DC Catholic Church to End Service to the Poor because of Homophobia


National monument, or secret effort of the century-long homosexual plot to take over Washington DC?

If one were cynical, one might be tempted to think that the Catholic archdiocese of Washington was attempting to coerce leaders into putting a stop on a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the District of Columbia.   But since we’re never cynical ’round these parts of the web, we’ll just go with the official line from the church: “we are afraid that gays might infiltrate our ranks, or that we might have to be nice to them and offer them blankets.” 

Right, so anyway,  the Catholic church is threatening to stop all service to the poor of Washington DC if the bill legalizing gay marriage is passed.  This bill also requires any organization which uses city money to not discriminate against homosexuals.  The church is afraid that if they continue to partner with the city to run 1/3 of DC’s homeless shelters that they would be required to hire gay people to work in those shelters (because there’s a huge line of queers knocking down Catholic Charities’ door with job applications) , they’re also afraid that they might have to–God forbid–extend their poverty relief and adoption services to gay people (gayness is contagious, it’s in the Bible). 

Allowing gays to be part of the Catholic church or any church would, of course, be a serious reversal of the status quo (as it stands there aren’t any gay catholics, or gay bible college students), but are they really willing to walk away from Jesus (personified in the least of these) over it?  In the words of Stephen Colbert,  “After all, Jesus said, ‘If you want to be perfect sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor…unless a couple of dudes register at the Pottery Barn, in which case f**k the poor.'”

I’m all for making a moral stand on some things (probably not this thing, but some things), but when your moral stand means you have to move from the sheep section to the goat section of Matthew 25, is it still moral, or is it just a stand?



  1. Well that’s interesting but I don’t agree.

    First off the Catholic church and in particularly Catholic Charities has allowed themselves to accept too much Federal money. If you take the money you have to play by their rules. However the gov’t will find out that they can’t accomplish the mission as cheaply as Catholic charities does it. Since the church can’t change its theological position the gov’t must either pay more for others to perform the work or accommodate with Catholic Charities on their principle.

    As far as gays in the church there already are including in the priesthood. They are not permitted to be priests.

    The issue is not whether gays are permitted in the church, the issue is should they be serving when they need to be ministered to themselves?


  2. Perhaps all the DC churches should contribute to Catholic Charities so they can keep up the work. Or a coalition of churches could take over the work.

    Should Christian organizations take government money for helping the poor? When the answer is yes, there is a persistent risk of increasing government control of the services.

    In the my city, some government supported Catholic Charities programs simply administer charity without Gospel input. Without God involved, it has become dens of ungodliness with drugs, sex and perversion at best maintaining the status quo. The Christian rescue mission, which takes no government funding, is decidedly Christian in their outreach with chaplains involved in administrating the services. The chaplains make the difference.

    If we want to help the poor and make long term changes in people’s lives, Christian input is needed. Otherwise we are using using band aids on gange green infections. It is time for the church to step up and be the city on the hill.


  3. Quickbeam,

    Yes, you do make a good point about the church getting in bed with the government. But, if this were really about serving the poor, and not about politics, Catholic Charities could just refuse city money, restructure, and downscale their operation. I think they were contributing more than half of the operating money anyway. But, the Catholic church is trying to make a political statement by not just closing down some of their services which can’t be supported by city funds, but by packing up and leaving town if they don’t get their way. The people who are going to get hurt the most from all this are the people Jesus loves the best.


    Thanks for commenting. I agree with you that the Church should be picking up the slack here, though I might be of a slightly less evangelical bent than yourself.

    I think using government money is dangerous because when the Church gains political clout, her witness must necessarily be diminished. Separating ourselves from the government is not about protecting ourselves from government control, it’s about saving ourselves from ourselves and the Constantinian (or even a Karl Rovian) nightmare of an imperial Church.


  4. Well it’s good to know that I’m not the only writer on the site that can hastily bring commentary on the actions of the RCC.

    I disagree with the homophobe comment and, to be honest, am not really a fan of its use except in certain cases where it can be analagous to ignorant hatred.

    As it goes, I agree with Quickbeam, the Christian charities should refuse Govn’t money because the strings choke the Gospel right out of it and universalize and secularize the action. It’s not like the RCC has anything to prove, being the number one charitable organization in the world.

