A tactic

We are starting to see more often now the heterodox attack orthodox defenses of Catholic doctrine as “turning against the poor”.

In the combox here, under a post about Bp. Morlino, someone tried to slither in a snarky implication that Bp. Morlino stopped helping “the poor” when the Diocese of Madison rearranged funding for a multi-cultural center.  (To be clear: the notion that Morlino and/or the diocese stopped helping the poor is just plain weird.)

Now I see that His Eminence Francis Card. George of Chicago will no longer give money from the Campaign for Human Development to a group that also promotes “same-sex marriage” as part of their political agenda. Cardinal George explains HERE that we cannot give money to a group that promotes something that so egregiously goes against Catholic teaching. I would add: against nature, against the ecology of the human person, as it were.

I must note that there is not a direct parallel between the Madison and Chicago thing.  The point is that they are both accused of being somehow against “the poor”, as if by mentioning “the poor”, we know longer should consider anything else, such as the proper administration of the goods of the diocese and the best way to help the poor or, on the other hand, defense of and teaching of Catholic doctrine and the ecology of the human person in a clear way and to avoid scandal.

Here is what Card. George wrote:


JULY 29. 2013

On Monday, July 29, in the Chicago Tribune, a group of Catholics published an open letter addressed to me and to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). They accused the Church of turning her back on the poor. This accusation follows a decision by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to include support for “same-sex marriage” as part of their political agenda. The CCHD cannot fund groups that support this goal.

Donors to the CCHD give to this anti-poverty organization with the understanding that their money will be passed on to organizations that respect the teachings of the Catholic faith. Organizations that apply for funds do so agreeing to this condition.

On May 23, the ICIRR board broke faith with its member organizations when it publicly supported so called “same-sex marriage.” For its own political advantage, it introduced a matter extraneous to its own purpose and betrayed its own members, who were not consulted.

The CCHD had no choice but to respect the unilateral decision of the ICIRR board that effectively cut off funding from groups that remain affiliated with ICIRR. Without betraying its donors or the Catholic faith, the Catholic Church’s long-standing work for immigrant groups and for immigration reform remains intact. This record speaks for itself and is well known. It is carried locally by Priests for Justice for Immigrants and by Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, along with very many lay Catholics, in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education, led by Elena Segura with my complete support.

It is intellectually and morally dishonest to use the witness of the Church’s concern for the poor as an excuse to attack the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage.  Four weeks ago, Pope Francis wrote: “…marriage should be a stable union of man and woman…this union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgement and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh and are enabled to give birth to a new life.” In other words, when it comes to marriage and family life, men and women are not interchangeable. The whole civilized world knows that.

Those who signed the open letter in the Tribune proclaimed their adherence to the Catholic faith even as they cynically called upon others to reject the Church’s bishops. The Church is no one’s private club; she is the Body of Christ, who tells us he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Because the signers of the letters are Catholic, they know that in a few years, like each of us, they will stand before this same Christ to give an account of their stewardship. Jesus is merciful, but he is not stupid; he knows the difference between right and wrong. Manipulating both immigrants and the Church for political advantage is wrong.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    If anyone thinks Father Z is against helping the poor, I have an earful to give you….in all charity, of course.

  2. trespinos says:

    Now that is an absolutely first rate statement from Cardinal George. That is telling it like it is, pulling no punches. Well done.

  3. Giving monetary aid to organizations that assist those who are materially impoverished with one hand, while jeopardizing their souls through a poverty of right action and right doctrine with the other hand isn’t quite what Christ had in mind when he spoke the words in Matthew 6:3.

  4. Phil_NL says:

    With all due respect, I think Card. George statement still sets a way too low standard.

