National Catholic Reporter

January 17, 1997

page 21

Gay chorus sang

The coverage of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's life and his passing into everlasting life has been wonderfully reported in NCR. One might stop to mourn the passing of a man who could have become the pope we so desperately need in these times.

One very significant final request of the cardinal seems to have been overlooked by all but the gay press. According to The Washington Blade, three weeks before the cardinal's death, he requested that the Windy City Gay Chorus perform at his wake. The request was honored when the group sang in Holy Name Cathedral as the cardinal lay in state. ...

This seemingly minor gesture on the part of Joseph Bernardin during his last days on earth is immensely important to gay Roman Catholics who have experienced very little in the way of pastoral care from their church unless, of course, we contract HIV/AIDS !

Cardinal Bernardin's Catholic Common Ground Initiative showed real promise of including gay Catholics (via Dignity USA) in a dialogue toward understanding and healing the factions within the church. We can only hope that God raises up another leader of his stature and love.

RANDY KOWALIK , Bridgewater, N.J.