WaPo idiocy

A reader sent word of the following idiocy from one David Waters, WaPo "On Faith" blogger. 

Read and chuckle.   My emphases and comments

The Archdiocese’s ultimatum
By David Waters

In a surprisingly bold and seemingly unbiblical move, [tuck that word away for the time being] the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is threatening to discontinue its social support for nearly 70,000 people — including a third of Washington’s homeless — because of its opposition to a proposed same-sex marriage bill[Think about this.  The issue in question is not support of the homeless.  It is really same-sex marriage, … which has another name, FWIW.]

Under the proposed bill, according to a story by Post reporters Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein, religious organizations would not be required to perform same-sex weddings, "but they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians."  [And therefore…]

Apparently, the archdiocese is concerned that it could be forced, for example, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, open adoptions to same-sex couples, or rent a church hall to gay and lesbian groups. "If the city requires this, we can’t do it," Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. "The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that’s really a problem."  [Yes, that is a problem.  But notice the key part here: "The city is saying that in order to provide…"  Get that?  "The city is saying…".]

And withdrawing support for the poor and the hungry isn’t a problem?  [Ummm… did he slip into Bearded-Spock-Reality?   The issue is same-sex marriage.]

It gets complicated anytime church and state work together to provide services for people, especially when a mix of public and private funds and facilities is involved. In this case, for example, the church manages a number of city-owned homeless shelters.  [aaaaaaand….?  So…. the Archdiocese is ready to continue to help so long as the City doesn’t pressure the the Archdiocese to do morally repugnant things.  Is that it?]

The use of public funds and facilities should be governed by secular laws and regulations, including anti-discrimination laws. But churches and other non-profit religious organizations are exempt from many such laws, because of church-state separation.

The Church should have every right to oppose any piece of legislation and to use its funds and facilities as it sees fit. [Except when it interferes with a liberal agenda?]  On the other hand, if any church is going to accept government funding for any purpose, shouldn’t it be required to abide by government rules?

But the larger question is this: [Get this….] Is the Church really going to ignore the gospel imperative to feed, clothe, shelter and care for the disadvantaged — in this case 70,000 — because it might have to provide better benefits to a few of its own workers? I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant by "going the extra mile."  [And the City is going to ignore the prescription by God not to commit sodomy.  Is that it?]

As DC council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) put it: "Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue?[How thick is Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3)?]

This seems to be the scenario.

The Archdiocese is presently doing its part to help homeless people.

The City is going to press the Archdiocese to do things which are morally repugnant and contrary both to Scripture and the natural law.

So, standing there with its hands open in both directions, waiting to help the poor, it would actually be the CITY which would cut off funds to help the Archdiocese, because the Archdiocese refuses to condone sodomy.

Get that?  The City would suspend the funds.

Therefore the liberals, to pressure the Church to violate the interior logic of Christianity, say that the Church wants to "harm" the poor.

Is that what I just read?

And the writer, Waters, who flashes out the word "unbiblical" might want to review Holy Writ’s comments on sodomy.

UPDATE 14 Nov 1637 GMT:

Read more HERE at American Catholic

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JohnE says:

    “Is the Church really going to ignore the gospel imperative to feed, clothe, shelter and care for the disadvantaged?”

    Sounds very similar to:

    “Did God REALLY say not to eat from ANY of the trees in the garden?!”

  2. Michael in NoVA says:

    Fr. Z,

    I don’t know if you can get this article or not, but this post isn’t the only nutty bit about this in the WaPo. In today’s print edition, in addition to the “news” article, Petula Dvorak pens a column accusing the Catholic Church of treating the care of the sick and poor as a gambling chip against this legislation. What’s even better are a few of the choice paragraphs:

    “I’m not going to make this an argument in favor of same-sex marriage. Anyone who opposes such basic civil rights will find themselves on the wrong side of history. It’s a civil rights issue, and I believe the argument should end right there.”

    WHAT ARGUMENT? You raise the issue, define it (“civil rights”) as you wish, and then end all discussion as if you’ve accomplished something. Quite unimpressive.

    And then there’s this:

    “I am not much of a churchgoer these days.” (No surprise) “But I will always hold dear the lessons I learned from the Church I attended in my younger days.”

    And then of course Ms. Dvorak waxes about Fr. Joe and Fr. Grace promoting love, happiness, and social justice (repressing any memories about serving the truth) to show her bona fides for tsk-tsking the Church. It’s quite a piece.

