Why? Because the LSP was a member of two other Minnesota organizations, TakeAction Minnesota and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
You see, it seems these two organizations have taken a position against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment.
Even though the Land Stewardship Project is silent on the issue of same-sex marriage, the bishops, it seems, will not fund it until it resigns its membership from these other organizations. The letter from CCHD reneging on the funding promise states, “[CCHD has provided] consistent support over decades for the fine work of LSP to advance economic and racial justice, environmental stewardship and advance the rights and well being of immigrants in Minnesota.” In fact, this grant was a part a 25 year history of support from the bishops and it had become an important part of the LSP budget and the Bishops knew it. Nevertheless, they are apparently willing to cut off their moral noses to spite their moral faces.
Whether or not one supports the marriage amendment, this action by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops seems mean-spirited and just plain wrong. Rather than dealing with an issue of morals and religious freedom, it seems the bishops are again merely exercising power and control. Through lawsuits they continue to exercise that power and control with respect to the sexual abuse scandal, they are in the midst of a power fight with American nuns, and now they are attempting to exert power and control over another organization by reneging on funding promises. And they are playing with our money to do it.
Is this yet another instance of the institutional Church’s inability to see beyond its own organization to the moral high ground upon which it wishes to stand? It seems the organization of the Catholic Church has a cataract that is clouding its vision. It too often cannot see the light.
Individual Catholics, however, can change the institution. They did it before and they can do it again – even perhaps without leaving it. I urge all Catholics of good conscience to make good on the failed commitment of the CCHD by taking the following actions:
1. Reduce your normal donation to the Annual Diocesan Appeal and send the difference to the Land Stewardship Project (180 East Main Street – Box 130 in Lewiston, MN 55952).
2. Send a letter to Bishop Quinn and tell him what you have done – and why.
We do not even have to come up with the entire $48,000. An anonymous donor has placed a $25,000 challenge grant into the ring. The Catholics of this community need only donate $25,000 collectively to mentor our Bishop in the art of “doing what Jesus would do.”