Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal's Comparison Is Nonsensical

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal's Comparison Is Nonsensical

Article excerpt

Whether Chicago's Cardinal Francis George went into a Dec. 21 television interview intending to compare the gay community with the Ku Klux Klan or impulsively gave voice to something that popped into his mind at the moment, it is clear that he welcomed any opportunity to pick a fight.

His incendiary comment, spur of the moment or not, betrays a larger context that, in the cardinal's universe, is no secret. And that context is that anti-Catholic hordes--gays, materialists, certainly The New York Times, politicians who won't hew their views and strategies to the Catholic line, and other societal forces--lurk around every corner and are largely responsible for all the church's troubles.

Serious issues--of conscience and principle, of clashes between the state's obligations and church teachings--do indeed exist and are fair game for religious leaders to address.

But a cardinal who assesses a conflict between the time and route of a Gay Pride Parade and a Catholic Mass with the line, "You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," diminishes any standing the church might still have in the public arena. The important issues get buried beneath the understandable outrage such comments invite. His words were not only embarrassingly imprudent, they are nonsensical as historical comparison.

The facts also defy the cardinal's assertion that he was backing up a pastor. …

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