    Fr. Z, I’m really not joking when I ask you this: I get the paper (WaPo, for now) because I more than make up the cover price with the Sunday coupons and weekly grocery ads. Is it worse for me to subscribe to this drivel or to go over to the Moonie-run Washington Times?

  3. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Let’s not forget that the Boston archdiocese was forced to shut down Catholic Charities adoption services because of threatened state action if the agency did not permit adoptions by same-sex marriage partners. This is a tactic that will be used more and more. Meanwhile, the media will focus on the plight of gay families struggling to maintain their Catholic identity, as in this Newsweek article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/201748

  4. JonM says:

    This was bound to happen and will be an on going test of faith starting with lay people. It is a time like this when we find out if we can truly answer in the affirmative to the question in John 21:15. I think that the people in this archdiocese should be very supportive (as they should in general) because there is no doubt the bishop is going to take much broadside fire as a result of this entirely biblical and genuinely charitable position.

  5. Peggy R says:

    The WaPo should post a warning to readers who dare enter into the zone of its “On Faith” section. It’s such a mess of terrible information and skewed views.

  6. medievalist says:

    Nothing new. The Catholic Church in England withdrew adoption services because of similar government policies. Interestingly, the Catholic services were providing adoptions of the majority of challenged and hard-to-place children in the country. In other words, the government harmed the weakest (nothing new) whom the Church was protecting (nothing new) because their agenda didn’t see fit to provide a conscience clause.

    I’d also like to see the chapter and verse where Our Lord said, in common retail parlance, “to go the extra mile”!

  7. Scarlett says:

    The Church should make sure that it IS the city who suspends funds. Don’t do anything preemptive. I don’t know exactly how legislation and the contracts between the city and the church work, but I think if the Archdiocese is going to refuse to do certain things the city tries to mandate – extending benefits to same-sex partners, etc. – it should most definitely continue providing services to the poor. Let it be the city to kick them out of the shelters, let it be the city to cut off funds. Make sure it doesn’t come across as using the poor and the sick as a “gambling chip.” Continue serving the poor and the sick, continue following Church teaching re: marriage, and make THE CITY be the one who has to declare that those are incompatible and refuse to let the Church continue providing services.

  8. JMody says:

    Wow – how do I mock thee? Let me count the ways …
    The Church has every right – except when it interferes with US, thenfreedom of association be damned, prohibiting free exercise of religion be damned, just OBEY.
    Does the Church receive funds? That’s not mentioned in the extract here — but if they do, are they the ONLY institution able to do that? Why is the City so concerned about losing one potential contractor (since they obviously don’t see them as anything more than that)?
    It may be from somewhere else, but weren’t the terms of the proposed law something along the lines of “If service is provided TO THE PUBLIC, then no discrimination is allowed”? Well imagine the possibilities — sorry, only Catholic homeless at this shelter. Only Catholic crash victims at this hospital. And that’d be COMPLYING with the law that this commentator sees as so good for holding the oh-so-necessary separation of Church and State.

    Why can’t they just come out and say what they want — Church fork over all assets now because you are violating the laws … wait a second, aren’t they doing that to a mosque in New York? Oh but those are terrorists, this certainly won’t be any kind of precedent for the Feds when dealing with other crimes and other faiths … not yet, anyway.

  9. JohnMa says:


    The problem is if the Church takes that approach they are going to be guilty of a crime and I can promise you that DC will try to impose the max fine and possible jail time for members of Catholic Charities. Can’t risk that.

  10. Al says:

    A disgusting display of socialist bullying and a statis interference in the workings of the church by homosexual militants. It is THEY who do not care about the poor…if they did they would not ask the church to change its doctrines…they would say, “Please continue to take care of the poor and we will not ask you to do what you cannot do, have never done, and never will do because of your doctrine given to you by God”. Disgusting Fascist Liberals…STAND FIRM BISHOPS…STAND FIRM… THE LINE MUST BE DRAW HERE! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGF1NP-FrCU (Minus the “I will make them pay” line…)

    St Thomas Beckett pray for our Catholic Leaders to stand tall in the eye of the storm!

  11. Is the Church really going to ignore the gospel imperative to feed, clothe, shelter and care for the disadvantaged—in this case 70,000—because it might have to provide better benefits to a few of its own workers?

    That’s like saying, “Is the Church really going to allow Henry VIII to despoil the monasteries and churches and thereby ignore the Gospel imperative to feed, clothe, shelter and care for the disadvantaged, just because Pope Clement doesn’t want to give the king his annulment and let him be head of the church in England?”

