A reader writes:
I am an employee of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Washington, and I am glad you have picked up on this story once again. I can say that nearly everyone I know below the Executive level is absolutely astonished, disgusted, and anxious at the Executive team's utter obtuseness about their intentions moving forward, not to mention Catholic Charities' continued betrayal of our mission to serve the poor, on behalf of a political fight.
Without DC government contracts, most CC programs in the District are doomed to the same fate as the foster care program, yet the Archdiocese (who calls all the shots - our Board of Directors is totally powerless, and worthless) still won't tip their hand about whether or not we are actually going to continue to provide services, let alone reassure employees that the Archdiocese is concerned about us keeping our jobs.
Unofficially, I hear the Archdiocese will play ball with the District, and follow the lead of Georgetown University by providing benefits to "legally domiciled adults," or some other generic construction, who co-habitate with CC employees, thereby including same-sex spouses without recognizing the marriages - but there has been no official word.
Every day that this process is dragged on, and reported on in the press, further sullies the reputation of the largest social services agency in the city, and worsens our chances of renewing funding with government and private foundations, whether or not CC ends up complying with the law and providing benefits to same-sex spouses.
No one is asking the Church to perform same-sex marriages or bless same-sex couples, but only to afford these couples the same civil rights they are guaranteed by law, and the human dignity the Church so staunchly defends for everyone else. A more forward-thinking, less reactionary, organization would have had a strategic plan in place for this the moment Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage years ago, and would be ready to make the necessary compromises to ensure that we continue to stay in business, and fulfill our mission, without drawing undue attention by showing contempt for the localities we serve.
But the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has zero desire to read the prevailing cultural winds, let alone adjust to them. It disgusts and saddens me that our leadership is so callow as to put culture wars above the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, and others whom the Catholic Church is dedicated to serve.
Several people I know, both gay and straight, have recently left Catholic Charities for other agencies, and with any luck I won't be too far behind. Thank you for your continued attention to the Church's failures to prioritize between it's core values, and those on the periphery.
Something is rotten in the heart of the Catholic hierarchy. It is time real Catholics started standing up against it.
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