Which is more important to the Roman Catholic Church: carrying on its religious mission, or taking away the equal rights of gay people?
Earlier this year, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland gave us its answer. The diocese, which has jurisdiction over all catholic churches in Maine, had $100,000 at its disposal. Rather than spend the $48,000 needed to resolve the deficits for three churches in the Biddeford parish (and leave $52,000 in reserve for future difficulties), the Diocese of Portland closed those three churches. Instead, it spent that $100,000 in a monetary contribution to the anti-gay group Stand for Marriage Maine, which seeks to illegalize same-sex marriage in the state.
This past weekend, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland made its choice again. It ordered all catholic churches in Maine to hold a “second collection” during Sunday mass, with all collected money to go directly to Stand for Marriage Maine. The Catholic News Agency reports that up to $300,000 was raised for Stand for Marriage Maine in that second collection. Yet the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is moving ahead with plans to close two churches in Lewiston, Maine. Why? Because the diocese concluded it would be “too expensive to keep the churches open.”
These choices make it evident: maintaining churches and religious services are less important to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland than taking away the rights of gay people.