Saturday, November 16, 2013

Can we exorcise the Exorcist? Gay marriage opposition borders on silly

I fully expect there will be protesters outside the UIC Forum on Wednesday when Gov. Pat Quinn uses the University of Illinois at Chicago arena to stage a huge-scale rally of people who watch him as he signs into law the measure that makes Illinois the 16th U.S. state to allow gay couples to marry.

The site of the upcoming gay marriage celebration
But it seems the real level of disgust will be expressed at the churches that want to believe their opposition is really about compassion.

I CAN’T EVEN really get too worked up over the Catholic church’s actions, which amount to the bishop for Springfield, Ill., saying he’s going to have a special prayer service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the capital city to coincide with Quinn’s overly-elaborate bill-signing ceremony.

Formally, it is a “prayer of supplication and exorcism” for same-gender couples who try to marry in Illinois.

The latter word is what is stoking the fire. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki is going to have an “exorcism!!!” He’s trying to demonize the issue – literally.

We’re getting a lot of bad jokes being spewed (like the pea soup that passed for vomit) about the 1973 film featuring a teenaged Linda Blair as the Satan-infested Regan MacNeil.

The Springfield-based center of the opposition
IT IS GOING to allow all people to overhype the significance. Then again, having him say he’s going to pray for people would sound kind of blasé.

Because it shouldn’t be shocking at all that church officials are not going to just wither away in their opposition. The Catholic church has people who remain vehemently opposed to the concept of abortion being treated as a legitimate medical procedure – even though the Supreme Court of the United States resolved this issue the same year that Blair’s head rotated a complete 360 degrees on the silver screen (and continues to do so on DVD every day since).

The film we're hearing too much about!
Heck, it should be noted that one of the few black caucus members in the Illinois House of Representatives who voted “no” on the issue – state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago – made a point of saying she thought God would always object to such marriages, no matter what state government did on the issue.

There are those who cite the fact that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, paraphrased Pope Francis when he expressed his own belief that the law should not interfere with gay couples.

WHILE PAPROCKI, EARLIER this week, cited a written statement from 2010 by the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when the issue was contemplated in Argentina.

In part, he wrote, “The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy.”

QUINN: A hero, AND a villain?
Which, to me, comes across as wanting to side with the bully who wants to pick on people who aren’t exactly like themselves. It’s good that the Pope has experienced a change of heart, of sorts.

Now if only people like Paprocki could experience the same. And it’s not like Paprocki is isolated from the realities of Chicago. He is a native of our fine city, a one-time pastor at St. Michael Church in the South Chicago neighborhood and St. Constance parish on the Northwest Side, in addition to having held several administrative posts within the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese – before going to Springfield in 2010.

THEN AGAIN, I’M very aware there are more than a fair share of Chicagoans who aren’t enthused about what is happening on this issue. It may be a regional split in Illinois, but it’s not a perfect urban vs. rural split.

MADIGAN: Too powerful to threaten?
There are two points in the aftermath of the legislative approval for gay marriage that does approve me. When the General Assembly acted earlier this month, it was reported that Illinois was the 15th state to do so.

Yet because Quinn did not immediately sign the measure into law, officials in Hawaii were able to slip by and pass a gay marriage law into effect. We, in Illinois, can now chant, “We’re Number 16!”

Then, there is the fact that some people have reacted by suggesting that Pat Quinn be ex-communicated from the Catholic Church for expressing constant support for the issue.

BEING KICKED OUT of the church is the worst thing that could happen to some people. Yet it amuses me to know that NO ONE has had the nerve to suggest publicly that Madigan, also a Catholic, be ex-communicated.

These people may say publicly that they place their faith in the lord, our God. Yet perhaps they comprehend all too clearly what Madigan could do to them politically if they dare attack him!

Keep that in mind as the allegedly-religious pray for OUR souls in protest of Illinois advancing with the times. We should pray for them that they develop a true sense of compassion.


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