Catholic Church Cuts Homeless Shelter Contribution Because New Director Supports Choice, Gay Marriage

What a crock. And what a cynical misuse of their church non-profit status, trying to push out this director on the basic of her religious and political beliefs -- all the while screaming about "religious freedom" for whatever universal

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What a crock. And what a cynical misuse of their church non-profit status, trying to push out this director on the basic of her religious and political beliefs -- all the while screaming about "religious freedom" for whatever universal restriction they want to push that week. When will American Catholics finally get fed up enough to break off with Rome?

The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento no longer will fund programs at Francis House, a nonprofit agency that serves homeless people, because of its new director's views supporting abortion rights and gay marriage.

In a letter last month, the diocese's director of social services said the Rev. Faith Whitmore's public statements on the issues clash with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Therefore, said the Rev. Michael Kiernan, the social services director, it is "impossible for the diocese to continue funding Francis House" as part of its annual Catholic Appeal.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

Really? What part of that clashes with what Francis House does?

Each morning, dozens of poor people line up at Francis House, in Sacramento's homeless services epicenter on C and 14th streets, for help with basic services such as housing and transportation. Now in its 42nd year, the organization is one of the largest homeless services agencies in the Sacramento region, serving upward of 25,000 people. It has an annual budget of about $500,000.

For at least two decades, Francis House has received annual donations from the diocese ranging from $7,500 to $10,000, said Michael Miller, a member of the agency's corporate advisory board.

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

The diocese's letter made it clear that it was shifting policy and removing Francis House from its fundraising campaign because of Whitmore's affiliation with the organization.

Whitmore, a United Methodist minister, took over leadership of Francis House in April after the sudden death of longtime executive director Gregory Bunker.

Within her own denomination, she has been a strong advocate of same-sex marriage. In 2008, during a short period in which gay marriage was legal in California, Whitmore openly defied church law by marrying same-sex couples. She has said publicly that she supports a woman's right to obtain an abortion.

In an interview Wednesday, she called the diocese's decision to discontinue its support "surprising and disappointing."

A diocese spokesman said part of the reason was that Francis House used to be a Catholic charity, and that people get confused because they don't know it's been a non-denominational agency for some time. No one's complained yet, but "We like to get out in front of these things."

Imagine that. Think of all the recent scandals that have happened in the Catholic church, and see if you can remember anyone in power taking decisive action to "get out in front" of any of it.

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