Cardinal George speaks to group of 14,000 Mormons

George brought laughter with reminiscences of hearing the Tabernacle Choir perform for the first time when he was 13 (his mother was an organist and a fan) and again, in 2007, when then-conductor Craig Jessop invited George to lead the choir during an Illinois performance.

“I thought to myself, ‘I’m doing better with the Mormons than the Catholics.’ I have a lot harder time getting them to sing together.”

George — with LDS apostles M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook on the dais — noted the two faiths have worked together to alleviate world poverty, combat pornography, defend the unborn and push for traditional marriage.

“I’m personally grateful,” George said, “that, after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics and Latter-day Saints have come to see one another as trustworthy partners in the defense of shared moral principles.”

Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, must be defended, he added, “against various efforts to redefine in civil law that foundational element of God’s natural plan for creation.”

George said Mormons and Catholics are called to respect and love all people, including those who are gay, because they are children of God.

“That doesn’t mean we must approve of everything everyone does,” said George, who later noted that his family, like many others, includes gays.

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