The Sacramento Bee is reporting the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento has pulled the plug on funding the Francis House homeless services agency in Sacramento. Described as "largest homeless services agencies in the Sacramento region, serving upward of 25,000 people," the non-denominational agency has enjoyed grants as large as $10,000 from the diocese for decades.
What changed? They hired a new director in April, Rev. Faith Whitmore.
Whitmore, a United Methodist minister, took over leadership of Francis House in April after the sudden death of longtime executive director Gregory Bunker.The paper quotes Rev. Michael Kiernan, the social services director as saying it is "impossible for the diocese to continue funding Francis House." The diocese also told the paper:
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."
"We can expect, however, that they or their leaders not publicly oppose Catholic teaching and that, unfortunately, is the situation in which we find ourselves."Not content to just punish Catholics who break from Catholic doctrine, the Church apparently is wreaking vengeance on wayward Methodists too, and the souls they minister to as well. Rev. Faith Whitmore had this to say to the Bee:
"I have never represented any of those positions on behalf of Francis House," said Whitmore, formerly the senior pastor at St. Mark's United Methodist Church. "I was speaking as an individual. So for me, this came out of the blue."Well, this will teach her. And the Francis House too, for stupidly hiring a pro-choice, pro-gay Christian to run their shelter. Of course, the biggest hit will be felt by Sacramento's homeless population but what's a little collateral damage when you have a culture war to fight?
The Catholic Church has in recent years stepped up its political involvement on issues that reflect fundamental church teachings. It was among the primary financial backers of Proposition 8, the California measure that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
It's time for the Church to admit they are not a charity, but a political action committee.