Illinois' marriage equality bill had enough support to become law, but we've seen opposition from religious leaders and not just about the bill itself. Some same-sex marriage supporters say Pope Francis' words a couple months ago played a small role in passing legislation.
Chicago's Archbishop, Cardinal Francis E. George was in Rockford Thursday evening, celebrating the end of the Year of Faith, which the Pope Emeritus, Pope Benedict called for in October 2012.
A Question & Answer session followed the Cardinal's speech. We were not allowed to record that or ask the Cardinal questions. We were allowed to sit in and take notes. One parishioner wanted the Cardinal's perspective on media misinterpretation of statements made by Pope Francis. She did not specify what statements. Cardinal George says he understands how people think the Pope's words make it look as if the church might change, but the Pontiff's statements have to be interpreted in context. The Cardinal says Catholics should live with an attitude of openness, but always know the truth. He also says the Pope is not American and not an American Liberal. Those, he says, are categories our nation's media work in and the Pope is not included in those categories.
Rockford Catholic Diocese Bishop David J. Malloy offered his reaction to lawmakers tying Pope Francis' words to the marriage equality bill's passing.
"It really is an added insult to tie that and justify it in terms of our Catholic faith, in terms of the words even of the Holy Father himself. That really is not the case. For us, it's just a step too far. It's a great sadness to lose the vote on this, but then to have it justified in terms of our Catholic faith is very difficult for us." -Bishop Malloy explains.
Bishop Malloy says from here on out, Catholics can only live their faith. He fears for religious freedom with the passing of this bill. Legislation supporters say its approval grants people a legal and legitimate relationship with who they love.
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