    What’s funny is that I’ve become more traditional when it comes to gay marriage than I was even a year ago.


  5. James,

    Just my speculation, but I believe I have some basis in fact on it. The state has been encroaching on the church for years. Whether its adoptions in the SF area, or the hiring or retention of teachers in the NW, or gay marriage in Mass. or abortions in Ill. the state has a long term plan to force the church to comply or force them out of business based on principle. The Catholic church can’t afford any more legal suits. I’d add that the state has no problem with child abuse cases being extended for the church, but doesn’t do so for the larger and growing problem in the public sector.

    And I’ll add the current executive administration has been packed with CINO’s who support pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, etc. IMO the Obama administration is actively seeking to undermine the Catholic church authority structure in this country. Hostile is the more apt word for it.

    So the actions of the church are not to abandon the poor but to protect the resources from the law suits which will in fact come if they stayed in DC.


  6. James,

    Although I agree whole-heartedly with your final analysis regarding where to draw the line and Matthew 25, I have to disagree with the balance of your commentary. I will confess here to being a young, [amateur,] Roman Catholic theologian.

    Your characterization of the Catholic position on homosexuality is either grossly sarcastic—you way overshot witty and funny and landed in offensive—or terribly ignorant, bordering on bigoted; and it would appear that some of your commentators share the latter persuasion. Let me make this perfectly clear: the Roman Catholic Church, in its solemn teaching, does not condemn homosexuality or homosexuals; we minister to and with them without judging the form of the gift of sexuality that God gave them, which we do not understand. We do, however, teach against gay marriage, since we do not have any foundation of teaching on with to teach in favor of gay marriage and it appears to be contrary to what we know about marriage. (There are Catholic bishops and theologians who are making noise calling upon the Church to reexamine its teaching on gay marriage, but they have not yet reached a volume to be heard by the faithful masses or by those who do not call themselves Catholic.) The oft-cited condemnation of the homosexual act is in fact the universal call to chastity, which for those who are not married means strict abstinence.

    The Church in DC has no fear of ministering to homosexuals or hiring homosexuals. There are many homosexual Catholics, homosexual employees of the Catholic Church, and homosexual recipients of Catholic charity. The Church’s opposition is to recognizing gay marriage by being forced by law to pay spousal benefits to the partners of her homosexual employees, who are, notice, in no danger of losing their jobs. It is a fine point and its worthiness is arguable.

    I ultimately agree with you and your commentators, however: it is a suspicious violation of the separation of Church and State for DC to contract with the Archdiocese for so much of its charity work. Each would better serve its integrity working independently, but it is a testament to American good-will that they have found grounds to cooperate. I hope that the cooperation continues, but with a better respect for the integrity of each institution. I have hope.

    Grace and Peace to all,
    N. D. Kwiek


  7. N.D.

    I’m sure James will answer your questions personally. However, as I have not commented on this post yet, and as you are a new(?) visitor, allow me to welcome you to theophiliacs and address your comments.

    Your wrote:

    “and it would appear that some of your commentators share the latter persuasion.”

    I think the more time you spend interacting with the contributors at theophiliacs, you will discover that your opinion may change. We’re certainly a mixed bag around here (given to rhetoric and rant, true), but we try to avoid oversimplification of serious matters. So, hopefully, without sounding like we need to “prove it” to you – feel free to interact some more and see if your opinion changes.

    you wrote:

    “in its solemn teaching, does not condemn homosexuality or homosexuals; we minister to and with them without judging the form of the gift of sexuality that God gave them, which we do not understand. We do, however, teach against gay marriage, since we do not have any foundation of teaching on with to teach in favor of gay marriage and it appears to be contrary to what we know about marriage.”

    I have two comments about this and then I am done:

    /1/ As I am sure you’re aware, there are many Roman Catholics (some we have encountered) and those that would speak up on behalf of the RCC that would not put it this gently. However, I happen to think you have a refreshingly moderate articulation.

    /2/ As you have stated it, I don’t think any of the author’s here would have a serious disagreement with you within the Christian context. I personally have been struggling, though, with the obvious issue that marriage is not the same thing for the State as it is for the Church – and I rather enjoy the separation of Church and State. So, how do we deal (in America) with non-religious constituencies that want only to reap the secular benefits of a legal arrangement?

    Sorry for hijacking your post, James.




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