a sign you should reflect on your demonization of people with whom you disagree, and stow the made-up sin crap. One who thinks they are consuming flesh and blood each week is CERTAINLY leading an “alternative lifestyle,” so watch your mouth.

  6. I am a Chicagoan whose family has lived in this neighborhood since 1927, I have watched dozens of these parades, I have never heard of another church objecting to the gay pride parade. There are numerous churches and 3 synagogues along the current parade route – Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, conservative & reform & modern orthodox Jewish, and at least 3 evangelical protestant church congregations. Many churches across the Midwest join in the parade seeking members and positive community relations. This particular catholic church congregation and this cardinal suddenly seem to think they deserve a special privilege to stop a 43-year old parade. Even the massive national Salvation Army Officers Training headquarters (the Salvation Army is not a very gay-supportive denomination), which has been in the exact middle of the parade route for 40+ years, has been gracious to the community and served refreshments to parade-goers in recent years. This seems to reflect the spirit of Christ so much better than does cardinal George.

  7. Since the catholic church does not allow gays to be members (in fact in Chicago, the cardinal has required parishes to refuse communion to those identifying as gay via wearing a rainbow sash), I fail to see how the priests molesting children could or should be called gay. They are evil sexual predators, but hardly gay. The vast majority of child sexual molestation is done by heterosexual men, often family members of the victim. Should heterosexual men be banned from the catholic priesthood? Perhaps they should be – my aunt was raped by a priest in the confessional and left the catholic church and never has gone back in decades.

    By the way, the cardinal did not “mis-speak” or randomly choose a poor analogy – he repeated his statements and made them even harsher after he was widely condemned for his words – on television, and then at least twice in the days afterwards, including on the church website – during the Christmas season. Then he refused further comment, pretending to be unavailable and “on vacation.” This man seems the antithesis of Christ – cardinal George has such a large ego that he seems unable to admit any wrong, or understand the inaccuracy of his comparisons.

  8. Cardinal Francis George’s words could be construed as being a counterfeit service to God. I would suggest that he talk with his spiritual adviser.

  9. Martin,
    The communion denial was not a comparison to the KKK. It was an example of Cardinal George’s welcoming approach to the LGBT community.
    Rainbow Sash,
    The article was not written by Professor Turley. For better or worse it was written by me as a guest blogger.

  10. rafflaw
    Yes I agree with your point that the KKK and LGBT are quite different.
    For one, the white people in the south were in power over a subjected class. The whites lost their entrenched social position in the CIvil War, and were forced (I think by northern armies) to live in a flipped society, with the subjected class in authority over them in both state and national offices. Like a balloon held underwater, there was a force acting against the new political reality, which materialized in the creation of a group of insurgents, dead enders, the KKK, for whom the war was not over, and dedicated to the proposition that the South shall rise again. Although reconstruction ended with the stolen election of Hayes over Tilden, the KKK seemed to still be a force for another 30 years judging by “Birth of a Nation” and Woodrow Wilson’s cameo.

    People coming to communion in rainbow sashes does not begin to be approach a similarity.

  11. Maybe I opened a can of worms (no pun intended) when I put the priest pedophiles into the same catagory as gays. And maybe the Klan has nothing to do with gays or pedophiles. The right to parade or to assemble to petition the government for the redress of grievances is the core principle of the First Amendment. Now we would not want the gay parade to confuse the issue of the pedophile priests. Or to desparage gays by alluding to priests. So, we need a separate group to parade past the churches in Chicago on Sunday morning between the first Mass and the second Mass so that the Masses see some things that they need to know. Since some of our government officials are Catholic we would want them to know and for them to be particularly “petitioned”. So we need a parade against priest pedophiles. I will fly to Chicago and join the parade. Thanks Cardinal whats your name for bringing this to fore.

  12. I am wondering if the man of the cloth has ever read any information about Jesus and his band might be, being a little out there themselves….I wonder if he;d refuse Jesus the sacrament…Just wondering….ah yes…this is my fathers house…maybe he’d throw the money changers out…this time for good….nah that was the Jews he did that to….oh yeah…would…the good man give a Jew wine if he wanted it….Yes up and until around 300 AD…they would have been delighted to….

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