Cardinal Francis George Died

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Cardinal Francis George passed on to new life on Friday, April 17, 2015 at his residence in the Gold Coast of Chicago.

He will be most probably be remembered for his war on LGBT rights, and his handling of the clergy sexual abuse.

The cause of his death was cancer.

The Cardinal lead the Archdiocese for 17 years.

He was a quiet, cerebral man. He was appointed to lead the Archdiocese by Pope John Paul II. He was the first native Chicagoan to hold that position.

He had played a prominent role in responding to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, both locally and nationally, he lead the bishops conservative wing in their opposition to Obama Care, and was the Bishops leader in making war on the LGBT Community.

In 2004 members of the Rainbow Sash Movement were denied Communion by the Cardinal, he continued to deny Communion to LGBT Catholics up until his death at Holy Name Cathedral at Holy Name Cathedral, He justified his denial by saying of gays “When you come with a statement about yourself, that’s not the way to receive it,” said Cardinal George in an interview on the “Catholic Community of Faith” radio show May 28, 2004.
He was also credited for promoting the Zero Tolerance policy after initially opposing it for clergy who sexually abuse young children.

He opposed the women’s priesthood movement both locally and nationally. Women had their place an it was not in the priesthood and/or leadership roles.

The foster care program of Catholic Charities closed in 2011 after he refused to comply with an Illinois state requirement that charities that receive state funding must not reject same-sex couples as potential foster care and adoptive parents.

He became president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops between 2007 – 2010, and it was in this position he lead the homophobic attacks on the LGBT Community.

It was also during this time that a fellow-Chicagoan, Barack Obama became president of the United States. The Cardinal’s first action to President Obama was to send him a blunt letter in 2008 warning him not to consider expanding abortion rights as part of Obama Care.

The bishops conference supported government health care reform, but early on Cardinal George took the lead in the group’s opposition to Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act because of its mandate that employers include coverage of birth control in their health plans.

Even among his own clergy he was known as “George the Corrector” because of his style of leadership that could not handle any form of public criticism.

Joe Murray, Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement (LGBT Catholics) said Francis Eugene George was born in Chicago on Jan. 16, 1937. He attended Catholic schools and showed an early interest in joining the priesthood. His father was an engineer with the public school system, and his mother had worked at an advertising agency, according to The Chicago Tribune. Both were active Catholics. His survivors include an older sister, Margaret.

In taking command of the Chicago archdiocese, the third largest in the American church, with 2.3 million members, Cardinal George was among a wave of theologically conservative bishops appointed by John Paul. At a forum sponsored by Commonweal, a liberal Catholic magazine, in 2004, he declared, “Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project,” adding, “It has shown itself unable to pass on the faith.”

Murray further said our prayers are with the family of Cardinal George at this time, and it is our hope he rests in peace, but Chicago LGBT Community bore the brunt of his war on LGBT people and I think he will not be missed in that community. George was a human being and as such had his faults as well as his gifts.

Bill O’Connor
Rainbow Sash Movement

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The White Wash of Church Hypocrisy

The Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) has questioned the effectiveness of various Arch/diocese Gay and Lesbian Outreach Ministries as lacking in good theology, and moral reasoning. The saying goes that if you repeat a lie long enough it sounds like the truth.

One can reasonably wonder is it faith that promotes their attendance or good liturgical theater.

For many LGBT Catholics who attend those  Sunday Masses it is doubly true.  The Clergy that support such groups in the Church are by and large closeted priests. Clergy with the courage to come out of the closet usually end up by leaving the priesthood because of the vile hypocrisy that is promoted in the name of the Gospels.

We find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit, God, Our Blessed Lady, or Jesus Christ would support such unquestioned homophobia.

The RSM believes to engage with faith is to engage with doubt. We believe that doubt can be the grace that nourishes the development of a more all-inclusive faith. Such a faith will not fall at the first barrier of difficulty or suffering. When hypocrisy is the  guiding agent we can find no common ground. When reasonableness is replaced by  homophobia of the Catholic Catechism, how is it even possible to have a mature discussion in such an environment.

These so called Outreach Ministries continue to call for dialogue, but lack the understanding of what true dialogue is all about. A key component of such process is listening, an activity that the both Vatican and US Conference of Catholic Bishops are clueless about. In the hierarchs minds there can be no dialogue unless their outcome can can be agreed to prior to dialogue beginning. So the whole matter of discussion of rampant homophobia in the Church is off the table.

