A Bishop Who Knows How To Bishop

Mentioned this in this week's potpourri, but I wanted to call attention to the Colorado legislature's latest blatant anti-Catholic move. (Have Coloradans nothing better to do than harrass Catholics?) This time they're trying to make it impossible for faith-based institutions to prefer hiring members of their own faith in leadership positions. Archbishop Chaput, God bless him, is having none of it. Speaking of Catholic Charities, he wrote,
Catholic Charities has a long track record of helping people in need from any religious background or none at all. Catholic Charities does not proselytize its clients. That isn’t its purpose. But Catholic Charities has no interest at all in generic do-goodism; on the contrary, it’s an arm of Catholic social ministry. When it can no longer have the freedom it needs to be “Catholic,” it will end its services. This is not idle talk. I am very serious.
That means he will shut down one of Colorado's largest provider of human services --in Denver, the largest non-governmental provider of such services. And for what? As he points out, the argument being made is nonsense:
The argument that government money “supports religion” when it passes through groups like Catholic Charities is nonsense. It also assumes that partnerships to serve the common good between government and religious groups are somehow “unconstitutional” — an assumption that is completely alien to American history and flatly false in light of the Constitution. Catholic confirmation classes don’t swell with new recruits because of Catholic efforts at Samaritan House or the migrant and low-cost housing run by Catholic Charities. In fact, Catholic Charities — and similar religious groups — often lose money on government-funded projects, and government bodies know it.
Instead, the government is getting a bargain:

one of the main reasons governments use nonprofits like Catholic Charities is because they’re cost-effective. As a result, government gets much more for its dollar by working through Catholic Charities to reach the poor. But administering the support personnel, ministries and distribution of funds does cost money, and a portion of government money is retained to help pay expenses, including in some cases salaries. This is necessary. It’s also fair and reasonable.

What I hope Catholics and the wider community clearly understand about HB 1080 is this: Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities are glad to partner with the government and eager to work cooperatively with anyone of good will. But not at the cost of their religious identity. Government certainly has the right and the power to develop its own delivery system for human services. But if groups like Catholic Charities carry part of society’s weight, then it’s only reasonable and just that they be allowed to be truly “Catholic” — or they cannot serve. And that has cost implications that the public might prudently consider in reflecting on HB 1080.