    He will witholds funds because the organization has a political stance that contradicts Church teaching; that’s only logical, and he couldn’t really do anything else if he takes Catholic teaching seriously. So far so good.
    But he will still leave open the door to give Church money, or money collected in parishes, to organizations with a political agenda. And apparently, any political agenda goes, as it is within the realm of prudential judgement. That’s too low a standard, and if anything, detrimental to the poor. Here’s why: any person who holds a political opinion contrary to what these aid groups hold (and they’re mostly of the leftist variety) will be forced to choose to either simultaneously help the poor, and betray his convictions, or not to donate at all. That is not the kind of choice that is effective (in terms of revenue, as some won’t donate) nor fair (in terms of the moral pressure to help vs. one’s convictions).

    I think it’s high time that whenever the church is involved, it only supports such organizations without political stances. Just help the poor – and leave politics out of it. (Or, failling that, equally support organizations that want to help the poor and at the same time want closed borders, to name an example. But we all know that will never happen, as there still is quite a bit of lingering leftism in many chanceries.)

  5. Phil_NL says:

    Or, to give a 19 word summary: don’t support external organizations at all, and let nuns – the old-fashioned kind – help the poor. They didn’t do politics.

  6. bookworm says:

    Here’s an interesting commentary by a non-Catholic Illinois political pundit (Rich Miller of Capitol Fax):

    “While I support gay marriage, I also believe that groups have the right to only give money and support to others who are with them on an issue. If a member of a union-backed coalition suddenly signed on to a “right to work” legislative push, I don’t think anybody would say much if that group’s funding was pulled….
    “The bottom line here is that there doesn’t seem to be any reachable solution. The Cardinal’s position is obviously rock solid. He apparently believes he has church doctrine behind him, so that leaves little to actually debate.
    “So, Maybe Daley and the other politicos could just go and help those groups raise some money. They all have plenty of rich friends.”

  7. Tony McGough says:

    “Jesus is merciful, but he is not stupid”

    “The Church is no one’s private club”

    What a great cardinal you have! I wish others could preach the word so clearly, so succinctly, and in language any Tom, Dick or Harry can understand. Great stuff!

    Tony McGough

  8. Ben Kenobi says:

    There was a good article awhile back, that stated that the best way to alleviate poverty is to get a degree, and get married at a fairly young age and stay married. Do all these three things and you’re vanishingly unlikely to end up in poverty. [There does seem to be a long-term connection between the breakdown of the family and poverty.]

    The fastest way to get into poverty is to stay unmarried, have children, or get divorced with children. Apparently if one obeys the church one is less likely to become poor. Imagine that! It’s almost as if that Jesus fella knew a thing or two. ;)

  9. joan ellen says:

    A tactic Posted on 3 August 2013 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
    “Manipulating both immigrants and the Church for political advantage is wrong.”
    Francis Cardinal George, OMI
    Archbishop of Chicago
    Cardinal George knows clear thinking and speaking. I couldn’t help but want to substitute other
    possibilities using most of his sentence. To extend an examination of conscience for instance.
    Manipulating both _____________ (your word choice) and the Church for political advantage is wrong.

    Manipulating___________________ (your word choice) for political advantage is wrong.

    Phil_NL says:
    3 August 2013 at 5:37 am
    “Or, to give a 19 word summary: don’t support external organizations at all, and let nuns – the old-fashioned kind – help the poor. They didn’t do politics.”

    Dear @ Phil_NL – These 19 words pack a whole concept succinctly. By extension, if I may, the old fashioned kind of nuns would probably not need to consider the obama care mandate since they mostly worked for free. Full time at that.

    “They didn’t do politics.” Like the Amish, etc. Perhaps some of us would be better off not doing politics except when greatly needed and for grave reasons.

  10. Nancy D. says:

    Thank you Cardinal George. Let us not forget that The Truth of Love Is true for all persons, not just Catholics, for ” Man does not live on bread alone, but every Word that comes from The Mouth Of God”. – Jesus The Christ

  11. tcreek says:

    George Will had an interesting column back in 2008 comparing conservative vs. liberal charitable giving of money and time. Church leaders should especially reflect on the last item.
    — Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

    — Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

    — Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

    — Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

    — In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5 percent. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

    — People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.


  12. JamesA says:

    Very good point, tcreek. I remember news stories about both Obama and Biden being notoriously cheap when it came to charitable contributions– in the low single digits per % of income. Obama has since improved, having now become a millionaire.

