The Washington Post reports,
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington issued this response today:
The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church have significant theological differences on the issue of same-sex relationships, so perhaps it is not surprising that the social service organizations affiliated with the two Churches have reached different conclusions regarding the effect of the legislation to legalize same-sex marriage currently under consideration in the District of Columbia.
Our partners in ministry have expressed no reservations about the legislation. Episcopalians understand that none of us has the right to violate the human rights of another individual. That’s the law of the District of Columbia. More important, it’s at the core of the Gospel. I hope that the least among us will not be victimized by the struggle over this legislation, and I pray that people of faith will come forward to provide food and shelter if the need arises.
The Catholic Archdiocese in its press release is careful to say "the committee’s narrowing of the religious exemption language will cause the government to discontinue our long partnership with them."
What do you think: Is that an ultimatum? Or is their logic Orwellian?
A plainer statement would be: We could not in good conscience adapt our practices to meet the requirements if this bill were to become law; that would result in an end to our partnership with the District.
Diana Butler Bass comments here (on beliefnet):
That's right. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is holding poor people hostage in order to keep gay and lesbian persons from getting married. They are willing to trade the indigent for getting their theological way.
(The Episcopal Cafe article continues with additional responses.)
First off, I applaud Bishop Chane's response, especially the quote, "Episcopalians understand that none of us has the right to violate the human rights of another individual. That’s the law of the District of Columbia. More important, it’s at the core of the Gospel."
I also wonder how those that the DC Roman Catholic Diocese are currently serving will feel about losing their services for this position. Will they blame gay and lesbian persons? Will they blame the government officials who made the laws? Or perhaps they'll just see the Church as completely uncaring and out of touch.
Regardless of who get blamed, there can be no doubt as to who loses...