I keep trying to convince people that Cardinal Burke is not the cranky old guy MSM and social media paints him as. He does not hate gay people. He is not unwelcoming or intolerant. Far from it.
Badger Catholic posted this story:
Cardinal Burke and the 1998 conversion of one of "Wisconsin’s most outspoken gay activists"
The story is from 2011 but the actual conversion happened in 1998 in the La Crosse Diocese.
From 1990 to 1994, I went to Mass off and on. In 1995, I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go anymore because I was very angry with the Church. I boxed up all my crucifixes and Bibles and dropped them off at the office of the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin with a letter renouncing the Catholic faith.*
To my surprise, Bishop Raymond Burke replied with a kind letter expressing his sadness. He wrote that he would respect my decision and notify the parish where I had been baptized. Ever so gently, Bishop Burke said that he would pray for me and look forward to the time when I would reconcile with the Church.
As one of Wisconsin’s most outspoken “gay” activists, I thought, “What arrogance!” Then I replied to Bishop Burke with a letter accusing him of harassment. I told him that his letters were unwelcome and I asked how he could dare to write to me.
My efforts failed to put him off. Bishop Burke sent one more letter assuring me that he wouldn’t write again—but if I should want to reconcile with the Church, he would welcome me back with open arms....
A month after my reconciliation to God and the Church, I went to Bishop Burke’s office, where he embraced me. He asked if I remembered the belongings I had turned over to him with my letter of renunciation. Of course I remembered and Bishop Burke had saved them in the diocesan archives because he believed that I would return. - Finish reading here.
Matt's account ends with an anecdote not so edifying. The author, Eric Hess mentions a priest who attempted to convince him that 'gay is good':
Despite the blessing of Archbishop Burke and priests like him, I want to stress that there are others who lead souls away from eternal life and happiness.
For example, when I recently went to confession, a priest told me something that is both a contradistinction from and a contradiction of the truth that Archbishop Burke taught me.
The apostate priest told me: You’re gay and the Church calls us to accept our sexuality. I am an ethicist—a scholar. And the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is very close to this position—and this is the position—am I going too fast for you? If you are attracted to members of the same sex, that is natural for you. And for you to deny that and resist that is to go against natural law. I believe, as an ethicist, that you can have a male roommate and be intimate—of course without genital expression. But if you do slip in that regard, it would not be a mortal sin. - Badger Catholic
I've often heard similar things in and out of the confessional over the years.
Matt commented that he wasn't sure that it was true that the USCCB is really all that close to the position cited by Hess, but I suspect it could be true for many involved in the organization. I actually think it is priests and activists like the priest Hess describes who really have it in for Cardinal Burke. It should be no surprise that not a few gay Catholics reject the 'language' Cardinal Burke uses when speaking of same sex attraction and family - which conforms exactly to Catholic teaching BTW. Opponents say the 'language' is harsh and therefore a 'language barrier' to those who already feel 'unwelcome' by the Church.
Cardinal Burke's actions, his genuine pastoral care, contradicts those who seek to discredit him.
*I know a few guys who did the exact same thing. This story sustains my hope they will one day return.