Chicago Cardinal Scrubs Funding For Immigration Groups Over Their Support For Same-Sex Marriage
|Cardinal Francis George|
CHICAGO, IL -- Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, is defending his decision to bar church funding for immigrant rights groups that support same-sex marriage.
In an open letter Monday in response to Chicago area politicians and community leaders- including Democratic gubernatorial hopeful and former Chicago mayor William Daley- who pled for reinstatement of funding, George wrote;
“You can’t play off the pastoral concern of the church for the poor against the church’s teaching,” George said. “That’s exactly what was done, that’s a cynical move, and I’m sorry that it was done.”
Chicago news-radio WBBM had reported last week that George had ordered the Catholic Campaign for Human Development – the Catholic Church’s anti-poverty program in the U.S. – to withdraw financial support for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, after the group had publicly voiced support for same-sex marriage in the state.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Daley had written to George last week asking him to rethink the funding cuts noting;
“My view on marriage equality and those of immigrant-aid groups who have similar views really are irrelevant to our collective duty to help those who are less fortunate.”
Daley added that as a lifelong Roman Catholic, he was “proud our church has been such a leader on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.
“But for the church to turn its back on its long-standing work with groups that aid the poor over a completely unrelated issue is an injustice, plain and simple. The path of justice should lead the Archdiocese to leave these two issues separate and continue to seek justice through charitable works,” Daley said.
Daley and other Catholic elected officials as well as other local leaders have accused George of using immigrants as “pawns in a political battle” over same-sex marriage.
George fired back at his critics telling them that ICIRR changed its stance, not the church. According to the Archdiocese, CCHD funding agreements prohibit organisations and groups it funds from pursuing an agenda contrary to the church’s teachings – which includes its opposition to same-sex marriage.
“The church is consistent, over many years – ten years and more – in our concern for immigrants, and just immigration reform, and that will continue,” George said. “The CCHD has been consistent in its concern for the poor.”
In a letter last January during the ongoing debate in Illinois over legalizing same-sex marriage, George sent a letter to Chicago area Catholics labeling same-sex marriage "unnatural and legal-fiction."