Monday November 15, 2010

Bishop Kicanas endorsed by Rainbow Sash Movement as next U.S. bishops’ head

Matthew Anderson

November 15, 2010, ( – With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting this week to elect its new President, the homosexual “Catholic” Rainbow Sash Movement has announced its pick to lead the bishops. According to a press release from the homosexualist group, it has endorsed Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, AZ to succeed Cardinal Francis George as the leader of the USCCB.

The release from the pro-gay organization is likely to feed into the growing agitation in certain Catholic quarters over the possibility of Kicanas’ election. Kicanas has been accused of ignoring the sexual misconduct of a seminarian who went on to commit sexual abuse, and has a reputation for liberalness on key issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

In a rare moment of agreement with the orthodox Catholic community, the Rainbow Sash Movement said that they support Kicanas precisely because of the bishop’s soft stance on the issues of abortion and gay ‘marriage.’

“Bishop Kicanas understands that Bishops are privately changing their position because input is bubbling up from the pews of our parishes in support of such issues as Gay Marriage, and Pro Choice,” they wrote.

Though Kicanas has publicly supported the teaching of the Church on marriage, Rainbow Sash says they believe his views will “evolve.” In the meantime, though, the group believes that Kicanas is the perfect bishop to “be a reasonable public voice and face for the country’s Catholic bishops.”

The gay organization points to Kicanas’s reaction to the Obama/Notre Dame scandal as evidence that he will be a “reasonable public voice” calling for “moderation and listening” during this “difficult situation.”

At the time of the scandal, Kicanas took a soft public stance saying he wasn’t sure that Notre Dame meant to defy the USCCB’s statement “Catholics in Political Life” in honoring Obama. That document makes clear that public figures who oppose core Catholic teachings “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

In a June 2009 interview with Catholic World News he said that Notre Dame “may have interpreted the document differently.” He went on to say, “The first thing is to be sure of what we are indeed saying, what we’re agreeing to, and then bringing that to the institutions within one’s own diocese. It is a dialogic thing.”

Rainbow Sash said that they supports Bishop Kicanas because they believe him to be in the mold of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who was famously allied with a number of liberal and progressive ideologies.

“We believe that Bishop Kicanas follows in the footsteps of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, and will lead the USCCB to a position of common ground on issues that are deeply dividing the US Catholic Church.”

Kicanas is believed to be the next in line for the presidency of the conference because of his role as Vice President for the past three years. Traditionally, the Bishops elect the previous Vice President to be the next president. Other names on the ballot for president include New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Colorado’s Archbishop Charles Chaput.

However, Kicanas’s history on priestly sexual abuse is considered a sticking point for his election. Before becoming Bishop of Tucson, Kicanas served as the rector of the Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. During his time there he allowed future child molester Fr. Daniel McCormick to be ordained despite allegations of sexual misconduct. Bishop Kicanas recently defended himself against allegations of wrong-doing by saying, “I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone.”

The National Catholic Register has pointed out that Kicanas was at least aware of McCormick engaging in consensual homosexual acts while intoxicated, if not actual illegal abuse. According to the NCR article, Kicanas commented on these early “experiences” by saying, “Evaluation indicated that the nature of the experiences he had related was experimental and developmental, although it indicated that drinking might be a concern.”

In its endorsement, Rainbow Sash defended Kicanas by saying that “fundamentalist” bishops were only trying to distract from the issues at hand. “It may play to the fundamentalist such as Archbishop Chaput and Archbishop Dolan, it does not play well among more moderate and reasonable Catholics, and most of their Bishops.”

See related coverage:

The Kicanas Conundrum: Catholics Concerned about Likely New U.S. Bishops Head

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