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Cardinal George calls on parishioners to oppose gay marriage
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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Chicago's Archbishop wants Catholics to oppose efforts to pass same-sex marriage in Illinois.

With a vote on marriage equality possibly days away, Cardinal Francis George has issued a letter against same-sex marriage to parishes across the city, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

The letter has not yet been made publicly available, but the Chicago Tribune obtained and published a copy of it. Parishes are expected to publish it this Sunday.

The letter argues that the state cannot regulate what nature dictates to be impossible. "Civil laws that establish 'same sex marriage' create a legal fiction," the letter states.

LGBT leaders slammed the Cardinal's statements.

"He seems to be backing away from Scripture and church teachings to explain his resistance to Marriage Equality (sic) and places the whole debate under the mantle of reason and natural law," said Joe Murray, executive director of LGBT Catholic organization the Rainbow Sash Movement, in a statement. "If he is sincere about this I once again challenge him to a public debate at any Catholic College in Illinois. I am not afraid of reason or natural law, but bigotry is another matter."

The Civil Rights Agenda also denounced George's remarks.

"It is unfortunate for Cardinal George that he has chosen not to join the growing number of religious leaders and faithful lay people across Illinois — including many devout Catholics," said Rick Garcia, senior policy advisor of The Civil Rights Agenda, in a statement.

George has a history of angering LGBT Chicagoans. Last holiday season, he set off a firestorm of negative responses when he commented that the Pride Parade was at risk of morphing into something like the Ku Klux Klan. He later apologized for those comments.

The letter:

"Same-sex Marriage:" What do Nature and Nature's God say?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The Illinois General Assembly is being asked to consider a bill called "The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act." This is a deceptive title that ignores basic truths.

Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. It provides the biological basis for personal identity.

It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love. Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural

marriage. Civil laws that establish "same-sex marriage" create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.

Neither did the Church create marriage. The Church asks if a man and woman proposing to marry are mature, responsible and free, willing to commit themselves to one another before the Lord in the presence of the community of the faithful to a lifelong relationship of fidelity to one another and openness to the creation and care for new life in their children. Christ raised marital union to the dignity of a sacrament, giving it significance beyond that given it by nature; but, like

the State, the Church cannot change the natural basis of marriage. Does this mean that the Church is anti-gay? No, for the Church welcomes everyone, respects each one personally and gives to each the spiritual means necessary to convert to God's ways and maintain friendship with Christ.

The Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago has consistently condemned violence toward or hatred of homosexually oriented men and women. Good pastoral practice encourages families to accept all their children and not break relationships with them.

The Archdiocese offers Mass and other spiritual help to those who live their homosexuality anonymously (Courage groups) and also to those who want to be publicly part of the gay community (AGLO, which celebrates its twenty fifth anniversary this year). People live out their sexual identity in different ways, but the Church offers the means to live chastely in all circumstances, as the love of God both obliges and makes possible.

Also see

How do your Senators stack up on marriage, Jan. 1, 2013: .

Ill Marriage to be considered as early as tomorrow, Jan. 1, 2013: .

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