Cardinal Francis George of Chicago apologized for comparing the gay pride parade to the Ku Klux Klan. The Chicago Tribune reports:
"I am truly sorry for the hurt my remarks have caused," George said in an interview with the Tribune. "Particularly because we all have friends or family members who are gay and lesbian. This has evidently wounded a good number of people. I have family members myself who are gay and lesbian, so it's part of our lives. So I'm sorry for the hurt."
"When I was talking, I was speaking out of fear that I have for the church's liberty and I was reaching for an analogy which was very inappropriate, for which I'm sorry," George said. "I didn't realize the impact of what I was saying. ... Sometimes fear is a bad motivation."
In his comments, broadcast on Fox Chicago television on Christmas, George addressed what he perceives to be religious discrimination in the name of gay rights. While discussing the pride parade, he cited the anti-Catholicism of the KKK in the early 1940s.
George said although church teaching does not judge same-sex relationships as morally acceptable, it does encourage the faithful to "respect everyone."
"The question is, 'Does respect mean that we have to change our teaching?' That's an ongoing discussion, of course. ... I still go back to the fact that these are people we know and love and are part of our families. That's the most important point right now."
The executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda said he was "incredibly pleased that Cardinal George has taken responsibility for his actions and has issued an apology."
“A true leader can admit when they are wrong, and the Cardinal has set a good example of leadership today with his statement," said Anthony Martinez, TCRA executive director. "Now, with this apology, the LGBT community and the Catholic community can begin to heal the divides that this has caused.