Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2012 / 14:12 pm
The group Catholics United, which until now has avoided directly contradicting Catholic teaching in its defense of Democratic political causes, has now denounced Catholic efforts to defend traditional marriage as a “far right-wing” social issue.
The shift comes in an Oct. 18 statement criticizing Catholic donations to organizations that support marriage and oppose its redefinition to include same-sex couples. Catholics United called for a halt financial support for “anti-marriage equality ballot initiatives” in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, states where the issue is on the November ballot.
Catholics United Executive Director James Salt said advocacy against “civil same-sex marriage laws” has the effect of “pushing younger generations of Catholics out of the Church.”
“Younger Catholics don’t want our faith known for its involvement in divisive culture wars, we want our faith known for serving the poor and marginalized,” he argued.
Catholics United’s Oct. 18 statement cites a report by Equally Blessed, a coalition of four dissenting Catholic groups: Call to Action, Dignity USA, Fortunate Families and New Ways Ministry. The report criticizes the $6.25 million that the fraternal order the Knights of Columbus has made since 2005 to defend marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
The founders of New Ways Ministry, Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, have run into the highest profile trouble of any of the members in the coalition.
In 1999, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that because of “errors and ambiguities” in their approach, Sr. Gramick and Fr. Nugent were permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual individuals.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said in a Feb. 2010 statement that New Ways Ministry’s “lack of adherence” to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts was the “central issue” in the censure of its founders and continues to be its “crucial defect.”
While Catholics United criticized only the Knights of Columbus for “anti-marriage equality spending,” the Equally Blessed report also blamed the Vatican for opposing homosexual political causes.
The Equally Blessed report also criticized Knights’ support for the pro-life movement. It said the fraternal organization contributes to what it calls “far-right anti-abortion groups”: Americans United for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List and the pregnancy center network Birthright USA.