A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops' alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he “certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.” Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops’ alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he “certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.” Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is one of the more outspoken and effective conservatives in the U.S. hierarchy, but activists on the Catholic Right have become so sedulous in decrying even the remotest connection between a church organization and groups that condone gay rights or abortion rights that one wonders whether Chaput could be in trouble.

The reason: the archdiocese announced that Office Depot, through its foundation, would be donating sackpacks full of supplies to Catholic schoolkids getting ready for the start of the new school year.

Now such donations and collaborations are hardly unusual, and always welcome, especially in the Philadelphia archdiocese, which Chaput is struggling mightily to rescue from decades of debt and mismanagement.

The hitch this time? Office Depot is actually one of the more gay-friendly corporations around, and in January was given the 2013 Corporate Leadership Award by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“We thank Office Depot for its exemplary support of the LGBT community and for providing direct financial and in-kind support to our organization, which has allowed us to expand our training capacity and help empower many more young individuals to become leaders of their generation and of the LGBT community across the country,” David Alexander, Director of Institutional Giving for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said at the time.

That may not seem like a big deal to most folks, or Office Depot’s policies would appear to be so remote from the sackpack donation that it would hardly matter.

But some very vocal activists on the right often don’t see it that way. They have been blasting Catholics organizations — especially social justice ministries like the Campaign for Human Development and Catholics Relief Services — for their apparent collaboration with groups that espouse positions that the activists say contradict church teaching.

The drumbeat is too insistent even for some in the hierarchy, and top church officials have rushed to defend CRS, from criticisms, for example.

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Peterburgh, Florida, also said publicly in a recent blog post what other bishops only say privately — that too many “pro-life” groups are ideologically driven critics who don’t see the big picture:

Many priests grow weary of continual calls to action for legislative support for abortion and contraception related issues but nothing for immigration reform, food aid, and capital punishment. And, this is a big one, priests don’t like unfair attacks on things they highly value and esteem, like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services.

Could the Philadelphia archdiocese be the next target? Will Chaput’s conservative cred protect him? Or have the rightwing critics heeded their own critics?


  1. Money, money, money………………selling the soul of the Church for a few dollars.

    When you partner with those who promote evil you ARE a partner with evil.

    • ChurchMilitantMama

      …if WE donate OUR money to organizations that use it to promote contraception, abortion & sterilization, then WE are cooperating with evil. (CRS, Campaign for Human Development, USAID, CARE, etc..)
      However, if we accept money from an organization that has raised its’ money morally (Office Depot: selling pens, pencils, & stationary), there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that. Again, if I were Archbishop Chaput, I’d ask Office Depot to give me more! That would just mean, less money going to LGBT!

  2. ChurchMilitantMama

    Well… since I consider myself on the “Catholic Right,” I have this to say:
    TAKE MORE OFFICE DEPOT money, Archbishop Chaput!!!! The less money that goes to the LGBT community the better!!! Office Depot has not raised their money immorally! They raised it by selling pens, pencils, stationary, etc. NOW, if Archbishop Chaput took a donation from an abortionist, or a prostitution ring, THEN, I’d be up in arms! Your comparison between accepting a donation from Office Depot and the CRS & Campaign for Human Development is faulty logic because there IS no comparison. One–the Office Depot–is giving money to the Catholic Church. The others–CRS & Campaign for Human Development—is US, the Catholics, donating money to them, who–as IRS filings have indicated, donate OUR money to organizations that cooperate with evil.

    • ChurchMilitantMama

      To be clear: Your comparison b/w the office depot and CRS & Campaign for Human development is faulty logic because:
      The office depot is donating $$ to the Catholic Church, the other taking $$ donated by Catholics–who–as IRS filings have indicated–are taking our donations and giving them to organizations directly cooperating with evil. WE cannot take our money and donate to orgs that are using it for contraception, sterilization, etc. We can, however, receive a donation for a source who has raised their money morally.

  3. I submit that Archbishop Chaput has nothing to worry about because his immediate superior is Pope Francis.

    A more important point: Why is Office Depot or, for that matter, any organization paying a bit of attention to an employee’s sexual orientation? A fair question to ask is whether Office Depot is favoring some “orientations” over others, in which case we would, once again, have an example of politically correct bigotry. Liberalism is full of this sort of bigotry.

    • “Why is Office Depot or, for that matter, any organization paying a bit of attention to an employee’s sexual orientation?”

      Because its employees are asking for it and they are responding like responsible employers. More importantly why would it be any of YOUR concern.

      “Favoring” meaning, not discriminating against them or treating them badly as you would like them to do.

      Its funny how people who openly want to treat others as less than people based on what they are, like to pretend their opponents are bigots. Sorry, nobody has to tolerate your intolerance of others. That is not bigotry. Its speaking truth to power.

      • Lwolkow, perhaps you iterpreted my remark regarding Office Depot in a way that I did not intend it to be taken. As an employer, Office Depot shouldn’t be giving a thought to an employee’s orientation, but merely to the competency of the employee to perform the assigned duties.

        On what moral ground do you accuse me of wanting any of OD’s employees treated badly or accuse me of being intolerant? I’ll answer that for you: Yours is a simple perspective: “What I want and like is right. I am the sole judge of that.”

        That’s a dangerous position for you to put yourself in–you’ve done it by your words, not by my judgments–because any other individual can claim for himself the same right, which might clash with yours. Then, it becomes a matter of “might is right,” a matter of who can use any method necessary to achieve his personal objective.

        You know nothing about my own relationship with gays–or whether I am gay myself. Nor I about you. Nor does any of it matter.

        • When companies are “gay friendly” it means they are going out of their way not to alienate their employees and customers by engaging in discriminatory behavior against gays. Its good for business, it keeps employees happy and productive. You make a phony argument that acting in such a way means gays are being favored somehow. More honestly its treating them like everyone else.

          Your snide remarks about Office Depot’s policies belie a bigoted frame of reference. You want to claim that not openly discriminating against gays is some form of unwarranted special treatment. Its the kind of bullcrap argument people put out when they want to support discrimination.

          Somehow wanting to be being to be treated with a measure of respect is a sign of prejudice. They just can’t tolerate your discriminatory and hateful attitudes, those lousy bigots! Btw political correctness is a fiction created by conservatives as an excuse to act like cretinous jerks in public.

          Your statements tell me everything I need to know about your opinion on such subjects.

  4. From Office Depot to Chaput… Can’t anything be done out of the plain, unadulterated love and charity that Jesus practiced and preached? Aren’t Jesus and his principles the very reason for church? Chaput himself needs to take a look at the unchristian, cruel mentalities he has helped to create. As for Chaput’s problems with past mismanagement of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, you can blame that everywhere on clergy having the final say about business matters, something in which they received absolutely no decent preparation. Of course, throwing the people’s money away on the sex scandals of priests and bishops and the cover-up by the bishops–with assistance from all the fancy lawyers and accountants they hire with the people’s money–doesn’t lend much toward good solvency.

  5. The conservatives of the Catholic Church are an encrusted breed that is dying out. They no more relate to the precepts of Jesus than Judas. They do not practice justice or charity. They are all wrapped up in a very selective monarchical history of religion and the church.

    Conservatives resent and resist the grand historical corrections and good ecclesiology that were the work of Vatican II. The church remains in dire need of those corrections. Unfortunately, John Paul II and Benedict encouraged the conservatives, having become conservatives themselves. Those popes damaged Vatican II by “reforming its reforms” as drastically as they dared. In the words of Good John XXIII, Vatican II was to open windows venting in fresh air to a stale church that had lost meaning to most of its followers. Francis seems to be following in John’s footsteps.

    Religion is too often distorted into a toddler’s security blanket against fear. It is misused by older people against their existential fear, their fear of death. Fear of death interferes with good and happy living. Religion should relieve people of those fears. It has failed badly, just as “the reform of the reforms of Vatican II” by John Paul II and Benedict have caused failure to many of the hopeful intentions of Vatican II reforms.

    • Hey, gilhcan at least your honest when you suggest Popes JPII and Ben were evil. It’s easy to see your a liberal and I couldn’t be more opposed to liberal thought. When I say liberal I mean those that want no moral codes or boundaries and see no harm in doing whatever the INDIVIDUAL wants to do.

      Why even go to church, why have a church, no one is sinning. No need for God.
      Hope it works out for you.

      As for your comments that conservatives don’t practice charity or justice: BS.
      We conservatives perform charity directly instead of wasting all our time advocating that that some bloated bureaucratic government do our charity for us. Here’s a suggestion for all you liberals: go find a poor person and help them.

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