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Diocese halts funding of charity over director’s views on abortion and gay marriage

Details:

The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento no longer will fund programs at Francis House, a nonprofit agency that serves homeless people, because of its new director’s views supporting abortion rights and gay marriage.

In a letter last month, the diocese’s director of social services said the Rev. Faith Whitmore’s public statements on the issues clash with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Therefore, said the Rev. Michael Kiernan, the social services director, it is “impossible for the diocese to continue funding Francis House” as part of its annual Catholic Appeal.

Each morning, dozens of poor people line up at Francis House, in Sacramento’s homeless services epicenter on C and 14th streets, for help with basic services such as housing and transportation. Now in its 42nd year, the organization is one of the largest homeless services agencies in the Sacramento region, serving upward of 25,000 people. It has an annual budget of about $500,000.

For at least two decades, Francis House has received annual donations from the diocese ranging from $7,500 to $10,000, said Michael Miiller, a member of the agency’s corporate advisory board.

The diocese’s letter made it clear that it was shifting policy and removing Francis House from its fundraising campaign because of Whitmore’s affiliation with the organization.

Whitmore, a United Methodist minister, took over leadership of Francis House in April after the sudden death of longtime executive director Gregory Bunker.

Within her own denomination, she has been a strong advocate of same-sex marriage. In 2008, during a short period in which gay marriage was legal in California, Whitmore openly defied church law by marrying same-sex couples. She has said publicly that she supports a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.

In an interview Wednesday, she called the diocese’s decision to discontinue its support “surprising and disappointing.”

“I have never represented any of those positions on behalf of Francis House,” said Whitmore, formerly the senior pastor at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. “I was speaking as an individual. So for me, this came out of the blue.”

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  • Eugene Pagano

    First, the link doesn’t work. The correct link probably is
    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/08/4320550/sacramento-catholic-diocese-drops.html

    More substantively, is Rev. Whitmore using Francis House to advoacte for her views on abortion and gay marriage? If not, this diocese is punishing the charity — and the homeless people it serves — to support its own agenda as to what rights are to be allowed to non-Roman Catholics.

  • George

    Diocesan spokesman Kevin Eckery said the decision to drop Francis House as a beneficiary of the pastoral center’s annual fundraising appeal stemmed in part from public confusion about the agency’s affiliation with the church. Although Francis House was born at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic parish in Sacramento, it has long been nondenominational and no longer is part of the church.

    However, “a lot of people still think Francis House is a Catholic charity,” he said, and some are concerned that Whitmore’s views are a reflection of those of the church.

  • Joe

    Glad to see this decision. The money can be used at another shelter or even Catholic Charities for the tornado victims.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    It’s a shame for the homeless who will now have less. But I give credit to the Bishop here. We can’t go on subsidizing the undermining of our values. This has gone on too long and society has gotten worse from it. I’m glad that it’s come to a head in the last few months. Kudos to the Bishops all around.

  • Tammy

    I do agree that political positions of individuals should not be a determining factor when they do not relate to the work the charity is doing. However, after reflecting on how we are in a significant culture war in this country, how the Church was silenced at different points in history, and how too many Catholic organization are no longer reflecting the teaching of the Church I have to agree with the Churches decision. The issues of same sex marriage and abortion go well beyond individual opinions about how the government runs. They are grave sins, which the Church can not tolerate. We are in hard cultural times and the therefore the Church needs to take a hard stand. Yes, this organization is taking a hit for the public options of its director, but the organization made that choice to make this individual its director. I am sure there is more than one way to feed the poor in this community.

  • HMS

    Eugene Pagano:
    I agree.
    This does seem to be a bit of an over-reach, considering the fact that the Francis House ministers only to the homeless and the director is voicing her opinion as an individual.

    It may have something to do with the fact that the Bishop of Sacramento, Jaime Soto is chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which has come under fire in the past few years for funding certain groups that are more overt in promoting issues that are contrary to Catholic teaching.

  • naturgesetz

    It seems to me that we need to be able to distinguish between what an organization does and what its officers say on topics unrelated to its work. Apparently the Diocese of Sacramento thinks that too many of the faithful are incapable of understanding that distinction. Maybe they are right about that.

    It would be different if Ms. Whitmore started giving abortion referrals to clients at Francis House or talking up gay “marriage.”

  • Mark

    This has a lot to do with past funding issues by some of the dioceses social services groups that was sending money off to groups supporting abortion which have been exposed over the years. This had a huge impact on donations, most of which came from practicing Catholics, who were deeply offended to see their money being used to support intrinsic evil. I think this charity should have considered this when putting this outspoken person in charge. In my view, selecting a pro abortion / pro gay marriage person should demand Catholic support to stop the moment it is announced.

    [Comment edited to remove irrelevant content. -- Dcn. G.]

  • Henry Karlson

    Sadly, this is just the start. There is a political battle is being waged by a lobby within the USCCB, and the poor, the homeless are now being used as a tool to continue that battle. It’s basically a crash and burn policy for everything else. We have already heard bishops saying they will do just that. It is sad. Preferential option for the poor needs to be pronounced loud and clear once again — and Catholic moral theology, instead of political ideology, needs to once again be the basis of engagement. All the while the rich are not told to stop buying health insurance from companies which pay for contraception… why is that? If you want to begin, begin with the rich and make demands on them, not the poor who have no power to do anything.

  • Mark

    We don’t know the full story, and there’s no need to over-react. If the money doesn’t go to Francis House, then it will undoubtedly go to another needy cause.

    The amount involved came to less than 2% of the annual budget of Francis House.

  • Rick

    The diocese is probably giving the money that went to Francis House to some other agency serving the poor. I doubt that the Church’s perferential option for the poor has been abandoned.

    If a liberal conscience clause is not inactted, this type of divestment in charities that do not align with Church values will happen more and more. Charities and schools will no longer be able to provide the services they provided in the past. This type of is the logical consequence when people try to force the Church to abandon its faith and conscience.

    People who support the HHS mandate on contraception should ask: do we want to see decisions like this multiplied throughout the United States’ Catholic charities and schools?

  • Henry Karlson

    Explain to me why the poor are the ones who are going to suffer the most from the conflicts we see going on? Why are no expectations or requirements being put on the wealthy, making them suffer the same demands they put on the poor?

    Again, if we started hearing “No Catholic could have health insurance from a company which pays for contraception in any policy,” it would be a start. We don’t hear it. We only hear about making it more difficult for those who don’t have health insurance now due to such concerns. Again, why do the rich get away with it? It’s not just contraceptives, but all kinds of things which companies might pay for. Why do the rich get to keep their insurance?

    And, again, as people have noted — the personal opinion of someone working for a charity should not, of itself , be the foundation for disregarding that charity.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    Having worked with the homeless, I can say that they are remarkably resilient and resourceful people who have their own ‘community’ or ‘family’ amongst one another. If a new program opens, or if an existing program expands services they all seem to show up at once without the benefit of advertisements.

    The Church will redirect the funds to authentic Catholic charities and those same homeless people will benefit. That’s how we keep our identity intact, strengthen authentically Catholic agencies, or agencies not opposed to us, and still serve the poor.

    Bravo!

  • THX

    Look, if Francis House was run by a woman who in her personal life was an active member and promoter of the Nazi party, and the Church made the decision to distance itself from her because of it, would you then support that decision? Please, please keep in mind, this woman is advocating the merciless, barbaric, slaughter of tens of millions of unborn children, while at the same time advocating equating homosexual sodomy with the institution and holy Sacrament of marriage. These are not just little evils, but are about as evil as evil gets. And I am quite sure that that money will go to help the poor and homeless in another endeavor.

  • Joanc57

    Perfectly stated, thank you.

  • kenneth

    Back when the world had an actual Nazi regime, the Church gave its tacit approval in order to preserve its own power and finances. Now if Hitler had advocated gay marriage, that might have been a bridge too far.

  • ron chandonia

    The pattern is a familiar one: a social service agency with Catholic roots detaches itself from the Church, and the group or its public spokesmen become advocates for positions at odds with our moral standards. Then the agency expresses shock when Church support is cut off, correctly noting that the most marginalized are those who will suffer as a result. It’s Amnesty International in miniature. And it’s hardly our bishops that bear responsibility. In fact, many Catholic agencies are finding they must cut ties with the Church if they want to keep the public funding necessary to maintain adequate levels of service.

    Effectively, we are being pushed back to the Catholic ghetto of pre-Vatican2 days when, as Yves Congar wrote, Catholics formed “a cultural world of their own,” complete with “schools, universities, hospitals, clubs, trade and professional associations, newspapers, journals and books” and “closed to everything that came from outside.” In the 21st century, however, it is inconceivable that Church-controlled agencies without public funding could provide a reasonable level of service for Catholics themselves, let alone for people in need who do not share our faith.

  • THX

    Friend, your historical ignorance is shameful. No less than Golda Mier and Albert Einstein stated that during WWII there was no greater voice for Jews and the oppressed, no earlier rebuke against Nazi fascism, then the voice of Catholic Church in general and Pope Pius XII specifically.

    “The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas… He is the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all.”
    New York Times at the beginning of WWII

  • http://imaginemdei.blogspot.com Maggie Duffy

    The amounts being withdrawn seem very small ($7,500-10,000) and, while they will probably be missed, are hardly likely to result in significant reduction in services from an agency said to have an operating budget of $500,000. And, with affiliations to the Catholic church cut, I’m sure that she will be able to find a whole new range of donors who loathe the church. As a previous commenter has said we will see many more events such as this as things get worse.

  • kenneth

    [Post deleted for repeated Catholic- bashing. -- Ed.]

  • Robyn

    It is a shame that this will cut into their budget but it’s high time that the powers that be in the Church start putting our beliefs before anything else.. We lay people are told we must do this and so must the Church…As for this woman, the fact that she holds to these ideas as a person and is linked to Francis House is enough to cut ties..

  • Ike

    Our beliefs are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless….

  • Mark

    Deacon was correct in removing what I wrote. It was irrelevant. Thank you Deacon.

  • THX

    The Church must not only be a voice for the poor, but also for the weak and the helpless. This woman publicly advocates laws that enable the barbaric, merciless slaughter of hundreds of millions of unborn human beings.

  • Mark

    Kenneth, the signing of the Concordat between the Nazi Party and the Catholic Church has to be understood in what was going on in Germany at the time with the “German Christian” State Church. Everyone faced with this very new and unique situation was trying to figure out how to deal with it. Churches were being forced to sign an oath to Hitler. Bonhoeffer was fighting to raise awareness to the overall situation, but with not much luck at this point. The unfortunate part of the Concordat was timing. Just when Bonheoffer was having some success in a meeting in Fino Denmark, this agreement was released which in some ways undercut the Fino declaration. It was viewed as negative at the time much for that reason. Later it was shown it would not have mattered because the fate of the German Churches was already sealed. What it did do that became very positive is it allowed the Church to stay independent and to work to save thousands of Jews who otherwise would have been killed. Hitler later came to view it as an early mistake.

    Love the swipe at the Catholic Church teaching against gay marriage. Not sure how it relavent to the converstation.

  • THX

    Our beliefs are to spread the Gospel. Sometimes with words, and sometimes with actions. Anyone who publicly supports and advocates laws that enable the cold-blooded merciless butchering of hundreds of millions of innocent unborn children, even when not officially “on the clock” is someone not seeking to spread the Gospel of Life, but instead seeking to bring about a living Hell on earth.

  • drew

    Well said.

  • Mark

    The issue is what happens after the check from the Catholic Church arrives and the person with these known beliefs decides to make them a point and embarrass the church. A simple press release that the Church has donated money to a group whose leadership is known to hold these views easily creates problems for the Church and has happened a many times in the past. so better to be certain where the money is going and how it will reflect on church teaching.

  • Mark

    Henry, by what authority do you see the chruch saying “No Catholic could have health insurance from a company which pays for contraception in any policy.” ??

    The Church teaches that it is wrong to use birth control. That fact has gone on in a way that the Church has not been able to comminicate as effectively in the last few decades. No Catholic can now hide behind my local priest told me it is OK when all of the Bishops are united is fight the federal government because it is their teaching and thus religious liberty rights being violated if they are forced to provide it to the empoyees that work for the church. The Church does not have the authority to teach companies should not be allowed to offer it if they choose. So Catholic employees of companies that do furnish it could voice their concerns to the employer that they would like to have an option to have it not included in anything they pay for, but the government of course is now blocking this move as well since every policy has to offer it.

    What happened to “if you like your insurance now you can keep it” and the promise to the Bishops of what has been provided to religious organizations since our founding, religious freedom?

    Of course this has nothing to do with birth control or even religious freedom. It is a precedent that will give the executive branch sole authority on what MUST be included in every insurance plan. It is about freedom of the people from a government out of control.

  • deacon john m. bresnahan

    Whenever something like this happens the media makes it look like it is an act targeted against the poor. However, there is no one agency helping the poor that our money and our Church’s money must be funneled though to do good.There are hundreds of such organizations out there that do the same or can do the same for the poor. In addition no one organization has any sort of special claim.
    There is no reason at all why funds should be funneled through a charity that does some good in some areas, but sets a horrible example in other areas.
    The Church should always be seeking out–with regular reviews– the best of the best from a Catholic point of view and send out funding accordingly each year.

  • RomCath

    $10,000 out of a half million is a drop in the bucket. If as George stated there was a perception that Francis House was affiliated with the Church, they had no choice to cut their donation off. Even if there was no perception, it should have been done.

  • Henry Karlson

    Mark,

    Have you been paying attention to the debate? If you pay for insurance to a company that offers contraception (or abortion!), you are giving funds to a company which promotes evils contrary to the Catholic faith. If we are not to have remote material cooperation with evil, then having such a company for your insurance itself must be rejected (otherwise, one is confirming one can support a company which does evil).

    But it is nice to see you really don’t have much concern about contraception, but rather, your concern is political. That’s honest. Of course, if you look closely at the history of the US, the libertarian ideal is not what the US supports, and never has.

  • kevin

    The poor woman is sorely misguided on abortion and that’s too bad. I’m sure she has done good work for the homeless. But I applaud the Diocese for this action. The worst poverty in the world is spiritual poverty, not material poverty. Anyone who favors legalized abortion on demand is suffering from extreme spiritual poverty.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    Ron,

    I’m not so sure that the Church in the years before Vatican II existed in its own little ghetto where we had no influence on the culture, or the culture on us. I think if we respectfully look to our Hasidic Jewish brethren as a baseline we see how your analysis doesn’t hold up.

    In truth, we led the culture in hospitals, nursing, and medicine. WE GAVE Western Civilization the university system. We were the ones who were most engaged with the poor.

    I would respectfully submit that the culture finds us a laughingstock in no small measure because we became apologetic for being who we are. I think it’s great that we’ll be forced back to a time when we had a solid identity and like who we are. Because we have a rich intellectual tradition that does not compromise on truth, the world will rediscover us in 100 years when the Culture of Death has wrecked its savage fury on humanity.

    I doubt the United States of America will exist at that point, but a leaner and more focussed, more holy Church will be there to pick up the pieces, just as she has for 2,000+ years of the rise and fall of great empires and civilizations. So, be of good cheer.

  • pagansister

    It’s a shame that the people that will suffer will probably be the homeless that use this shelter. Some one mentioned that $10,000 of a 1/2 million is a drop in the bucket. Folks, $10,000 is $10,000. Personally I don’t consider that a drop at all. I would be very surprised if the homeless that use ths shelter are concerned about the views of the person who is in charge. I seriously don’t think she will be standing up in front of men and women every night and telling them that gay marriage is fine and that she feels that women should continue to be allowed to have legal abortions! She is entitled to her own views, which, IMO, have nothing to do with her ability to run Francis House.

  • Mark

    Henry, that is what the debate is about. The government saying that all insurance companies must offer it and forcing religious organizations to purchase it. This of course would include all those who are self insured thus making the religious organization the provider of the product.

    You are trying to say that any Catholic who has insurance through a private company should not be able to accept that insurance when they have no control over what is offered. They of course do not have to use the product, but they are being forced to pay for it since it is in the package offered. However, this HHS mandate makes it impossible for the free market to give employers a choice of having an option for those in the employment who do not want this option and do not want it included in the cost. For those companies who have this option or do not cover it now, the promise Obama made that they could keep this same insurance is of course another lie.

    Nice try to divert the basic core issue which is religious freedom protection from the government. The bigger issue of course is all our freedom to not have the government impose their mandates on us. If we want freedom from government being involved in every area of our lives, you have to vote Republican just based on ObamaCare.

  • AuntB

    I agree with THX and Kenneth. Here is something most people don’t know not sure if you are aware of these quotes by Albert Einstein so I am passing them on. “Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . .”Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.” –Albert Einstein, TIME magazine, Monday, Dec. 23, 1940 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html#ixzz1WuDgmcVb
    Lest anyone question the accuracy or authenticity of this quote, or the sentiment behind it, here is a letter in Einstein’s hand, confirming his own words emphatically: “Yes, I did say this about the Christian Church. It is the only social institution that could stand up to the Nazi regime.” –Albert Einstein in letter to American preacher wanting confirmation
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200706A19.html
    I wonder what Einstein would say today on the systematic destruction of religion and people of faith by our government, MSM, and the Hardcore Liberals and Atheists. Would he compare what is happening now to what happened in Nazi Germany? Maybe Michio Kaku will speak out or someone else with a brain. Until then I am going to start quoting Einstein to everyone I can think of. Looks like the Catholic Church is starting to stand up and say No!

  • AuntB

    Correction: Sorry I don’t agree with Kenneth. I agree with Mark.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    pagansister,

    The money will be spent on the needy, just in a different agency. The days of people who dissent from the Church using the poor and the least as human shields are coming to an end. The Catholic Church has been the single-largest provider of beds for people with HIV?AIDS from the very beginning of the pandemic, has had the most robust services in medicine, shelter, clothing, food for the poor. We’ll do just fine on our own, and the poor and the least will do just fine with authentically Catholic social service providers.

    Now the heathens can go raise money elsewhere for their particular programming.

  • http://fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann Pilney

    I currently live in the Diocese of Sacramento. There are other places where the homeless may go to obtain shelter and/or meals, as well as other services. Some of them are operated under the auspices of the Catholic Church. Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that the funds not going to the Francis House will be directed to the other outreach programs?
    I applaud Bishop Soto’s decision, because the Reverend’s publicly spoken views are scandalous.

  • Richard Johnson

    I think the diocese acted appropriately here. If they can no longer in good conscience support Francis House because of the person chosen to lead said organization, they should withdraw their funding. As many have pointed out it is not a huge amount, and it will likely be shifted to another organization.

    And I also trust that there will be more money directed to Francis House from other organizations to more than make up the difference. The UU Society of Sacramento might well be one of those groups increasing their contribution to help bolster the budget of Francis House.

  • pagansister

    Gerard, Excuse my ignorance, but how is this woman using “the poor and the least as human shields”? She is running an agency– as I mentioned above, and probably not planning to preach to the folks who come to the shelter. Yes, I’m sure that the money will go else where to help those who need it, but to pull money because of her beliefs seems to be extreme—-she isn’t and I assume never was a Catholic. Obviously I do not know this for fact, I’m assumng. So she isn’t a Catholic who disagrees with the Church, but a Methodist who has her own beliefs. Does this make her unable to properly run the shelter? I have no reason to doubt your claims of what the RCC does and has done. I just find that pulling money from an entire organization who also helps the poor because of a person’s personal beliefs a bit harsh. That just my take.

  • kenneth

    It’s your prerogative to do so, of course, but it lends weight to the idea that Catholicism can only prevail when it is able to silence all other voices in the debate. I made a very cogent argument about why I believe the Church’s actions in this instance were incongruent with the example of Christ’s own life as depicted in the New Testament. I also said the Church should not expect public sympathy on things like the HHS mandate when it also uses funding as an ideological weapon. If you consider my arguments so inflammatory and dangerous that they have to be stricken from view, than quite likely your organization ain’t gonna do so well in the new century. Most of the world out there is a hell of a lot more hostile and less interested in reasoned debate than I am.

  • RomCath

    $10,000 is a drop in the bucket out of a half million, that’s math.

  • http://vocalblog.blogspot.com/ David Wendell

    Thank God for the holy boldness of the diocese ! Now I wish the dioceses for Pelosi and Biden would begin the process for official excommunication.

  • ron chandonia

    Uh, “your organization”??? This is a reference to the Catholic Church, I suppose. And you wonder why others here figure you are an anti-Catholic provocateur.

  • Tony de New York

    Good for the bishop!

    There are other organization that help the poor and are PRO- LIFE.

  • Rick

    I’m sure the diocese is still giving that $10,000 to some other program that serves the poor. The insitution that lost its funds is not the only program serving the poor and homeless.

  • Rick

    Just as the HHS contraception mandate is harsh when it comes to conscience objections.

  • pagansister

    It depends on the person whether $10,000 is a drop in the bucket or not, RomCath. To many folks that is as much as a 1/2 million. The view point of the value of that amount depends on who is judging it. Obviously this article is about an organization—-and a lot can be done with that $10,000. To some $50.00 is a fortune.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    pagansister,

    The game has been to run a superbly charitable Catholic organization, and then use it as a platform from which to voice dissent from the Magisterium on unrelated moral issues (like abortion, contraception and gay marriage). Then when the bishop becomes dyspeptic, hide behind the people you serve in the soup kitchen and dare the bishop to take aim and fire.

    The HHS mandate has become a watershed in the Church. Increasingly, the old ways won’t work any more. We will have authentically Catholic institutions and agencies run by people who are in accord with the Magisterium, the rebellious will be free to join those agencies who broke with the Magisterium.

    As for the situation at hand, the bishops are perfectly within their right not to fund charities run by clergy of other faiths whose fundamental approach to Christian morality and anthropology differs substantially from ours. We have plenty of authentically Catholic charities for the homeless who need that support. The homeless will not be shortchanged one dime.

  • naturgesetz

    Ron —

    This has nothing to do with the HHS mandate other than general contemporaneity.

    There was no element of the Catholic Church supporting anything contrary to our doctrines or beliefs. Indeed, it strikes me that the refusal to cooperate with others, even fellow Christians, who do not share all our moral beliefs — refusing to cooperate with them in matters on which those beliefs have no bearing — is completely contrary to sound ecumenism and directly comparable to the tut-tutting of the Pharisees when Jesus consorted with sinners. The Pharisees, after all took their name from their desire to separate themselves from all the evil they saw around them.

    It’s just like the federal government defunding Catholic relief agencies because they don’t provide contraceptives. No, it’s worse, because at least the government was basing its action on what our agencies actually do, whereas the Diocese of Sacramento was basing its decision on words unconnected with the agency’s actions.

  • naturgesetz

    Tony —

    Reread the story. Francis House is not pro-abortion.

  • Ray

    The Concordat was signed in 1933. While the Nazi were a legitimate, if perhaps overly militant political party. It predated any of their attrocities. Krystalnacht was not until 1938. The invasion of Poland was in 1939 and the Holocaust began in 1941. The Concordat merely outlined the seperation of Church and State, which liberals like yourself are always crying about, so I am curious as to your objection. But please get your facts straight and do not bear false witness against the Church. The Pope saw the coming evil and knew he would need a means to legally protest anti-religious actions against the Church in Germany.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    nuturgesetz,

    Not Pharisaic at all. You conflate moral precepts with custom. We’re not talking about techniques for ablutions or worship. We’re talking moral precepts… Fundamental moral precepts. It’s no light matter. Ecumenism breaks down when the parties disagree about fundamental moral precepts, and well it should when that happens.

    ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ is not okay with moral precepts.

  • Ray

    The poor will not suffer. The money will go to another Charity, more consistent with the moral beliefs and teachings of our Church. This was the correct decision. Yet there are those who will twist the facts to show our Church leaders in a negative light.

  • Mark

    Good grief, there’s nothing to this story. I don’t see why people are criticizing the Bishop here.

    The impact of this on “Francis House” budget is less than 2%. It’s pretty clear the Bishop doesn’t want to link the church with organizations led by people who avow positions contrary to Church teachings. The Church has so many other claims on its funds from other deserving charities and programs that are entirely in compliance with Church teachings — and whose leadership support Church teachings — that I’m sure someone needy will be the beneficiary.

    Incidentally, the problem is not with the Diocese but with the leadership of Francis House. The Board of Directors of Francis House should do two things:
    (1) Thank the Diocese for its support over the years.
    (2) Find itself a new Executive Director — someone who will keep their opinions to themselves. According to the news report, the “Reverend” Faith Whitmore is not only at odds with Catholic teachings, but — more importantly — she has been openly at odds with the teachings of her OWN denomination (Methodism) and openly defied the laws of her OWN Church. The problem isn’t with the Bishop, it’s with her and the people who hired her.

  • naturgesetz

    When they were upset that he didn’t wash his hands, it may have been custom; but when they refused to eat with sinners and were upset that he did, it was moral precepts that were at issue. They said, we must not have dealings with those who are immoral. He said, nonsense.

    It’s not, I’m okay, you’re okay. It’s having the intelligence to realize that cooperating for some good purpose in no way means agreement on all unrelated moral principles.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    That’s a low blow, and frankly slander.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    So I take it Kenneth you give your charitable donations to organizations you disagree with? Huh?

  • ron chandonia

    I don’t recall saying that this had anything to do with the HHS mandate. My point was that the Church is finding it increasingly difficult to work through external agencies that espouse positions on public issues that are contrary to our moral teachings. As a result, we face the possibility of returning to the days when we supported only those charitable services provided directly by Church-controlled agencies.

    Unfortunately, it is vastly more difficult to do that today than it was in the 19th or early 20th centuries, mainly because we need some degree of public sponsorship and funding in order to provide effective services. That funding also comes with strings attached: e.g., placing foster kids with same-sex couples or offering abortion counseling to victims of human trafficking. As a result, we find ourselves cut off from public funding as well as partnerships with other private agencies.

    Of course, you could say that Francis House itself has not officially taken the same positions on gay marriage and abortion as its director espouses. But that is hardly a distinction that would be clear to the general public, including potential Catholic donors. I see this problem in my service on our local CCHD committee. We simply cannot–nor should we–use money collected from fellow Catholics to fund agencies whose leaders advocate positions like those of the Francis House director.

  • Mark

    Pagan, were you in support of the left attack on Rush Limbaugh for his comment? The left went after his advertisers to cut him off for saying the word slut in a country that has survived some pretty vile speech in our history because we are protected by the first amendment. So if the Church sees a person put in charge of a program who is in open dissent on non negotiable teaching, according the Pope Benedict XVI, and chooses simply to no longer donate money, why would this even be a story and why would the left not understand it completely? No one on the left was donating money to Rush and if they were and chose to withhold it based on his statment, no one would have complained. When Planned Parenthood went after a donar who thought the values of Planned Parenthood did not represent the value of SGK, the left went off the deep end demanding that the ‘donations’ be restored. The abortion mills even went on national TV and outright lied about all the breast mammograms they were doing which was quickly exposed as a lie. I know the left wants to force the Catholic Church to change its teaching and will use any lie or distorition they can to hurt the Church, but I think Catholics are finally standing up and saying no more. No more bashing the Catholic Church. No more attacks on the clergy. No more making a small problem into a national disaster story. More Layity are standing up and writing responses to the editor. It has got to stop. We are fighting for our religious liberty and if the Administration and Catholic haters don’t like it, change will come in November.

  • naturgesetz

    “Of course, you could say that Francis House itself has not officially taken the same positions on gay marriage and abortion as its director espouses. But that is hardly a distinction that would be clear to the general public, including potential Catholic donors.”

    My point is that people need to learn to think clearly about things, including this. When someone with a sound-bite mentality, which infects so much of our public discourse, says, “She supports abortion and gay marriage,” the diocese should say, “Right, but we aren’t giving her the money. We’re giving it to Francis House, and Francis House doesn’t perform abortions or gay marriages, and it doesn’t promote them. If we ever learn that they are being promoted by the organization in its dealings with clients, we will stop funding it.”

  • pagansister

    Mark, Rush didn’t just “use the word slut”, he aimed it at a woman who was advocating a cause she believed in. He continued his rant to totally put down the woman with other accusations based on the cause she was testifying about. Yes, to answer your question. It wasn’t the use of the “word”. That “word” is pretty tame these days. He personally had no knowledge of what Ms. Fluke is like. Also, what the heck business is it if his anyhow? He is an example of how to live one’s life? That would be NO! Many churches have different views—obviously, but do work together in worth while causes etc. They try to find common beliefs to work with. The new head of this charity happens to be a Methodist. Does she represent ALL Methodists? no. Is everyone in the RCC represented by one person? (unless the Pope is considered that one person) IMO, no. Not all Catholics are in agreement. So taking money from a charity because it’s new manager doesn’t have the same approach to marriage and abortion seems to be not in the spirit of interfaith cooperation and good will. As I have mentioned somewhere else, her personal beliefs have nothing to do with her ability to run the charity.

  • pagansister

    So Gerard, you’re saying Rev. Whitmore is planning to use her position at Francis House to promote/encourage her personal beliefs? IMO, that wouldn’t be the case, but I’m not there. And is this a Catholic organization? I didn’t think it was. If it was, they probably wouldn’t have hired a Methodist, especially with her personal opinions on birth control, marriage etc. Perhaps I’m confused. But yes, the RCC can certainly pull it’s money from any place it wishes….and it did in this case.

  • kenneth

    The Church didn’t have a disagreement with the organization in question here. They withheld funding from the organization because the personal views of its director didn’t pass some ideological purity test. No, I don’t do that. I give to organizations whose mission I support.
    If the people in charge are carrying out that mission in good faith and with a reasonable degree of confidence, I don’t monitor their personal statements of belief and yank my money if I happen to disagree with them. If the agency head in this case had been misappropriating funds to advance her own beliefs over that of the official mission, then yes, I could see yanking funding. To do so for the reasons done was just petty.

  • Mark

    pagan, you ignored the entire point. So lets take your rant on Rush and rephrase the question.

    Does an organization have the moral right to stop donating their own money to an organization that chooses to hire as their leader someone who is at odds with the donars non negotiable core values and beliefs? Do they have the right to question that this woman whose position is totally at odds with these essential teaching and values will not at some point use the funds in a way not consistent with their values?

    Knowing what you seem to confirm of your intense dislike and disagreement with Rush Limbaugh, if you were giving money to a charity and they hired Rush to lead it what would you do, keep donating or stop because they hired rush?

    If you answered no, you woud keep on giving and trust Rush not to do anything to cause you consern, then sorry, you have zero credibility.

  • Mark

    If you hire a new director who openly supports there views, she could make the change tomorrow using your money to open a gay marriage support group or a referral office with planned parenthood.

    I cannot believe anyone would try to argue with the right and obligation of the Catholic Dioceses to stop donations when they hire a director as gravely disordered in her views as you can get.

    What if they had hired as a new director the former head of the local KKK office? So what if his views use to be racist last year? He might not do anything to impact the running of this home? What if this same house had hired the former KKK guy and the Church did not drop the charity? Talk about headlines..

    Until people start to see that supporting the holocaust of abortion and gay marrige attack on the core family is at least as evil as the former KKK hiring, they are missing the teaching of the Church in regard to the non negotiable importance of these two grave sins.

  • pagansister

    Mark, Of course the Church has a right to stop their contribution to anything they please. I just find that the reason is one that doesn’t encourage interfaith cooperation—
    As to Rush—if he was hired to run a charity (highly unlikely IMO) I would continue to give for the benefit of the folks the charity helped. Yes.

  • pagansister

    Mark, got a little carried away there, didn’t you?


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