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Cardinal George Condemns Gay Catholic Ministry

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Feb 12, 2010 9:40PM

2010_02_12_cardinalgeorge.jpg It seems we spoke too soon last week when we defended Cardinal Francis George, Chicago Archbishop and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops top dog, against gay activists' call for protest of the Holy Name Cathedral Sunday. Last week, Cardinal George issued a statement condemning the Washington, D.C. area's New Ways Ministry, which identifies as a "gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities." In what's being described as an "unprovoked attack" against the ministry, George said the ministry does not provide "an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching."

"I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States."

Reportedly, New Ways co-founders Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent have been scolded multiple times, dating back to 1984, for their defiance of the Church's stance on homosexuality, and were reportedly instructed by the Vatican to sign a document stating "homosexual acts are intrinsically evil, evil by their very nature."

Current New Ways executive director Francis DeBernardo responded, saying the cardinal's statement "will not impede or slow us in our efforts to work for justice for lesbian/gay people in the Church and society." DeBernardo claims the ministry was not contacted by the U.S. Conference. They only learned of the statement through media reports.

"If the USCCB had concerns about our ministry, why didn’t they contact us before a judgment was made? Why was New Ways Ministry not given an opportunity to explain our positions?" asked DeBernardo.

The picket of Holy Name Cathedral, in honor of National Freedom to Marry Day, is on for Sunday, Valentine's Day, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The picket's goal is to "highlight the role the Church’s leadership has played in promoting inequality."