    I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant by “going the extra mile.”

    Too stupid for comment.

  12. “Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue?”

    It’s not a “philosophical disagreement”. It is, at the least, a moral disagreement.

  13. paladin says:

    From Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”:

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.


  14. Kimberly says:

    Can’t get past “Jesus meant by “going the extra mile.” Talk about nostalgia, this guy is stuck in the 70’s.

  15. Fr Martin Fox says:

    This was my comment on the site:

    Here’s how this boils down:

    1. Church spends it’s own $ to help the poor.

    2. City pays Church city $ to provide more help to poor.

    3. City has right to set conditions–and adds new conditions for taking city $.

    4. Tells Church, follow new rules, or no more city $.

    5. Church says, new rules violate our conscience, so–on the terms you set, we decline.

    6. Note well: Church will continue to spend its $ as before.

    7. City is free to spend its $ for poor, right? Why don’t the poor still get same, net benefits? Same money; different providers!

    8. Yet Mr. Waters attacks Church as mean, “unbiblical” and hurting the poor, despite:

    9. Church will still spend its own $ on the poor;

    10 City can spend it’s $ on the poor;

    11. It was the city that changed the terms!

    12. Why is Mr. Water’s unhappy, if poor still get same help, city controls its money, and Church keeps it’s conscience?

    13. Unavoidable conclusion: Mr. Waters isn’t happy till Church submits its conscience to the city’s demands.

  16. Jayna says:

    Ah, OK, this makes a little more sense. I have a lot of really left friends on my Facebook friends list, so I was getting these wild interpretations of what the story was through my news feed. From what they were saying, it looked like the Archdiocese was going to shut down their own facilities out of some kind of protest against the law, not that they would be shut down as a consequence for failure to comply. That makes far more sense put that way.

  17. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I might add…

    It’s possible the city could go further, and say, Church can’t operate any social services without compliance…and with the proposed law in flux, that could happen. It may also be what the Church was trying to head off…

    But if that happens, then the Church is out of social service business in D.C….

    At the behest of the city.

    Somehow, that’s the Church’s fault…

  18. Denise says:

    The WaPo blog post follows their “news article” from yesterday that had the blaring headline of Catholic Church gives DC an ultimatum. I tried to counter this interpretation here. It is important to remember that multiple legal scholars warned DC that they had inadequate protections for religious liberty. The city ignored this. The Alexander amendment would have offered adequate religious liberty protection but the city council refused to include it. The Archdiocese of Washington is not protesting the passage of same-sex marriage legislation. If the Alexander amendment had passed, it would have continued to partner with the District. The issue here is religious liberty protections more than it is same-sex marriage.

  19. wmeyer says:

    Here’s a possible new approach:
    1. Let the Church stop partnering with government, and conduct its own charity operations, unfettered.
    2. Let the government stop usurping the prerogatives of churches, such as performing marriages. The entire notion of “same-sex marriage” arises only because there is such a thing as a “civil marriage.”

    The government for which we all labor so much is in profound need of overhaul. Restructuring, but first, dismantling. It’s corrupt, has violated its own Constitution for over 100 years, and has re-educated many to believe that our freedoms are granted by the government, rather than coming from God.

    The sooner the Church ceases any sort of supportive cooperation with the government, the better.

  20. GregH says:

    The Washington Post is only good if you’re out hunting and run out of toilet paper.

  21. BLC says:

    I 100% agree with wmeyer.

  22. 1 Maccabees 1: “And king Antiochus wrote to all his kingdom, that all the people should be one: and every one should leave his own law… And the king sent letters by the hands of messengers to Jerusalem, and to all the cities of Judah: that they should follow the law of the nations of the earth… and let their souls be defiled with all uncleannesses, and abominations, to the end that they should forget the law, and should change all the justifications of God. And that whosoever would not do according to the word of king Antiochus should be put to death. According to all these words he wrote to his whole kingdom, and he appointed rulers over the people that should force them to do these things…

    “And they drove away the people of Israel into lurking holes, and into the secret places of fugitives… And they cut in pieces, and burnt with fire the books of the law of God: And every one with whom the books of the testament of the Lord were found, and whosoever observed the law of the Lord, they put to death, according to the edict of the king.”

  23. Fr Martin Fox says:


    Sounds good, except marriage is a civil institution arising out of the natural order. After all, I am not aware that the Church ever held that non-believers lacked a right to marry one another. Marriage is also a religious institution, but it isn’t intrinsically so. That is true of sacramental marriage, but not natural marriage.

