“When you get to know someone on a human level, see that they are human just like you and have similar struggles and the same deepest yearnings, you cannot hate them.” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone
I read my blog’s first negative comment the other day. (See below: “What We Are For.”)
I am a hater, the commentator said, because I wish celibacy and loneliness upon gay people. Celibacy and loneliness are bad. Because those states of being are bad, I wish bad things upon gay people. Therefore, I “hate” gay people.
Such a conversation doesn’t really leave much room for discussion about the meaning of hatred.
Or about Christian love and what it means.
Or about how the Church has not been receptive to the idea of ministry to those who struggle with same sex attraction. How the Church hasn’t felt like a safe place for someone who may need to say, “Here is my struggle. Will someone walk with me in it?”
On the same day I read that comment, I also read an article about Pope Francis coming to America. The ten page spread in the September 18 edition of Newsweek asks the question, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Within the article, author Alexander Nazaryan brings the assumption of hate to the table of Catholicism when he asks gay Catholics “how they can remain part of a faith that seems to loathe them.”
Nazaryan seems unable to comprehend a pope who asks, “Who am I to judge?” but who then does not endorse gay marriage.
He also seems to struggle to reconcile a comparison of this pope to Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, overseer of the San Francisco Archdiocese. Cordileone, appointed by Pope Benedict, is the “top anti-gay,” the driving force behind California’s Proposition 8, affirming marriage as between one man and one woman in 2008.
Contrasting Cordileone’s pro-family activities with his presence at Wednesday night dinners at the Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco is also a paradox. Nazaryan writes:
“Archbishop Cordileone has served food at the . . . dinners. He knows the church is home to gay Catholics, yet everyone I spoke to said he takes great pleasure in the event. His presence there shows ‘a softer, more pastoral side’ of the otherwise severe archbishop, noted the National Catholic Reporter, which insisted that his appearance there was no media ploy: ‘He waited on tables without fanfare, requesting that no photographs be taken.'”
Nazaryan is not alone in his confusion. The world is confused by our, as they see it, stridency on issues like abortion and same sex marriage.
Even so, Nazaryan reminds us that during “the worst of the AIDS crisis,” the Most Holy Redeemer Church “ran a hospice in what had been a convent.”
That doesn’t sound like loathing to me.
Nazaryan presents Cordileone as “grating, offensive, flat-footed and righteous in the most elemental sense,” but quotes “prominent Catholic observer, George Weigel: ‘Absolutely nothing the archbishop has said is inconsistent with what Pope Francis says and teaches . . . although it may be inconsistent with media fictions about the pope.”
Fiction or fact. Where is the hate? They cannot find it in dinners for the homeless, in care for victims of AIDS, or in help for women in crisis pregnancies.
They find it in our yearning to remain faithful to truth.
Nazaryan says of Cordileone, “He knows what God wants from him, and it isn’t flattering headlines.”
May we be faithful in love and truth.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”