On Friday, January 6, Cardinal George of Chicago posted an apology on the archdiocese Web site for his earlier remarks to a Chicago news station, comparing the Chicago Gay Pride to the Ku Klux Klan.
This is a good step, but clearly more steps between the cardinal and the Chicago lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied community in Chicago are going to be necessary. But without this step the cardinal has taken, it would have been difficult to imagine further progress.
The cardinal made his apology because he had responded, in that earlier news interview, to a question about the new route for Gay Pride in 2012, “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.” Gay rights groups and others immediately protested, even calling for the cardinal’s resignation.
The cardinal’s apology said, in part, “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.”
He went on to say, “I am deeply sorry for the hurt that my remarks have brought to the hearts of gays and lesbians and their families.”
This apology was issued on Friday, January 6, in advance of a planned rally by gay rights groups to protest the cardinal’s earlier remarks. Though the rally was then officially cancelled, a handful of protestors did show up. Generally gay rights groups, like DignityUSA, as seen here on their Facebook page, however, have accepted the apology though they deem it inadequate.
Clearly more is needed.
One interesting aspect of this recent apology was the cardinal’s explanation of his motivation for the original remarks; Cardinal George told the Chicago Tribune, in regards to his original remarks, “When I was talking, I was speaking out of fear that I have for the church’s liberty.” He went on to say, “Sometimes fear is a bad motivation.”
Fear is a bad motivation. Building relationship is a good motivation and it can be a good next step.
I invited Cardinal George to take a literal step and join Chicago Theological Seminary in our group at Chicago Gay Pride 2012. I renew the invitation.
Apologies can help reduce some of the pain of the past, but what is always needed for peaceful resolution of conflict is to build a new future.