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 â€œfar right-wingâ€ 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 â€œanti-marriage equality ballot initiativesâ€ in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, states where the issue is on the November ballot.
Catholics United Executive Director James Salt said advocacy against â€œcivil same-sex marriage lawsâ€ has the effect of â€œpushing younger generations of Catholics out of the Church.â€
â€œYounger Catholics donâ€™t want our faith known for its involvement in divisive culture wars, we want our faith known for serving the poor and marginalized,â€ he argued.
Catholics Unitedâ€™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 â€œerrors and ambiguitiesâ€ 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 Ministryâ€™s â€œlack of adherenceâ€ to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts was the â€œcentral issueâ€ in the censure of its founders and continues to be its â€œcrucial defect.â€
While Catholics United criticized only the Knights of Columbus for â€œanti-marriage equality spending,â€ the Equally Blessed report also blamed the Vatican for opposing homosexual political causes.
The Equally Blessed report also criticized Knightsâ€™ support for the pro-life movement. It said the fraternal organization contributes to what it calls â€œfar-right anti-abortion groupsâ€: Americans United for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List and the pregnancy center network Birthright USA.
The political fight over the definition of marriage has resulted in harassment and intimidation of traditional marriage supporters. Some supporters of traditional marriage, including Catholics, have lost their jobs because of activist pressure. Businesses and non-profits which do not want to recognize same-sex relationships have been the target of lawsuits and legal action. [More]