According to ABC News Chicago, Cardinal George has began to backtrack on comments likening gay activists to the Ku Klux Klan, even after earlier refusing to do so.
Last week Chicago’s Roman Catholic leader, Cardinal Francis George, decried a rerouting of the 2012 June LGBT Pride parade route to a path that would take the march in front of a Catholic church. The Cardinal caused an uproar, saying “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.”
Initially the Cardinal refused to apologize or renounce his comments, but facing criticism on Christmas Sunday, the Cardinal sought to downplay his comments.
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“Obviously, it’s absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan, but if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshiping God, well then that’s the comparison, but it’s not with people and people — it’s parade-parade,” George said Sunday.
When the Cardinal made his comments, initially on a Chicago Fox station, a reporter asked him if his comparison between the LGBT community and the Ku Klux Klan were too harsh, but the Cardinal said no.
“It is, but you take a look at the rhetoric,” George responded. “The rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.”
The organizers of Chicago Pride had already been in talks with the gay-friendly Catholic Church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, whose concerns had been characterized as being about the timing of the parade coinciding with parishioners leaving the church after Sunday morning mass. The church is located just outside of Chicago’s famous ‘Boystown’ gay neighborhood.
According to the news network, Cardinal George plans to send a letter of resignation to the Vatican after his 75th birthday next month. The resignation appears not to be related to the calls among the LGBT community for the Cardinal’s resignation, as ABCnews notes all bishops are required to do so. Chicago will await a decision on whether or not Pope Benedict XVI will accept the resignation.