.- In a statement Monday, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis responded to a demonstration held outside the city's cathedral by a gay rights group protesting the use of archdiocesan funds to defend traditional marriage in Maine. Catholics have an obligation to âcarry out Christ's teachings, whether in the privacy of our own home or in the public square,â stated the prelate on the Archdiocese of St. Louis website.
On Sunday, gay rights organization Show Me No Hate protested the donation of $10,000 that the Archdiocese of St. Louis made to the âYes on 1â campaign in Portland, Maine earlier this year. The initiative, which supported traditional marriage between a man and a woman, was voted on and passed during the mid-term elections.
According to The Vital Voice, Show Me No Hate has accused the Archdiocese of St. Louis of misusing the funds, saying the Church has neglected the poor, sick and homeless in the city by donating the money to a campaign against gay âmarriage.â The organization plans to rally outside the cathedral every Sunday for the duration of the season of Advent.
âFollowing Christ's teaching on marriage does not mean we neglect the poor,â stated Archbishop Carlson in response to the accusations. âIn fact, no other private institution in the world does as much for the sick and poor as the Catholic Church.â
Archbishop Carlson explained that the funds used for the âYes on 1â campaign were discretionary, provided by private gifts and sent in response to the request of the Archdiocese of Maine. The archbishop also mentioned that âYes on 1â succeeded despite the fact that same-sex âmarriageâ supporters had outraised the campaign by almost $2 million.
The Church âalways tries to follow the teachings of Jesus in welcoming all people,â and âdoes not believe in discriminationâ said the archbishop in his statement on Monday. He then made reference to the fact that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is currently the largest private contributor to Doorways, an organization that provides services for those living with HIV/AIDS.
The archbishop explained, however, that this âdoes not mean we can change Christ's teaching on the nature of marriageâ and added that Catholics have the obligation to âcarry out Christ's teachings, whether in the privacy of our own home or in the public square.â
âSeparation of church and state means that the government cannot favor a particular faith,â continued the prelate. âIt does not mean that faith-filled people lose their right to speak out publicly and engage in the political process.â
When it comes to serving the poor and supporting traditional marriage, Archbishop Carlson added that âit's not an either/or choice when it comes to Christ's teachings. As Catholics, we are called to live and teach them all.â