  24. Clinton says:

    Fr. Fox, your post @ 6:19 pm broke it down beautifully. Thanks for that. I cannot imagine a person of good will reading that and
    not coming to the same conclusion.

  25. The libs are very much against liberty. Of course the homo-activists are always telling us that the Church will never be forced to recognize homosexual relationships. Yeah, right. The Church has always stood against the forces of evil. The people in the trenches, re some Bishops, are the ones who have been lacking backbones. Socialists want control over everything. They cannot tolerate the idea of individuals having an alternative to government dependency. When a church or other non-state controlled institution ministers to (or educates) those in need, it represents a loss of control to the statist. And this cannot be tolerated. Forcing the church out of the business of meeting the needs of the poor is viewed as a desirable end.

    The gay marriage law is merely a tool to force the Catholic church out of the charity business. I predict that they will also use this tool — or any other that they can find — to try to force the church out of the education business.

  26. tired student says:

    Does Catholic Charities in DC have the money to go its own way?

    I’ve always been skeptical about the relationship between religious institutions and state funding. Often times the relationship is rather bipolar — periods of cooperation pockmarked with flare-up conflicts. It’s time Catholic Charities just drops out of DC funding and finds a way to go it alone. It’s not worth it to fight DC for the funding. Is that “giving up”, a loss? Maybe. Perhaps the DC experience is a reality check that the Church will need to do more with less given the upcoming battles over SSM, gay partnership benefits, etc. I don’t think that Catholic Charities is the best venue to fight SSM. We’re better off in the legislatures and think tanks than squabbling over bits of money.

  27. DisturbedMary says:

    I think this is a crucial moment for the American Church to show us lay people how to defy Caesar. If the Church can’t do it, then to whom do we turn when faced with institutionalized sin?

  28. Wow – kudos to both Frs. Fox and Zuhlsdorf’s comments! As a DC native, I find that actually quite enlightening, considering that now my mind has been confused in their liberal arguments. And now I know the truth – the Post’s arguments are as floppy as a fish out of water.

    I think I might actually tag your comments on my blog.

  29. Timbot2000 says:

    Fr. Fox
    Very astute, but it does not befit the state to define marriage at its positive fiat any more than it does gravitation or thermodynamics, this does not obviate the utility of building codes, but it must be kept in mind that physics predates and supersedes the state as does marriage. Outside of Christianity, even Confucius recognized this: [Paraphrase Alert! I do not have the corpus handy and have to recreate from memory, the narrative is correct, but names may be wrong.]
    “Said Duke Chu of Liang: The land of Liang is ruled so well, and is so orderly, and its people so virtuous that sons turn in their fathers rather than suffer to see them break the law.
    Said the Master: Where I am from this is not called virtue.”
    The Modern State has no natural authority over the Church in this matter as it is only a human institution of positive origin, with multiple alternate political alternatives, while even natural marriage has, due to its arising the divinely-created order of nature, a divine aspect by natural association, as does the family. The divine, rules the natural, rules the positive, lower orders being trumped by higher orders.

  30. Timbot2000 says:

    I wish we could get input from the likes of Christopher Manion or Thomas Fleming on this topic, as his writings against our enemy, and the Church’s enemy, the modern state are far better than anything I could do.

  31. Antiquarian says:

    Might I, among all these excellent comments, also add a bit of praise for Archbishop Wuerl, who is being pilloried by the DC Council and the local media? As the overseer of the Pope’s Mass at Nationals Stadium and the oridinary who refuses to deny communion to pro-abortion politicians, he comes in for a lot of justified criticism here. But he’s taking the right stand here and seems to be in it for the long haul.

  32. RichardT says:

    We went through this last year in England; it’s now illegal for adoption charities to “discriminate against” homosexual couples when placing children for adoption.

    Well done for Washington diocese for standing up to this; generally the English bishops caved in, with a few brave exceptions. See:

  33. Gail F says:

    Anita Moore, OPL wrote:

    That’s like saying, “Is the Church really going to allow Henry VIII to despoil the monasteries and churches and thereby ignore the Gospel imperative to feed, clothe, shelter and care for the disadvantaged, just because Pope Clement doesn’t want to give the king his annulment and let him be head of the church in England?”

    That’s the best comment I’ve read anywhere so far, it’s absolutely perfect.

