The Poor, The Pre-Schoolers, and The Pope

With the Cross of Jesus, Marching on Before. -Onward Christian Soldiers, A Hymn

figured out how to do it compassionately and that comes as a great
relief to the poor being served by Catholic Charities of Washington

In December 2009, the D.C. Council voted 11-2 in favor of a bill to legalize
same-sex marriage. The District of Columbia requires that married
same-sex couples receive the same employment benefits as are given
heterosexual couples by their employers. Catholic Charities said that
would force it to recognize same-sex marriage, a violation of church
dogma. It said with the passage of the ordinance it would have to
reconsider its role in the District. That threatened to severely impact
the underprivileged since, according to Catholic on Line,
Catholic Charities "serves 68,000 people . . . through a range of
services, including shelter, nutrition, counseling, employment and job
training services, legal and health care assistance, immigration
assistance and more." Catholic Charities has now responded and its
response was not as draconian as it had suggested it might be. Although
it gave up its foster care program because of the possibility children
would end up in the homes of gay couples who were legally married, it
has not abandoned all the other good things it does nor taken out its
disapproval of the new ordinance on the poor and the destitute. Instead
it has taken it out on new employees.

On March 1 all
Catholic Charities employees received a message telling them that
health care benefits that had theretofore been give all employees and
their spouses would not be given for new hires after March 1. Although
partners of new employees will not receive benefits, there's a bright
side to the picture. While gay and heterosexual couples employed by the
Church are struggling to pay for health insurance for their partners,
the Church will continue to help the poor.

Meanwhile, half a
continent away, the Church was demonstrating that the East coast did
not have a monopoly on sacrificing good works on dogma's altar. Its
messenger was Charley Chaput. Charley is the Archbishop of Denver and
can be recognized by the pointy hat he wears and the crazy things he
says. During the 2004 election year he said that anyone who voted for
John Kerry had committed a sin that had to be confessed before the
voter/supplicant would be permitted to receive communion. Charley has
now come up with a new proscription that falls within the category of
visiting the sins of the fathers/mothers on their children. It deals
with families where there are two fathers or two mothers.

Preschool run by the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Boulder, Colorado,
has notified staff that one of the students currently enrolled at the
school will not be returning in the fall since the child's parents are
a same-sex lesbian couple. As Charley's spokesperson explains:
"Homosexual couples living together as a couple are expected to follow
the Catholic Church's beliefs." The statement goes on to say: "No
person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless
that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school's philosophy
and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the
school and Archdiocese."

It seems obvious that at this point
the school is going to have to send out a questionnaire to all parents
since same-sex marriages are probably not the only proscriptions of the
faith indulged in by parents of preschoolers. Votes for president in
2004 should be checked into. It makes little sense to say that a parent
who voted for John Kerry cannot take communion but can send a child to
Sacred Heart of Jesus preschool.

The questionnaire should inquire
into the sexual practices of heterosexual parents. Some parents may
view sex as having purposes beyond procreation and may even find those
purposes amusing in a way that would greatly offend Charley. In
furtherance of such practices it is possible they may take advantage of
the marketplace's offerings to insure that no children are conceived as
a result of those activities. It is not enough for Charley to decree
such conduct to be reprehensible in its own right and to promise its
practitioners untoward consequences in the hereafter. There must also
be immediate consequences. Burning at the stake is not an option but
expulsion from preschool of the children of the sexually frivolous is.
And, of course, the questionnaire should be sent not only to parents of
preschoolers but to parents of all students. The results will probably
enhance the quality of education afforded by Sacred Heart of Jesus
school since it will almost certainly result in smaller class sizes, a
clear benefit for the students permitted to remain enrolled following
tabulation of the results of the questionnaire.

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