    Not to start another rabbit hole, for which Father would surely put me under interdict, but I just wanted to give this link for the Multicultural Center in question. Sure looks to me like Bishop Morlino did the right thing.

    As for Cardinal George : he rocks.

  13. tonyfernandez says:

    I say just ignore these people. After all, the poor we will always have with us. Besides, the Church’s goal is the salvation of souls; feeding the hungry is just a means to that end. These people choose Barabbas over Jesus when they choose temporal goals over eternal goals.

  14. JPMedico says:

    It seems there’s been a long standing trend for the seculars and more heterodox to try to claim ownership as costodians of the poor. It is of course, ironic, since the idea of helping the poor at all is a “traditional” (i use the term loosely here, don’t read into it too much please) idea. They seem to have set up a false dichotomy of “orthodox” or “for the poor”, but not both.
    We have a great opportunity to correct that misunderstanding, especially under Francis. i.e “Those are OUR corporal works of mercy, and we’re taking them back!”

  15. KAS says:

    “Jesus is merciful, but he is not stupid” WOW! Love this line.

    I believe the best way to help the poor is to be fully orthodox in belief and live by it in every way. It is an ideal I have yet to meet but I keep on keeping on!

  16. chantgirl says:

    These catholic Democrats seem to think that the Church should hand out money the way the government spends taxpayer money- with little regard for the consciences of the people who worked hard to earn the money in the first place. Many of the groups who receive funds from the CCHD would not be able to raise the same amount if they went straight to the Catholics who give money to the CCHD. Catholics who give money to a Catholic charity should be able to expect the money to be spent in a Catholic manner.

    Aside from that, why are we farming out so much of our charity?

  17. NBW says:

    Good for Cardinal George!!! If I give money to a Catholic organization I expect that money goes to a Catholic cause; not something that is against Catholic beliefs.

    @Tcreek: Conservatives do give out more even though Liberals make more money. I was at a parade this past summer and it was interesting to see the Democrat and Republican candidates at work giving out candy to the children. The Democrats gave exactly one piece of candy to each child, the Republicans threw lots of candy out to the children.

  18. HyacinthClare says:

    “Men and women are not interchangeable. The whole civilized world knows that.” AMEN. The problem is… where is the world still civilized?

  19. Lin says:

    It is my understanding that Bishop Paprocki of Springfield has dropped support of the CCHD, too.

  20. Kathleen10 says:

    How wonderful, such decisive words from Cardinal George! I also appreciate the quote from Pope Francis on marriage. The media is apparently ignoring those words. Maybe we need them daily.
    It was my interpretation from a few years back that giving to the CCHD was not a good idea due to the questionable places the money may end up.
    The connection between women having children without benefit of husband, and poverty, are incontrovertible. The results are in. The only source I can think of off the top of my head is Ann Coulter, who has cited studies often in her books and columns. She wouldn’t dare be off on the numbers or the shrieks would be deafening. She has made the point many times, even recently, I believe. We may hear more about this due to Bill O’Reilly’s recent comments, if anyone is brave enough to pick up that ball and carry it. Not terribly likely.
    Now that I think of it, Ann Coulter has often mentioned studies that have long indicated liberals are notoriously cheap, and conservatives are notoriously generous. As I recall, didn’t Joe Biden give something like three hundred dollars to charity just a few years ago? That is really astounding. Imagine being a millionaire and giving a few hundred bucks a year? That held true for quite a few wealthy people. What is really weird is how lathered up liberals get over “the poor” and other so-called disadvantaged groups. I mean it’s weird, when you realize they won’t actually support the poor with their financial contributions, they don’t care that much.

  21. Kerry says:

    As the left politicizes everything, they cannot help but assault and penetrate every and any place that is ‘other’. “There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan” C.S. Lewis

  22. av8er says:

    Great letter by the Cardinal! They should post it in the CCHD office so they know who they represent when distributing the funds donated by the faithful.

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