BENEDICTHANDSJoeKlamar:AFP:Getty

The DC diocese - my own - officially ends its 80-year foster care program over marriage equality:

A Catholic Charities spokesman said the group is looking for ways to provide other services for which it is under contract to the city, including assistance to the homeless and victims of domestic violence, without coming into conflict with the new same-sex marriage law, which was passed by the district council in December and will take effect within a few weeks. City officials said no other faith-based group has mentioned any problem with city contracts.

I despair.

A simple parallel: does the Washington diocese's charities employ any people who have been civilly divorced and are now re-married under DC law? If so, how are these individuals less offensive to the teachings of the Church on the institution of marriage than a member of a gay couple provided civil marriage licenses?

Catholic doctrine is very clear: a remarried person is not remarried in the eyes of the Church, and for the Church to employ such a person would be to recognize a civil marriage that violates one of its core principles. There are infinitely more of these individuals than there are gay Catholics or gay non-Catholics who might want to help the homeless or serve the poor or provide foster care for an abandoned child. Catholic Charities might - Heaven forfend - have to provide spousal benefits to a member of a heterosexual couple violating Church doctrine about matrimony in exactly the same way. And almost certainly, they already do all the time.

Have Catholic Charities ever considered shutting down their entire city contracts for the needy because of the chance that this might happen or might have already happened? Of course not. So why this glaring inconsistency on the question of homosexuals - unless it is driven by animus against them?

I raised this question with Maggie Gallagher at the CATO debate. Her response, as I recall, was that the church should probably seek to "cleanse" more people from its ranks, implying divorcees or the remarried.

Nice word that, isn't it: "cleanse". But at least it would be a consistent position: a defense of any contamination of the church's definition of marriage by the District's City Council.

It's interesting that, once again, it's only the gays the Church singles out for this kind of radical action?  And remarkable also that an institution found guilty of the rape and abuse of so many children for so many years - and a conspiracy at the highest levels to cover it up and perpetuate it - would now seek to abandon other children in need of foster care because it might - in some few cases - just might imply acceptance of the civil rights of gay couples. 

This they take a stand on. Torture by their own government just miles away? Not so much. When Jesus' clear fundamental injunction is to help the needy. The homeless will be the next victims of this madness - for there is no other way to describe the extremity of the position, an act of pique that could actually hurt people genuinely in need, whom the church has served for centuries as part of its core mission.

Why? Because the maintenance of dogma, inconsistently applied, is so much more important than charity.

Yes, that's what Catholicism now seems to mean, isn't it?

These three things then remain: dogma, power and charity.

And the least of these three is charity.

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