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Cardinal George denounces gay marriage in letter
by Matt Simonette

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In a letter that he asked to be included in all church bulletins throughout the Chicago Archdiocese Nov. 17, Cardinal Francis George predicted dire consequences as a result of same-sex marriage coming to Illinois.

The letter read as follows:

"As you all know, the State of Illinois has entered into law the recognition of same-sex unions as marriages. The Church was part of the public debate, as you also know. We tried to explain that this is not primarily a religious issue, since marriage comes to us from nature as the union of a man and a woman, long before Christ walked the earth or the state came into being."

"Nevertheless, there will be consequences for the Church and society that will become clearer as the law is used to sue for discrimination. The law has made some gays and lesbians happy, and that is not a bad thing in itself. The law, however, is bad law because it will contribute over the long run to the further dissolution of marriage and family life, which are the bedrock of any society. The Church will therefore continue and strengthen her ministry to families. We have lived with bad laws before, and we will do our best to adjust to this one for the sake of social harmony."

"One of the consequences for our religion is already evident in the misuse of Pope Francis' words, spoken last summer, about our attitude toward an individual gay person who has asked God for forgiveness. The Pope was not speaking about approving gay marriage. To use his words against his teaching, as they were used on the floor of the State House of Representatives on November 5, is less than intellectually honest."

"We are called, by reason of our belief that every person is made in God's image and likeness, to love and respect all of our brothers and sisters, without exception. But we express this respect within the context of our belief in how God has made us and made the world. This belief and this love is the basis of our joy in living the Catholic faith with integrity of mind and heart."

Gov. Quinn will sign the legislation Nov. 20 at the UIC Forum.

George has been a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, and publicly spoke out against SB10. He turned in a perfunctory letter of resignation—required of all cardinals when they reach age 75—to Pope Benedict in early 2012. Popes may choose to ignore a resignation, and Benedict never appointed a replacement, nor has Pope Francis.

George said after writing the letter that he anticipated being on the job another two or three years, but "the Cardinal has no plans to retire soon," his spokesperson, Colleen Dolan, told Chicago Sun-Times in October.

A dinner will be given in honor of George at the Drake Hotel Dec. 18. Members of Gay Liberation Network are expected to protest.

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