A sad example today of the Church being blamed for adhering to her identity. Dutch charity Solidaridad, which works primarily for the poor in South America, has broken of all contacts with the Dutch bishops’ conference after the latter requested that their financial aid be used for goals which are in agreement with the faith. To that end, they requested more influence in how their money is used.

Press chief Wim Peeters, speaking on behalf of the bishops’ conference, said that Solidaridad was presented with two options: Have a closer bond with the Church, or become a general charity with collection slots on the roster just like other charities, for those goals that are in agreement with the Church’s teachings. Solidaridad initially chose the latter, according to Peeters. “It now seems that Solidaridad chose a third option. They don’t want any further contact with the Roman Catholic Church.”

Solidaridad director Nico Roozen regrets the increased adherence from the bishops to Catholic teaching: “The Church’s morality creates major problems in areas such as combatting HIV and suitable population politics. High Church opinions on the position of women in church and society and on homosexuality are limiting factors for emancipation. A certain matter of allowing now seems to be history. All the rules are once more strongly enforced.”

Well, that’s the standard complaint which goes far beyond a charity’s prerogative. The debate on women and homosexuality, for example, does not in any way limit charity towards them, as anyone who takes a proper objective look at the Church’s position will readily see. What I regret is the misunderstanding that the local Church (in this case in the Netherlands) must be separate from the ‘high Church’ in Rome. They are very much not separate, but one body. Perhaps it is about time that that ‘certain matter of allowing’ be ended, if it is in disagreement with what the Church actually believes and teaches. In Rome, Amsterdam or an Andean mountain village, the Church is the Church is the Church. Faith and teaching do not vary per region.

And as for Roozen’s comment about emancipation: well, what is Solidaridad? An emancipator or a charity? If the latter, I am certain that the Church will happily aid them where she can, as becomes clear from Peeters’ statement above. What the Church can not do, however, is fund charities which go against her own beliefs.

It’s just sad that it seems to come down to mudslinging and accusations of hunger for power whenever the Church dares stand up for her own identity.

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