At the end of a Chicago Tribune news story, the reporter adds this interchange with the cardinal:
“ George said although church teaching does not judge same-sex relationships as morally acceptable, it does encourage the faithful to ‘respect everyone.’ “
” ‘The question is, “Does respect mean that we have to change our teaching?” That’s an ongoing discussion, of course. … I still go back to the fact that these are people we know and love and are part of our families. That’s the most important point right now.’ “
The “nugget of gold” here is the statement, “That’s an ongoing discussion, of course.” Usually when prelates say anything about the possibility of changing church teaching, the message is “Absolutely not. There’s no way the teaching can be changed. ” (Of course, the “teaching” referred to is the disapproval of same-sex relationships.)
As we stated yesterday, we hope that Cardinal George’s apology is the first step toward greater reconciliation between the LGBT community and the Catholic hierarchy. Today we add the hope that this moment will also be the first step toward greater acknowledgement and possibility that ongoing discussion can move church teaching forward.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry