Is this what you call “educating voters” on Maine’s Question 1? Led by Bishop Richard Malone, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland “played a big part” in the information campaign, reports a Catholic website. Just how big a part? Well let’s look at exactly just where all those “education” dollars came from. And went.
Nicholas Kristof made an excellent point in his column about troop build-ups in Afghanistan: For the cost of 1 more America soldier to be sent to Afghanistan for a year, “roughly 20 schools” could instead be built.
So when it comes to the Catholic Diocese of Portland, which donated more than $553,000 to Stand For Marriage Maine and other anti-gay parties hoping for a “Yes On 1” vote, how much real good could have been done in the community instead of stripping away the rights of gays and lesbians?
The break-down of the Dicoese’s cash transfers — available here — is remarkable. Ten thousands dollars here, fifty thousand there. The financial disclosure also reveals the various parishes and individual the money flowed from: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia had $50k to spare; the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans offered $2k; Cleveland’s Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon donated $1k. The reports, dating from June thru October, detail just how influential the Catholic Church’s money was in Maine.
But this cash comes from an organization that, supposedly, does good for the community. And while the Roman Catholic Church unarguably does much good in local communities — providing food, shelter, and social services — it’s hard to reconcile a group calling on its parishioners to donate their much-needed paychecks to a hate campaign. (This is the same organization that just admitted a priest sexually abused at least two people some 60 years ago.)
For what it’s worth, Bishop Malone wants to thank the Church’s supporters, particularly because Question 1 “has also been an opportunity for listening, and I trust that those who voted for such a radical change did so out of concern for our gay brothers and sisters.” Concern. Right.
(In the meantime, could someone explain why Christine Pitteroff, identified as a staffer in the Chancery Public Affairs Office of Portland’s Diocese, was on the receiving end of $10,033.88 of the Church’s own cash?)