Writing for Chicago Sun-Times today, columnist Neil Steinberg thinks that if the Mormon God could change his mind about black folks, surely Catholic bishops like Thomas Paprocki or cardinals like Francis George can begin to change their minds about the gays. Steinberg suggests that Paprocki aim his proposed exorcism of the gays at his own heart, given the harm he and other rabidly anti-gay Catholic leaders are inflicting on the church itself through their open expressions of disdain for gay people:
There is a harm here, and at some point the hurt being inflicted shifts from the traditional victim — the LGBT community — to the people doing the baseless slurring. In 1974, 47 percent of Catholics attended mass once a week, according to Pew Research. In 2012, it was almost exactly half that, 24 percent. Compare this to Protestant church attendance, which went up in that same period, from 29 percent to 38 percent.
Exorcise that, fellows. And while we can’t lay the blame entirely on intolerance of gays or marginalizing women — the endless sex-abuse scandal no doubt had a hand — the numbers still reflect what happens when you put a medieval doctrine above people.
None of this is loving, none of this is ministering to souls. It is a mean, small, fearful gazing beneath the sheets — a church tradition, yes, but now clearly jamming their noses into realms where they never belonged and belong even less today.