Main | Saturday, January 07, 2012

CHICAGO: Cardinal George Apologizes

"During a recent TV interview, speaking about this year's Gay Pride Parade, I used an analogy that is inflammatory. I am personally distressed that what I said has been taken to mean that I believe all gays and lesbians are like members of the Klan. I do not believe that; it is obviously not true. Many people have friends and family members who are gay or lesbian, as have I. We love them; they are part of our lives, part of who we are.

"I am deeply sorry for the hurt that my remarks have brought to the hearts of gays and lesbians and their families. I can only say that my remarks were motivated by fear for the Church's liberty. This is a larger topic that cannot be explored in this expression of personal sorrow and sympathy for those who were wounded by what I said." - Cardinal Francis George, in an apology posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

George's initial statement caused a firestorm of bad press, with both newspaper editorial boards and national LGBT groups joining to denounce his words. Truth Wins Out last week ran a full-page Chicago Tribune ad demanding George's resignation. Reactions to the apology are below.

Equality Illinois
It appears that the Cardinal has had a chance to reflect on the deeply hurtful and destructive statement he had made on Christmas day in comparing the movement for LGBT equality to the Ku Klax Klan. His apology is important and will go some way toward healing the pain he has caused. However, his actions will speak louder than words, and we will be paying attention to see if his words translate into acts of dignity and respect towards LGBT people," said Bernard Cherkasov, Chief Executive Officer of Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest organization advocating for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Truth Wins Out
"We called for Cardinal George's resignation but we think remorse is a positive step in the right direction," said TWO's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "It is gratifying to see the Cardinal take personal responsibility for the hurt he has caused and we hope this incident leads to improving relations with the LGBT community."
Gay Liberation Network
This is completely disingenuous. No one was challenging the church's "liberty." Even though George himself has done everything he can to prevent legal equality for LGBTs, we have never in turn insisted that the church be forced to perform same-sex marriages, for example, any more than others have insisted that it be forced to perform marriages for divorcees. Furthermore, apologies, in order to be real, need to be issued directly to those wronged. A web posting is about as passive a delivery of an apology as you can get. Cardinal George could have picked up the phone and called an LGBT journalist and had a genuine dialog about the issues. Moreover, his original slam against "the Gay Liberation Movement" sounded like it was directed at the Gay Liberation Network, which has led demonstrations against his support of discrimination on several occasions, and he could have delivered an apology to GLN.
NOTE: Gay Liberation Network says that despite Cardinal George's apology, they will go through with tomorrow's planned noon protest outside Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral.

UPDATE: GLN has called off the protest after all. "While canceling the January 8 protest, we are redoubling our efforts to secure participation in the Freedom to Marry Day demonstration scheduled for Sunday, February 12 at 10:30 AM in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, Chicago."

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