In a Los Angeles Times article by Maria L. La Ganga about the selection of Salvatore Cordileone for the position of archbishop of San Francisco, Jesuit Father Thomas Reese is cited saying, re: the Vatican and the U.S. bishops on marriage equality,
I'll say. The same La Ganga story reports that Cordileone told interviewers recently that "gays and lesbians who are in sexual relationships of any kind . . . should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, the central ritual of Catholic life."
And right on the heels of Cordileone's preceding atrociously anti-pastoral and anti-catholic statement comes the following story about Cardinal George in Chicago, past president of the U.S. Bishops' Conference. According to this CBS news report, on this past Sunday, as he presided over a Mass at which 400 couples renewed their marriage vows in Holy Name cathedral, George used the occasion to knock his gay brothers and sisters by characterizing their committed marital relationships as "friendships."
And then he chose to continue the political use of this occasion on which couples from around the state had gathered for a liturgical celebration of their 50th anniversaries by speaking about how marriage equality undermines "real" marriage, which has always been defined, George maintained, as the marriage of one man and one woman.
I suppose that more than anything else, what appalls me about the style of "pastoral" "leadership" the top leaders of the Catholic church now routinely exhibit is its downright tackiness. You'd think a man recently arrested for DUI might be just a tad bit abashed about climbing right back onto his moral high horse and riding roughshod over his gay and lesbian brothers and sisters--to score political points.
And you'd think a man who brought national disgrace on himself by comparing a gay pride parade to a Ku Klux Klan march might have been just a wee bit chastened by the widespread revulsion that ugly remark elicited, and would think twice about launching into similarly ugly invective about the gays at the celebration of a group of long-married Catholic couples. Who came to the Chicago cathedral to give thanks to God for their 50 years together.
Not to hear a political slam against some members of their community--and, in all likelihood, against some members of their own families. Because it's absolutely certain that many of those in the cathedral on the Sunday on which George dropped his anti-gay bombshells have gay sons and daughters and gay brothers and sisters.
Beyond tacky. And eminently unpastoral, since what Cordileone and George (and their confreres in the top echelons of the Catholic church) are doing is all about driving gay and lesbian folks away from the Catholic church. Informing us we're unwelcome. That our lives don't count.
That we're less human than they themselves are. That their welcome table has no place for us. That we'd best absent ourselves from the community of the holy and good, whom Cordileone and George represent and to which they comfortably belong.
Beyond tacky, eminently unpastoral, and deeply uncatholic. But it's the course on which the top leadership of the Catholic church is now set, for weal or woe, and as Tom Reese rightly notes, they don't intend to turn back from it.
No matter how many folks get hurt.
Hat tip to John Aravosis at Americablog Gay for the link to the Chicago story, and to Ed Kennedy at AfterElton for the link to the Cordileone story.
The graphic is Ernst Barlach's woodcut "Barmherziger Samariter" (1919), from Wikimedia Commons.