US Catholic Faith in Real Life

DC archdiocese taking it on the chin

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Oh man. Just do a Twitter, Google, or Facebook search of the DC gay marriage kerfuffle and it looks like a PR nightmare for the church. With story after story reporting that Catholic Charities is going to "stop feeding the homeless" if DC permits same-sex marriage, folks are reacting. Coming on the heels of news that Catholic dioceses funneled more than a half a million dollars into the Maine referendum on same-sex marriage, a lot of people are starting to say that Catholicism = bigotry.

Of course it's all a bit more nuanced: The archdiocese is saying that it will withdraw from publicly funded social service contracts; obviously that will mean cuts in its outreach. But it will continue as it can with private funds.

At the same time, I wish the dioceses could find some way to "modulate" their tone a little. Lately it's just been one threat after another. If the issue is coverage of the same-sex partners of Catholic Charities employees, then follow the San Fran archdiocese's model and offer benefits to any unrelated household member.

But escalating the drama with threats that make you look like you're holding the poor hostage are simply not the way to go.