Thursday, August 29, 2013

Francis Cardinal George does not speak for all Catholic jurisdictions

In recent times the Roman Catholic Archbishop for Chicago has been making his personal and ecclesial views about the GLTB community rather well known.  First let me say that as the pastoral leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, he has the right and obligation to advocate the ecclesiology and pastoral positions of his jurisdiction and in doing so, I shall respect and defend his right to do so on behalf of his jurisdiction.

What I am willing to take issue with on this matter is the assertion or implication that the views being expressed by the Cardinal Archbishop for the Roman jurisdiction reflects the ecclesiology and pastoral theology of all catholic jurisdictions and of all who hold and celebrate the catholic faith – for this is not so.

As Bishop for the Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest, I respectfully wish to state that on the matter of marriage equality, the Evangelical Catholic Church long-ago advocated this matter as part of our commitment and fidelity to the precepts found in the theology of Social Justice and Peace.  In addition, the Evangelical Catholic Church also committed itself to respecting the dignity and rights of all members of the family of God in keeping with Pauline theology.

I believe that it would be right and just for me to say that our catholic jurisdiction declines to become obsessed and neurotic with the concept of “pelvic theology,” nor would I or our jurisdiction attempt to infer that our ecclesiology is binding upon members of other catholic jurisdictions.  The inference of the Cardinal Archbishop for the Roman jurisdiction that all Catholics living within the boundaries of his See and metropolitan domain are subject to his dictate is ethically unacceptable.  The inference and dynamics of authority being advocated by the Cardinal Archbishop is that all Catholics, regardless of their jurisdictional membership, are subject to the dictates of the Roman jurisdiction. This is akin to China’s view of Taiwan.   It is the political view of China that there can only be ONE China and the people of Taiwan are part of China and the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago is applying this philosophy to advocate that all Catholics can only be part of the Roman jurisdiction and that there can never be any valid celebration or expression of the catholic faith outside of it.

The public statements by the Cardinal Archbishop expressing his views and the views of his jurisdiction regarding equality and human rights has become much more that his demands for universal compliance to the ecclesiology of his jurisdiction.  It has placed an unfair burden upon other catholic jurisdiction who are perceived as to sharing his view and the views of his jurisdiction. As the Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest I must protect my community from this.

There are many avenues of commonality that is shared by each of the catholic jurisdictions.  Sadly on the matter of human rights and equality our two jurisdictions travel different roads.  I would recommend that as the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago continues to speak his views and the views of his jurisdiction on this subject that he clarifies that he is speaking only for himself and his jurisdiction and not for other catholic jurisdictions.

We respectfully remind all that we are not an ecclesial Taiwan.

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