Friday, November 13, 2009

Responding to the Misuse of Catholic Money to Bash Gay Brothers and Sisters: An Action Plan for Catholics

I’ve spent several days writing about the nationwide use of Catholic money to attack Maine’s gay citizens recently. In my view, complaining and analyzing without following critical insights with action is ineffective, if therapeutic.

I’d like to offer some practical suggestions to any readers who would like to respond to what I’ve been posting about the misuse of Catholic money across the nation to attack the gay sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, of Catholics who do not support this use of their donations.

What can you and others do, if you care about this issue?

1. Help inform Catholics.

□ Share educational resources (including online articles) with Catholics in the dioceses that donated money to the Maine initiative.

□ Write letters to newspapers (including online versions of those papers) in those areas expressing your concern at the misuse of Catholic donations for a political cause many Catholics do not support.

□ Encourage any Catholics you know in dioceses that donated funds to the Maine initiative to share educational resources and write letters, as well.

2. Ask for hearings at parish councils in dioceses that donated funds to the Maine initiative.

□ If a parish council agrees to hear you, organize a group to make a presentation explaining why the use of Catholic donations for this political cause without the knowledge or consent of Catholics donating funds is unacceptable.

□ Note that people are not donating to political causes when they donate to their parishes, and that money donated to churches should be used to maintain the church, support schools, feed the hungry, heal the sick, shelter the homeless, etc.

□ Encourage parish councils to demand (and exercise) financial accountability re: use of church donations.

□ If parish councils refuse to meet with you, publicize this through letters to local news outlets and by contacting the local media.

3. Write bishops in dioceses that donated money, and encourage Catholics whom you know in those dioceses to do the same.

□ Ask for meetings with bishops to discuss their use of church funds.

□ If bishops refuse to meet with you or others seeking such meetings, or do not answer your letters asking for meetings, publicize the bishops’ responses to your requests.

□ Request that bishops provide complete, itemized financial reports for all income of the diocese, and how that income is spent.

4. Organize protests at chanceries and cathedrals in dioceses that donated funds to the Maine initiative.

5. Identify corporations or foundations donating funds to Catholic dioceses or Catholic charities (e.g., here).

□ Publicize lists of corporations and foundations donating funds to Catholic dioceses and Catholic charities that gave funds to the Maine initiative.

□ Contact these corporations and foundations to ask if they support the use of money donated to Catholic groups to attack gay persons.

□ Publicize the responses of these corporations and foundations.

6. Withhold funds and other support from the church until bishops are transparent and accountable about how your donations are used, and encourage other Catholics to follow suit.

□ Give your donations and your direct support to causes in which you believe, as an expression of your faith.

□ Publicize that you are taking these steps and why you are doing this.

7. Join and support lay Catholic movements calling on the church to be faithful to Vatican II.

The graphic for this posting is the logo of the
We Are Church movement.