Bill O’Connor
Rainbow Sash Movement

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Catholic Bishops Attack Women’s Human Dignity

The U.S. bishops and several other Catholic and pro-life groups are asking Congress to nullify two new Washington, D.C. laws that would negatively affect women’s health. They say laws could choke their ability to operate according to their religious beliefs. This according to Catholic News Service.

The legislation amounts to “unprecedented assaults upon our organizations,” the coalition of groups stated in a letter to all members of Congress. “Both laws violate the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association protected by the First Amendment and other federal law.”

The signatories asked Congress to overturn the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014 and the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014. Both unanimously passed the city council and were recently signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The Rainbow Sash Movement (LGBT Roman Catholics) believes this to be another example of an attack on women’s health rights. We condemn the Roman Catholic Bishops for trying to politicize these two laws for both believers and non believers. In other words in the name of religious freedom the Bishops are trying tell women that they have no medical control over their bodies, and that the Bishops know far more about their needs than they do.

The rational goes along the lines that could force them to make decisions regarding personnel or student life that would contradict such [Catholic Church] teaching.” For example, the university they say could have to officially recognize student groups that are fundamentally opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of homosexual behavior. In other words the bishops believe that they are above the law when it comes to the promotion of discrimination.

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act prohibits employers from hiring or firing employees based on their “reproductive health” decisions, such as abortion, sterilization, artificial contraception or in vitro fertilization. It is time for the Bishops to enter into serious dialogue with women and LGBT people both inside and outside the Church..

Joe Murray, Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement said it is not the states place to impose specific religious beliefs that would be a matter of religious freedom. Discrimination is not a legal right because you have a religious belief that justifies it.

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Dignity, New Ways Ministry, Forunate Families Questions of Integrity

Letter to the Editor

The “2012 Tracking Report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations” lists foundations by the total amounts granted in support of LGBTQ Issues. The same report lists the Arcus Foundation as the second highest giver and the Gill Foundation as the third highest supporter of LGBTQ issues.


The Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) has opted not to apply for this type of grant money because we feel outside organizations who are not Catholic are trying to affect the internal decision making of the Catholic Church. In our opinion, this is a slippery sloop and we should not fool ourselves about that.


We also recognize that Dignity, New Ways Ministry, and Fortunate Families all have been recipients of this money. Our vision of working for change in the Church is different we come from a faith based perspective, and believe the discussion needs to brought openly and honestly into the pews of our Church.


After speaking with the current president of Dignity and a Board member of Fortunate Families I became aware that Dignity’s local chapters where not aware of the reception of these funds, and that Fortunate Families Board members would really rather not talk about it.


THE ARCUS FOUNDATION founded in 2000 by Jon Stryker, focuses on gay rights and “conservation of the great apes.” Since 2010 it has given about $1.5 million to self-identified Catholic groups such as Dignity’s Equally Blessed Coalition.


THE GILL FOUNDATION: awarded $100,000 to Catholics United Education Fund in 2012 – That single grant covered most of Catholic United Education Fund’s annual budget of $111,819, as Catholic News Agency’s Kevin Jones found by examining the organization’s tax return.


In 2004, the Gill Foundation gave Dignity USA a grant of $10,000, following a $7,500 grant to Dignity in 2003.


THE E. RHODES AND LEONA B. CARPENTER FUND: In 2012 made grants to three organizations that, according to its tax return were Dignity USA, a recipient of $20,000; Fortunate Families, which received $25,000; and New Ways Ministry, given a grant of $30,000. 


We are concerned that the reception of such funds have strings attached, which are not based on Catholic Social Teaching. Furthermore, it is the RSM’s opinion that these funds have been funneled to these organizations in a manner that challenges a culture ethics. Just because our Bishops might engage in such unethical behavior as they have done throughout the sexual abuse of children scandal we should not engage in the same deceptive practices.


Our hope is not to curse the darkness, rather to light a candle.


Joe Murray
Executive Director
Rainbow Sash Movement




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Chicago Gay Catholics Join US

The Rainbow Sash Movement will be sending a delegation to welcome our new Archbishop, Bishop Blase Cupich currently of Spokane, Washington. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area and are interested in joining our delegation please contact us at Please indicate in the subject line of your email “RSVP for Holy Name Cathedral on November 18, 2014.” We will provide the Rainbow Sashes that will be worn.



