Around the mid-1980’s a Chicago priest named Rev. Pat Lee started ministering to those impacted by AIDS or HIV.  At that point it was unclear what caused the virus.  Some believed the virus had mutated from being an opportunistic infection into being a virus like the common cold, spread through the air, and there was much fear about how to deal with the disease so priests who went ahead and were inclusive to the gay community were heros in their time.

Recently, however, a new issue has sparked debate.  The gay pride parade was slated to go past Mount Carmel Catholic church in Chicago, but the priest of that church protested, saying that people were not going to be able to go to church that Sunday.  A compromise was reached so that the church would not be affected.  What was not mentioned is that the Chicago marathon was allowed to go by that very church on a Sunday, and no mention was made as to the inconvenience to Mount Carmel.  In the midst of negotiations to move or reschedule the parade, Cardinal Francis George blatantly displayed his prejudice against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, saying, “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan.”  I didn’t realize that the cardinal even knew such a hip word, morph, especially when his views of the LGBT community are so dated.  Cardinal George continued, “The rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan and the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation movement people–who is the enemy?  The Catholic church.”

The message is clear:  sit down, sit down, sit down you’re rocking the boat.  Such inflammatory words are blatantly exclusive, not inclusive.  I have heard many times that God doesn’t make mistakes, even when it comes to gay individuals so I am confused by the cardinal’s comments.  I have heard that the official opinion of the Catholic church is that gay people must be treated with respect, compassion, and dignity.  Something is radically off here.

I myself did my undergrad degree in English at St. John’s University, a Catholic, Benedictine university.  Cardinal George makes me want to quit the Catholic church altogether.