St. Norbert Community Reacting To Controversial Speaker
Michele Becker is proud of her sons and of St. Norbert College, where she earned her master's degree. But recent anti-gay comments by the school's scheduled commencement speaker hit close to home. “I was so disappointed and just heartsick and I felt so sad,” Becker said. One of Becker’s sons is gay and she works closely with the local gay straight alliance. Becker says the Cardinal’s comments put the college in a tough spot. “How does a Catholic College un-invite a Cardinal? But I think they need to give serious consideration,” she said.
Cardinal Francis George is drawing ire from gay rights activists across the nation after he compared the gay rights movement to the Klu Klux Klan. George made the comments after organizers of Chicago's gay pride parade planned to march past a Catholic Church during the parade, which falls on a Sunday.
St. Norbert’s leaders aren't available to comment while the school is closed, but the communications department responded with this statement: "While the college appreciates various viewpoints of its campus guests it is central to our mission to have ongoing dialogue with and exposure to Catholic Church leaders."
John and Loretta Larkey attend St. Norbert church and have a son who graduated from the college. Loretta says she has a higher calling to let the college know George’s appearance could be a mistake. “I'm not known for being shy around issues I think are very important,” Loretta said. “As a follower of Jesus Christ, I feel it's my calling to do that.”
St. Norbert will host George May 14th during its graduation ceremony. The cardinal will also receive an honorary degree from the college.