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Chicago’s Catholic LGBT Community Challenges new Archbishop to Dialogue

For Immediate Release

The Rainbow Sash Movement Invites Chicago’s new Archbishop to meet the political and religious leadership both Ecumenical and Intrafaith of LGBT Community In Chicago

The Rainbow Sash Movement welcomes the appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington as the next Archbishop of Chicago. The relationship between the Chicago’s LGBT Community and the Chicago Archdiocese can best be described as hostile over the years.

We recognize we have differences. The question uppermost on our minds is should we allow those differences to stop us from acting as good neighbors? Is it so bad to talk to each other in a respectful way?

On November 17 we will send a delegation to Holy Name Cathedral for the installation of the new Archbishop, the choice is simple for the new Archbishop welcome us or do not.. Is it possible for us to find Common Ground?.

Those in attendance will wear Rainbow Sashes a sign of self identification that we are LGBT Catholics. In past years we have been denied the Holy Eucharist at Holy Name Cathedral, we believe because of either misunderstanding or personal bias.

We believe that self Identification should never be confused with either negative or positive behavior of either sex or celibacy; our purpose is not to promote either, it is rather to worship God. .

Most recently Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York has supported the decision of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizing committee, on September 3, 2014  to include NBC’s LBGT employee’s group “Out at NBC” in the parade.

“He explained that he supports the decision to allow an LGBT group to march in the parade under its own banner for the first time this year because he has been told the group will not be advocating homosexual actions, but simply professing a gay identity, which does not violate Catholic teaching.” We agree with Cardinal Dolan. Is it possible for the Archdiocese of Chicago and Chicago’s LGBT Community to have a relationship that is respectful of our differences?

The answer will be found in whether the doors of Holy Name Cathedral are open or closed to our delegation. Bishop Cupich will you seek a new beginning with us, or will your return to the climate of hostility and anger ?.

RSM News Team

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Cardinal George replacement has been named

It looks like that Cardinal Francis George’s replacement has been made by Pope Francis according to  the Associated Press.  Unlike George his replacement Bishop Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington is known for being a centrist and a moderate.


The 65-year-old Cupich has been in Spokane since September 2010, following a dozen years as bishop of Rapid City, S.D. If he is indeed named to lead the Roman Catholic Church in Chicago, he will be an archbishop when he arrives, as was George when he came back to his hometown in 1997.


He is known for being outspoken on society’s need to care more for the poor but also had a leading role in the battle against same-sex marriage. The Associated Press and the National Catholic Reporter said the choice to succeed George is Blase Cupich, bishop of Spokane.


Unlike George,  Cupich is considered more pragmatic than focused on dogma. According to Michael Budde, chair of the Catholic Studies Department at DePaul University.

“He may well be one of those churchmen who is progressive around the liberal side of economic and social justice issues, but on other people’s scores he may look traditional or conservative,” said Budde.


In an August 2012 letter to parishioners in advance of Washington’s vote on a same-sex marriage law, Cupich wrote that while he was encouraging Catholics to vote against legalizing gay marriage, he acknowledged that those on both sides of the issue had deeply held views and should be treated respectfully.


“In stating our position,” Cupich wrote, “the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility towards homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity.”Certainly this is a different tone than George’s remarks that the Gay Movement is morphing into the KKK.


Cupich, said Budde, adopted a zero tolerance policy for priest abuse early on and was brought to Spokane in part to deal with the scandal there that eventually prompted the diocese to file for bankruptcy.


What does this mean for Chicago’s LGBT Community? Well it means that Pope Francis has sent us a Bishop who might be willing to listen. His pastoral credentials are more impressive than George’s when he arrived in Chicago. He also appears to be a Bishop who understand what being a pastor means something the George was clueless about.


On the issue of Gay Rights, to include Gay Marriage the tone will change but not the substance. Cardinal George’s raw homophobia will be replaced with a man who communicates that homophobia in a nicer way if that is possible.


He will promote the Church’s Teaching that LGBT people are morally disordered because of who they are and will oppose any softening the Church’s position on Gay Rights.


I would caution LGBT Catholics to take a wait and see attitude. Remember the proof is always in the pudding.


Joe Murray
Executive Director
Rainbow Sash Movement



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