One week, the big headline news: "'I Love You, Too': Cardinal Dolan Says Catholic Church Must Embrace Gays and Lesbians."
A few months later, that's followed by another big headline: "Pope Francis: 'Who Am I to Judge Gay People?'"
But meanwhile (the devil's always in the details, isn't he?), and right on the heels of that last headline that was papal news heard around the world, I go to my Facebook page yesterday evening and read articles friends have shared with me, and see headlines like this:
"Priest Hates Gays So Much, He's Kicking Out the Boy Scouts." Click on that headline, and it leads to a Faithful America petition asking Bishop William P. Callahan to take action in the case of Father Derek Sakowski of Altoona, Wisconsin, who has put the Boy Scouts out of St. Mary's Catholic church because the Scouts accept openly gay members. I blogged about that story yesterday.
I also find in my Facebook feed the headline, "Rhode Island Gay Couple Denied Communion at Parish," from New Ways Ministry. This reports that after Lew Pryeor and Pierre Leveillee, a gay couple who have been together 34 years, married under Rhode Island's new marriage equality law, their parish priest, Father Brian Sistare of Sacred Heart church in Woonsocket, told them they're no longer welcome to receive communion.
This is another story about which I blogged yesterday: Father Sistare has allegedly notified Rhode Island legislators who voted for marriage equality that he intends to use his bully pulpit as a parish priest to try to block their chances of re-election. (For anyone who wants to know a bit more about Sistare, his biography is online at the website of Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, where he's chaplain. This notes that he's a graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville and a member of the Franciscan community featured constantly on Eternal Word Television Network, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
Father Sistare has a blog at Wordpress called "Proud to Be Catholic," which talks about the conviction that "us Catholics" need to muster these days to speak the TRUTH. And he had a Twitter page until, it seems, the last few days--but that page has now gone silent.)
My point, very simply: the headlines featuring His Eminence going on about how much he and his church love the gays, or the ones focusing on Pope Francis and his statements about not judging the gays, aren't going to mean a hill of beans to many people who read the news, as long as the ones about Father Sadowski and Father Sistare and St. Lucy's Priory school in Glendora, California, or Bishop Watterson high school in Columbus, Ohio, keep coming down the pike.
And they do keep right on coming down the pike, despite those nice headlines, as the list of previous stories to add to these most recent ones you'll find at the last link illustrates. American Catholics have miles and miles to go if they ever want to make those nice headlines about loving the gays more than window dressing in the real life of the American Catholic community.