    This is just another version of the “the anti-abortion people are willing to sacrifice healthcare for the entire country to keep abortion out of the bill” argument, when the truth is that abortion is relatively inexpensive — hence the reason that millions of abortions are already done, many of them to poor women, without insurance paying for them — and according to the House Bill would remain exactly as available as it is now, but the pro-abortion people are willing to sacrifice their view of perfect healthcare for the entire country to make abortion universally covered.

  34. Fr Martin Fox says:


    One of the points I always make about marriage is that it is an institution so old, no one knows its origin (other than by surmise or faith). Somewhere in the misty past, men and women began “getting married”–whatever that meant way back then. It arises out of human nature, hence it is intrinsically heterosexual.

    Many folks against so-called “gay marriage” fall into a trap set by advocates of reinvention, when they emphasize marriage as a religious institution; because then the “gay marriage” folks can say, see–it’s sectarian, and it can be changed.”

    Actually, what is “religious” is not the heterosexual component, but monogamy: where there is no evidence of homosexual “marriage” arising in any culture. FYI, the other side brings up the Greeks and Romans–ignoring that their citation actually proves my point: the evidence they trumpet can be construed as showing varying degrees of tolerance or acceptance of homosexual behavior and even ongoing relationships–yet even then, no evidence of same-sex marriage, which was understood as heterosexual, for the obvious reason that that’s how society propagated itself.

    But one-man, one-woman? That is something that might be argued arises from religion; and if we lose the same-sex battle in the courts, expect polygamists to pounce on this.

  35. grasp says:

    The following was a heated response after I forwarded your wonderful entry to a progressive friend of mine:

    See, the thing is, progress is being made to give everyone equal rights, including those repugnant gays. Hey, and the hatred of gays is completely founded, since in the Bible in the book of Leviticus, it says that homosexuality is an abomoniation, and then it goes on to say so is eating lobster. In the same breath. THAT’S how repugnant it is – it’s equally as bad as eating seafood without scales.

    The Bible also supports owning slaves, it’s in there, it even suggests prices for slaves, and yet, somehow, we as a people, rose above owning people, and while the Church may think that the Bible justifies it, sane people do not, not anymore.

    Those same sane people also consider treating homosexuals as lesser humans is equally as repugnant as owning one of them.

    And as I said before, the Church cannot stand to give rights to gays… that is, gays that aren’t priests. Those get plenty of rights, priveleges, and when they’re found out diddling kids, they’re promoted, or moved laterally, and given a whole new, completely unsuspecting flock to diddle.

    Yup. Defend the Church’s stand on gays all you like, Lee. It’s as consistent as anything the Church does, or the foundation it does it on. If it benefits the Church, it’s fine and dandy, despite it being completely against Jesus’ teachings. But if it doesn’t, screw it. We’ll find passages in the Bible to support our hatred. And if not, we’ll write them.

    This IS the same Church that edited God’s own handwriting and removed the second commandment in 767ad. Cause it wanted to keep its statues.

    Yeah… the Church.

  36. Grasp,
    I pity people like you. You said,

    “This IS the same Church that edited God’s own handwriting and removed the second commandment in 767ad. Cause it wanted to keep its statues.”

    You care to back that up? You sound like a liberal Protestant and are here to simply stir the pot.

  37. Fr Martin Fox says:


    Hold on…re-read the post–Grasp said s/he was quoting a response of someone else…

  38. grasp says:

    Fr. Martin Fox, That is exactly correct, I apologize for not being more clear. When Sean (my friend) posted the wapo story I wanted to respond in kind, I found this site and sent him the link. What you see above is his response, which i am now formulating another response too. As I am feeling in over my head, I was hoping some would have a response. Actually Roman crusaders point about the commandment is an excellent one. I apologize again for being unclear. I really do not want to stir the pot. Just hoping for some truth.

  39. Fr Martin Fox says:


    You were clear enough. It is not you who needs to apologize.

  40. cato_the_younger says:

    For an excellent defense of the Church ie slavery go here:


  41. cato_the_younger says:

    The last message was for Grasp. For a good argument in defense of the Church ie homosexuality go here:


  42. cato_the_younger says:

    Grasp in answer to your friend regarding the Old law: Old Testamentís ceremonial requirements are no longer binding, its moral requirements are. God may issue different ceremonies for use in different times and cultures, but his moral requirements are eternal and are binding on all cultures.

  43. “Hold on…re-read the post—Grasp said s/he was quoting a response of someone else…”

    Sorry about that.

  44. grasp says:

    Thank you everyone. I appreciate the re-read romancrusader.

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