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Letter: A spirit of inclusion

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

As a Catholic, I am saddened by a recent letter from Bishop David Malloy of the Rockford Diocese. His letter, along with a statement on the Diocese of Rockford website – www.rockforddiocese.org – details the church’s position on Illinois House Bill 5170, which, if signed into law, would legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois.

Once again, the Catholic bishops are asking the faithful to contact legislators to let them know of “our” opposition to the proposed legislation. Specifically, Bishop Malloy’s letter states: “At issue here is not a political or a policy question, but a fundamental statement about society itself. We need to be alerted to this danger.”

If this is not a political or policy question, why am I being asked to contact the politicians who will be voting on the policy? In fact, this letter is another example of the Catholic Church hierarchy using the pulpit to advance its ultra-conservative political agenda.

According to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, which was funded, in part, by the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, 54 percent of Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be permitted to marry legally. If that is the case, Bishop Malloy’s letter represents the opinion of the majority of Catholic bishops but only a minority of Catholics.

Perhaps the bishops should spend less time dividing the church while they battle the “danger” of same-sex marriage and more time practicing a spirit of inclusion of all those who wish to follow Christ.

Patrick McNulty

Geneva

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