- Category: Equality
- Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 21:03
- Written by Gary Kopycinski
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Donald Cardinal Wuerl. (Photo: Catholics for Equality)
Will Cardinal Wuerl's Partisan Politics Jeopardize Catholic Charity?
Editor's Note: When I first met Donald Cardinal Wuerl, he was Father Wuerl, rector of St. Paul's Seminary in Crafton, PA. I was considering the priesthood and, throughout high school and especially college, I visited St. Paul's on breaks, always stopping first to see Father Wuerl.
He would answer his apartment door with a smile, and, if he had time, invite me in for a chat. He's a very personable man. It was sitting in his living room that I first considered studying classical Greek. He had a Greek New Testament on his coffee table on one visit. "You can read this?" I asked him, thumbing through its pages. "Oh, yes," he replied.
I decided I wanted to be able to read it too. I studied Greek during the year I later spent at St. Paul's.
Father Wuerl had an impressive curriculum vitae, as far as church-types go. Having once served as secretary for Bishop John Wright, a young Father Wuerl attended the Second Vatican Council with the man who would later wear red. Father had admission tickets to the council framed on the wall of his apartment.
When I would ask if I could stay for dinner and sit with some of the friends I made who attended the seminary, Father Wuerl would nod with a grin, "Of course. We can always put more water in the soup."
During my year at St. Paul's after graduating Notre Dame, Father Wuerl worked elsewhere in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He was at St. Paul's with us, however, the Tuesday he received the call from Rome asking him to serve the Church as bishop. As he dressed for mass that afternoon, I recall he asked Bishop Bevilacqua if he should wear his zucchetto, or skull-cap Catholic bishops wear. "You're a bishop now," Bishop Bevilacqua told him. "Put it on."
Priests in the Diocese called him "The Donald" out of earshot, and kept it out of earshot when, just a few years later, he became Bishop of Pittsburgh. He was kind, but always a "company man" first.
That was then.
Now, sadly, he's a Cardinal in Washington, at war with women, at war with our good sisters, the Obama Administration, our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and more.
He has taken very strong partisan positions on some very political issues.
His lobbying efforts appear downright cruel.
Below is a press release from Catholics for Equality. Now, inadvertently, Cardinal Wuerl has declared war on Catholic Charities.
Many of our Catholic bishops today live in a very small bubble, a world of selective group thinking. Like Pio Nono, Pope Pius IX, and Pope Pius XII, they are at war with the world.
Read, and try to wrap your head around Cardinal Wuerl's logic.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Catholics for Equality, the country's largest national political organization of pro-LGBT equality Catholics, issued the following statement in response to today's Washington Post article on Georgetown University's invitation for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak to a small group of graduates.
Right after President Obama and Secretary Sebelius secured an additional $100 million of taxpayer money for Catholic Charities USA this year, setting a historic record for the organization, it would be most unwise for Cardinal Wuerl to continue his campaign to suggest Secretary Sebelius, one of our country's highest ranking governmental official, would not be welcome at a Catholic University.
If Cardinal Wuerl wants to shun governmental leaders like Sec. Sebelius from speaking at Catholic Universities, he should be prepared to justify to the Catholic community why 62% of the operating budgets for Catholic Charities across the country comes from government funding, not Catholic charity. In Cardinal Wuerl's own Archdiocese, 77% of his operating budget for Catholic Charities comes from government grants and contracts. Only 5% comes from actual Catholic charity.
Cardinal Wurel's actions suggest partisan election year politics.
As the oldest Catholic university in the United States, Georgetown University has a long history of respecting free speech and pluralistic dialogue. Cardinal Wuerl remained silent when the Georgetown Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University recently invited Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) to speak on his proposed budget, which the Catholic Bishops themselves found contrary to Catholic social justice teaching.
Catholics across the country are concerned that in this election year, Cardinal Wuerl's intervention is partisan in nature and not in the best interest of our Catholic Community or our efforts to care of the poor the sick the marginalized and the oppressed.
Cardinal Wuerl is part the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' new election year effort to paint themselves as victims of religious liberty, hoping our Catholic community will never look at the reality that the programs being asked to comply with government law are only those which receive government funding. Once Catholics realize that privately funded church programs are protected by the First Amendment, like they always have been, it provokes two conversations in our community the bishops don't want to have: 1) Can we still call Catholic Charities "charity" if we're not the ones actually paying for it and 2) if our collection plate money is not going to care for the poor, the sick, the marginalized and the oppressed, If our buildings are already paid for and we don't pay taxes, where is all our money actually going?