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Cardinal rejects push to restore aid to immigrant, refugee groups

Cardinal Francis George

Cardinal Francis George

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Updated: July 30, 2013 7:44PM

Cardinal Francis George harshly rejected a call from high-profile Chicago-area Catholics to restore church funding to a group of community organizations supporting same-sex marriage.

“It is intellectually and morally dishonest to use the witness of the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage,” Cardinal George wrote in “An Open Response to an Open Letter,” posted late Monday on the Archdiocese’s web site.

Cardinal George’s response comes after the Sun-Times reported on the letter, signed by several high-profile politicians protesting a threatened cutoff of money from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to an immigrant rights coalition. The letter ran as newspaper ad, too, in the Chicago Tribune.

“They accused the Church of turning her back on the poor,” the cardinal wrote. “This accusation follows a decision by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to include support for ‘same-sex marriage’ as part of their political agenda. The CCHD cannot fund groups that support this goal.”

Cardinal George noted that the signers of the protest letter “proclaimed their adherence to the Catholic faith even as they cynically called upon others to reject the Church’s bishops.”

The cardinal went on to write that the Church is the “Body of Christ,” and that because “the signers of the letters are Catholic, they know 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.”

Cardinal George’s hard-line response followed Pope Francis’ conciliatory remarks on the subject of gay priests in which he said, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

Cardinal George addressed the Pope’s comments in a separate letter, stating that the Pope also “reaffirmed the teaching of the Catholic faith and other religions that homosexual genital relations are morally wrong.”

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