Responding to renewed criticism of his decision to defund the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights because of its overt support for same-sex marriage, Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago, Ill., has reaffirmed the move.
In a July 29 statement, Cardinal George stated that the coalition, “broke faith with its member organizations when it publicly supported so called 'same-sex marriage.’ For its own political advantage, it introduced a matter extraneous to its own purpose and betrayed its own members, who were not consulted.”
Cardinal George was referring to the coalition’s May 2013 statement supporting “marriage equality” claiming that “full equality and civic participation should extend to…same-sex partnerships.”
The prelate took issue with claims that his decision effectively abandoned the poor: “It is intellectually and morally dishonest to use the witness of the Church’s concern for the poor as an excuse to attack the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage.”
His response also quoted Pope Francis' description of natural marriage as a union founded on “the acknowledgement and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh and are enabled to give birth to a new life.”
In the cardinal’s conclusion he admonished his critics, saying “The Church is no one’s private club, she is the Body of Christ.” And he reminded those who signed the open letter criticizing the decision and supporting same-sex marriage that “...in a few years, like each of us, they will stand before this same Christ to give an account of their stewardship.
“Jesus is merciful, but he is not stupid; he knows the difference between right and wrong. Manipulating both immigrants and the Church for political advantage is wrong.”