Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cardinal George and KKK Discussion Continues: NCR Editorializes

In other news today: National Catholic Reporter's latest editorial casts a cold eye on Cardinal Francis George's recent attempt to compare his gay brothers and sisters to the Ku Klux Klan.  The editorial's bottom line: His Eminence's outrageous comparison "diminishes any standing the church might still have in the public arena."

I'll say it does.  This man is touted as the best and brightest the American episcopacy has to offer the Catholic church.  And if the slimy performance he gives on the recent news clip in which he throws out his outrageous comparison is any indication of the best and brightest the Catholic church has to offer the world, a whole lot of folks, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, are going to decide they want no part of this best and this brightest.

His Eminence's comments not only significantly diminish the standing of the church in the public arena.  They hurt.  And they do so deliberately.  They wound.  They tear.  They lacerate.

They wound, tear, and lacerate real human beings with real human hearts.  Who happen to be his brothers and his sisters.  And who happen to be actual the flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters--and mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles--of other human beings and other fellow Catholics.

The incredibly cruel bottom-line message that the Catholic hierarchy seeks at this point in history to give anyone who is gay is to get lost.  To disappear.  To stop being human, because the humanity of those who are gay is, in and of itself, an affront to "true" Catholics, and that humanity will be tolerated by "true" Catholics only insofar as it is hidden.

And that message is not lost on large numbers of vociferous hardline anti-gay Catholics who log in to sites like NCR when it publishes an editorial like this to make sure that their gay brothers and sisters know that the following is precisely what their "true" Catholic brothers and sisters think of them and their humanity:

Of course homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder. If a man tried to eat with his ear, he'd be disordered, too. You can make up defenses all you like, but nothing is going to make [it] natural.

The George KKK comments are also being discussed right now at NCR threads started by both Heidi Schlumpf and Robert McClory.  And I'm certainly aware of and grateful for the large number of Catholics who log into such discussions to show love for and solidarity with their brothers and sisters who happen to be gay.

But I'm also critically aware that the mean-spirited, vociferous hardline anti-gay Catholics who haunt these sites as well are far closer to the position represented by the pastoral leaders of the church.  And they know it, and they claim to speak with authority in the public square, representing "the" Catholic position faithfully in a period of reaction in which the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI have filled one episcopal see after another with men who represent the narrowest, meanest, and most anti-intellectual renderings of the Catholic tradition.

And who bring that tradition into serious disrepute in the public square, who embolden and give heart to loudmouthed bigots within and outside of the Catholic community, and who are driving away huge numbers of Catholics whose consciences can no longer abide the meanness and the stupidity.

The graphic is from Gay Star News, using the full-page ad about George's gays = Klan statement published by Truth Wins Out in the Chicago Tribune this past Sunday.

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