Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Governors blast church over funding threat

No postings lately because I've been dealing with a horrible case of bronchitis for the last several days. I am working on a new Sr. Teresa Forcades translation, an interview she gave in Catalan where she talks about prayer, Benedictine spirituality, etc...

Meanwhile I was happy to see two Catholic governors stand up today and say: "No, opposing gay marriage and benefits for domestic partners is NOT more important than caring for the needy." In this case, all you have to do is look at how Jesus said we would be judged (Matthew 25) to know what the Church's priorities should be if we were really following the Gospel.

As a side note, I want to clarify what has really happened in the flap over Rep. Patrick Kennedy and communion. Although many members of the media and Rep. Kennedy himself have said that Bishop Thomas Tobin is denying Kennedy communion, this is not the case. In fact, in 2007 Bishop Tobin simply wrote to Kennedy: "In light of the Church's clear teaching, and your consistent actions, therefore, I believe it is inappropriate for you to be receiving Holy Communion and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so." And in a recent public letter in the diocesan newspaper Tobin offered a more detailed rebuttal of Kennedy's positions, telling him that "if you don’t accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you 'less of a Catholic.'"

Opining that a person is not in communion with the Church and asking them to voluntarily refrain from taking Communion is not the same as, for example, instructing all priests in the diocese of Providence to deny Communion to Congressman Kennedy.

All of this is very difficult for me. After all, I disagree with the Church's teachings in a number of areas. The only difference between myself and Rep. Kennedy is that I am not famous so what I think or don't think will never be a matter of public scandal. The same is true for all of those couples who will go up and receive communion this Sunday and take their birth control pills or put on their condoms that night. And what about all the Catholic judges, jurors and governors (including Gov. Kaine) who will sentence someone to the death penalty and then step up to the altar as if they had nothing to confess? Have any of them ever been advised by their bishops not to present themselves for Communion?

Bottom line: If everyone who, in the opinion of the American bishops, is not worthy to receive were to stop coming to Church and getting in the communion line, we could probably solve the priest shortage because we could close most of the parishes.


WASHINGTON - The governors of Virginia and Maryland blasted the Catholic Church over its threat to stop providing social service programs in the District, if the city's proposed same-sex marriage law isn't changed.

The criticism from the governors came on WTOP's Hands Across the Potomac program

"I'm Catholic, and I think it's wrong. I don't think you take your ball and go home," Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said.

"I think the strategy of threatening to pull back, it doesn't seem like the church I've come up in."

The D.C. bill says that religious organizations wouldn't have to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings, but would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians. The archdiocese wants to be exempt from the law.

District leaders have contacted the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington in the hopes of forging a compromise. D.C. Council members want the church to explore what Georgetown University has done. Georgetown provides medical coverage to a spouse or "a legally domiciled adult" in the employee's household.

Kaine, who praised the "remarkable" work of the church, says if the Catholic Church opts to end its charitable work in the District, it would "it would set a very bad example."

"It's really not who the church has been. If you look at the church through history, the church will stand in tough situations and continue to do good," said Kaine, who has worked as a missionary in Honduras.

"I would be very, very disappointed here or anywhere else if the Catholic Church decides 'Gosh, we don't like something that's happening in civil society, so we're going to retreat into our shell.'"

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who also is Catholic, agreed.

"I don't understand how they can possibly do this," O'Malley said.

"I have a hard time believing that the nuns and priests who taught me about the Corporal Works of Mercy would agree that this is an appropriate response for the church," he said.

"I think it would be very, very sad for all concerned, especially for the people who are served by the good work of the Catholic Church acting out the Gospels."

Both governors also say they hope the cuts that may be coming to the area's Catholic schools aren't as severe as reported.

Pastors at 14 Catholic churches in D.C. and Maryland say their schools are in danger of closing or undergoing major changes if enrollments continue to decline. The archdiocese operates 96 schools serving 28,629 students in the District and Maryland. Enrollment is down 2.4 percent from last year.

"It would have a big impact on quality of life in a lot of neighborhoods in the District, and also in Maryland," O'Malley says.

No comments:

Post a Comment