Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
On this Easter weekend, I was dismayed when I learned that the Roman Catholic Church recently decided that helping the poor in Colorado obtain health care is fine, as long as the organizations assisting these needy folks were not gay or “hanging out” with the Gays.
“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. 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.” New York Times
I attended Catholic Elementary schools and I just can’t imagine that the good Benedictine Nuns that taught us would agree with the Catholic Bishop’s stand that if there is any connection to an “evil” group, the funding that goes to the neediest among us will be stopped dead in its tracks. The Jesus that our nuns taught us about made no distinctions about helping the poor and needy. He didn’t say that we should only help the needy who are true Catholics!
While come Catholics and Catholic organizations are speaking out against the decision to defund Companeros and other needy organizations, the Bishops are holding fast to their decision.
“Some bishops, though, are pushing back. In September, Bishops Jaime Soto, chairman of the subcommittee on the antipoverty campaign for the bishops’ conference, and Stephen E. Blaire, chairman of its committee on domestic justice and human development, sent a memo asserting that virtually all the accusations were without substance. “We rely on the judgment of the local bishop and diocese, not the repeated accusations of those with clear ideological and ecclesial agendas,” they wrote in the memo, which went out to all American bishops.” New York Times
Is it possible that the Catholic Bishops are responding to the money that the conservative Catholic organizations bring to the table more so than the evil allegedly inherent in these cloudy ties with evildoers? Didn’t Jesus teach us to love our enemies? If we are supposed to love our enemies, how can the RCC continue to defund needy organizations that are doing the Lord’s work? How can helping poor people be a bad thing for the Church?
I have seen this type of head in sand mentality at work in our local Diocese when fundraising for the poor was stopped because the coordinating Protestant organization had a speaker from a Pro-Choice group speak at one of their conventions. It is sad that in an era of decreasing governmental assistance and programs for the needy, the Catholic Church cannot see past its nose to help people who, in many cases, have nowhere else to turn. The question that kids everywhere wore on bracelets in Catholic Schools has been forgotten by our Church’s leaders. What Would Jesus Do?