In his weekly blog, Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap wrote about the Church's relations to gays and lesbians with a compassion that is too often neglected by his fellow prelates.
To be clear, O'Malley is a unrelenting in his defense of traditional marraige as any prelate in the country, but he understands first that the hierarchy must place the Church's teachings about sexual issues within the context of the Church's teachings about compassion and human solidarity. He also notes that other pernicious forces such as the increasing frequency of divorce pose as much if not more of a threat to traditional marriage than civil laws that will only affect maybe one percent of the population.
A danger for the hierarchy is that when they paint same-sex marriage as the be-all-and-end-all issue for Western civilization, they invite the kind of homophobia Cardinal O'Malley's post confronts directly. Yes, the Church can oppose gay marriage without beating up on gays. And, the Church will not be the Church if it allows its concern for traditional marriage to turn into a hatefest. More bishops need to follow O'Malley's lead. Putting compassion and human solidarity first will never lead the Church astray. Never.