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Catholic Bishops Defunding Non-Profits Who Voice Support For Gay Marriage

by David Badash on April 6, 2012

in Civil Rights,Marriage,News,Politics,Religion

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) — the official group that represents the Roman Catholic Church in America, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan – is defunding small, local, and critical non-profit organizations that help minorities and the poor, if they demonstrate support for gay marriage, or any other issue the Catholic Church deems offensive. Through its Catholic Campaign for Human Development fund, the U.S. Catholic Bishops are contacting charities and threatening to pull funding — which can be half a group’s entire annual budget — if they continue to voice support for same-sex marriage equality or women’s health rights, or even if they associate with other groups who do.

It is not necessary for the small non-profits to fund or offer material support to groups who support same-sex marriage, but merely to voice support, sign a letter, join a campaign, or, essentially, “rub elbows” with a group that does. Guilt by association seems to be sufficient cause for an investigation or threatening letter from the Bishops.

READ: US Catholic Bishops Declare War On Gay Marriage Despite US Catholic Views

“For three years now, Compañeros, a small nonprofit organization in rural southwestern Colorado, has received thousands of dollars from the Roman Catholic Church to help poor Hispanic immigrants with basic needs including access to health care and guidance on local laws,” The New York Times reports:

But in February, the group was informed by a representative from the Diocese of Pueblo that its financing from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops devoted to ending poverty, was in danger.

The problem, the diocesan liaison explained, was Compañeros’s membership in an immigrant rights coalition that had joined forces with a statewide gay and lesbian advocacy group, recounted Nicole Mosher, Compañeros’s executive director.

The Catholic Campaign, which doles out $8 million annually to about 250 groups nationwide, has been under increasing pressure from conservative Catholic groups to ensure that it is not unwittingly aiding organizations that run afoul of church positions on issues like birth control and marriage. While the amount lost is often relatively small, it can account for a significant chunk of a group’s budget. And it is not happening in a vacuum, coming at a time when other nonprofit organizations, like Planned Parenthood, also find themselves under fire from social conservatives trying to choke off their financing.

Since 2010, nine groups from across the country have lost financing from the campaign because of conflicts with Catholic principles, according to the campaign’s director, Ralph McCloud. Others have simply chosen not to apply — or reapply — for funds. Mr. McCloud said the Compañeros case was being reviewed and no final decision had been made.

Compañeros was told that unless it withdrew from the coalition, Ms. Mosher said, the group would lose money it got each year.

“I was shocked that our money was all of a sudden in jeopardy, and confused about why,” Ms. Mosher said. “We have no reason to believe that we are in any way going against Catholic teachings. If they are willing to defund our program based on an affiliation, it sends a clear message of divisiveness.”

The Times also points to a vigilante group, The American Life League, who has decided its purpose is to score non-profits and weed out those who might have offered voice — perhaps signed a petition, or joined a coalition — to issues the Vatican does not endorse, namely, abortion and same-sex marriage.

The American Life League releases an annual report highlighting groups getting money from the campaign that it claims have engaged in activities or coalitions contrary to Catholic principles — and the campaign’s guidelines. Last year’s report named 54 groups.

“If you intentionally or errantly fund somebody who signs petitions for same-sex marriageor is supportive of contraception or even abortion, as has happened with C.C.H.D., that has a direct impact on the Catholic faithful and the Catholic Church,” said Paul Rondeau, the American Life League’s executive director.

Related: Late last year, one of the top leaders employed by the Catholic Church in America to advise them on marriage, the USCCB, blamed “the devil” for making people homosexual, and called it a “natural disaster.” He ultimately resigned.

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{ 6 comments }

Maxi57 April 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

There is so much conflict between the Administration and the Membership of the Catholic Faith that is abysmal how they can still survive. On one hand they denounce homosexuality, and on the other hand they perpetrated into the Convents and clergy. Same with abortion, they are against, but, historically, they allowed thousands of abortions of nuns that got impregnated by priests. Who understand them? I am so glad that I am out of the Catholicism, because it was poisoning my soul with all these controversial dogma that instead of uplifting my spirit, it was killing it…..Today I am free and still able to worship the God of this earth and to follow in Jesus's path…How exhilarating that feeling is…Max.

cjonesnj April 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

Don't despair – the tide is turning, and strongly, even more since this article was written. I am a lay employee in the Catholic Church. The polls are accurate, and the majority of Roman Catholics (especially in my area of the northeast) are very open minded, very compassionate and progressive. The opinion from many is that they are very faithful and love their church, but are not caught up in the bluster with the current hierarchy. The writing is on the wall, and the aging celibate bureaucracy is downright afraid. But God's will is at work, and the church of 2050 will look much different than it does now. I'm just sad that so many people have to be deprived of the help and comfort that they need right now.

ottomarcos April 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

As a former Catholic who wised up and left the church at age 15, it doesn't surprise me that the bishops' hypocrisy, and their betrayal of the true tenets of Christian teachings, can only be described as being of Judas-like proportions!

MattWestwood April 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hang on a minute, forget contentious issues like homosexual marriage or right to abortion, did you read the last paragraph?

“If you intentionally or errantly fund somebody who … is supportive of contraception …, as has happened with C.C.H.D., that has a direct impact on the Catholic faithful and the Catholic Church, …"

I think no more need be said.

MattWestwood April 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Unfortunately, I can't see a direct way to fight this. From what I understand, the Catholic Church is breaking no law. They can in theory choose to fund whomever they please.

The only thing I can think of is to actively dissuade people from funding the Catholic Church, and instead pledge their donations directly to the charities in question. Cut out the middleman.

GaelicWench April 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Even though I was baptised Catholic as an infant per my maternal grandmother's wishes, later as an older teen, my father never made us go to church. He absolutely hated the Catholic church because of having witnessed things as a child in his village in Brittany (France) during WWII.

People in his village had been invaded by the Nazis; there was starvation going on due to lack of food. As an altar boy – he was 8yo at the time – when he went to warn the Monseigneur and other important figures in the church, upon opening the door he discovered all of them sitting around a large table heavy with all manner of food. GOOD food! Since then, he's developed absolute dislike for the church.

Hypocrites, indeed…..

Lastly, how dare they point a finger at gays wanting to be married, yet they themselves as ever so guily of sodomizing and raping young boys. What's wrong with this picture.

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