Another Nugget of Gold From Cardinal George’s Apology

The good news that Cardinal George’s apology for his insensitive comments comparing the LGBT rights movement to the Ku Klux Klan has produced another “nugget of gold” in terms of hope for the future.

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

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6 Responses to Another Nugget of Gold From Cardinal George’s Apology

  1. neodecaussade says:

    Dear Francis, I can feel your hopefulness. Changes are needed to bring Church leadership attitudes closer to LGBT. This is clearly a huge burden for you, and I pray you can get some relief from your burden.

    I thought your identification of the good Cardinal’s hypocritical statements was right on the mark. You didn’t say this, but I will; the words of Cardinal George are disingenuous and mere political pandering. Respect is a two-way street and respect is earned. If the Cardinal wants respect from the people who sit in the pews on Sunday he is going to have to earn it through his actions not his words. If he wants to earn the respect of the LGBT faithful he won’t get a pass for holding an interview and saying “my bad.”

    I too have hopefulness in the attitudes of Church leadership. I hope I was able to validate your feelings of anger at the hypocrisy of Cardinal George’s weak attempts at salving the woulds he created. I also pray that you never lose your hopefulness that change will come about in the attitudes of Church leaders regarding the LGBT faithful. The Church needs you and your experience to make it strong.

    God bless,

    • Thanks for adding your comments. Just to clarify, truly this is not a burden for me. I do what I do out of a sense of responding as best I can because of how I understand the gospel call to live in the world. I findI am empowered, not depleted from my work. This sense of empowerment comes in no small part from witnessing the incredible loving courage from so many folks at the grassroots and in the middle management of the church. Their example and suppport keep me going, and I am grateful.

      –Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

    • I also agree with your statement that actions, not words, are what are needed from the hierarchy. Back on December 27, 2011, we suggested the cardinal pass out water at the Pride parade this year. That simple work of mercy would be a grand gesture. You can read that post here: http://wp.me/p21uEP-9J . We also repeated that suggestion in our first posting about the cardinal’s apology: http://wp.me/p21uEP-cL .

  2. Stephen says:

    The problem is with the word judge. The Catholic church should not be judging anyone or anything if they claim to be following Christ. And yes, they do need to change their teachings in many areas. They need to be changed to more resemble Christ. Unfortunately, they are unable to quickly admit they are wrong about anything or that they make human error and mistakes. Somehow, if you say the church is falliable, they take it like you are saying Jesus never existed. It’s time to grow up.

  3. From where I sit, as long as Catholic moral theology is based on the natural law, as opposed to a positivism and phenomenology, there will be no movement on matters sexual including GLBT issues. This is the dominant line from Aristotle through Augustine through Thomas Aquinas producing a rarified understanding of human nature.

    The product of this is the bizarre notion that the only ethical purpose of sperm is to produce progeny and every sexual act must be open to that reality. Thus we get stultified arguments about birth control, masturbation, and homosexuality.

    I believe the challenge is a philosophical one that has been wrapped by theology. The Cardinal can “talk” with others until Christ comes again, but without a major paradigm shift, I don’t see how things will change. Even outside of the sex-abuse scandal, is there any wonder why the majority of Roman Catholics do not find credibility in the Church’s teaching on sexual matters? The construct is the problem.

  4. [...] an update to the apology, DeBernardo published a comment the cardinal made to the local [...]

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