In the days following Chicago Cardinal Francis George’s comparison that the LGBT movement could “morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," LGBT-affirming Catholics have spoken out against such harmful words and for the unity of their church with the LGBT community.
Equally Blessed, a coalition of pro-LGBT Catholic organizations condemned the words, stating, “LGBT people, their families, and their allies have no struggle with the Catholic Church. Recent surveys have demonstrated that its members are more supportive of LGBT equality than any other Christian denomination.” They call for improved language concerning LGBT people coming from Catholic leadership.
More locally, Dignity Chicago board member Martin Grochala stated, “The Cardinal is missing an opportunity for the church to demonstrate true and authentic ministry with the LGBT community. Instead of creating a conflict, we found a compromise that worked for both the parish and for the parade. Let’s celebrate that compromise as a way to build up community, not tear it down."
The Cardinal’s comments have also prompted a petition to uninvite him to be the commencement speaker at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. So far, the petition has garnered over 450 signatures, including current students, alumni, and community members. GLAAD reached out pro-LGBT Catholic families connected to St. Norbert. These family members stressed what a welcoming and inclusive place St. Norbert is, and that they didn’t want that inclusive community to be broken. Loretta Larkey of De Pere said, “Cardinal George has become a polarizing figure, and not one who exemplifies the love of Christ. I would prefer to have a commencement speaker who can exemplify that love.” Her husband put it even more strongly, “There is a huge disconnect between Catholic hierarchy and Catholic people. By condemning gay and lesbian people in this manner, it pushes faithful people away from the church. By doing so, the hierarchy acts in such a sad, un-Christian way.”
The Catholic leadership continues to promote positions that are severely out of touch with the vast majority of Catholics in America. GLAAD joins Equally Blessed, Dignity, Fortunate Families and the vast majority of Catholics in encouraging peaceful, faithful dissent to harmful statements from Catholic leadership.