June 3, 2009

Cuts for Me, Not for Thee

Marc Comtois

The Diocese of Providence and other religious institutions plan on preaching from the pulpit against a planned reduction in welfare spending. A plan that was passed by the General Assembly a year ago. The Interfaith Coalition wants to delay the cuts for another year, when, hopefully, the economy has rebounded. According to the Diocese of Providence's Rev. Bernard Healy, “A budget is a moral document that reflects the priorities of our state leaders. The future of our children must be the first priority.”

Indeed. But sometimes, whether we like it or not, cuts have to be made. Sometimes institutions have to be consolidated, sometimes with little warning, because there aren't enough people giving enough money to provide and maintain the same amount of services. Sacrifices are made and people adjust.

And sometimes providing our children, our future, with the same level of quality education becomes too expensive, particularly when trying to operate on reduced revenue. So schools simply have to be closed--even if with little warning. Yet, the kids can go to public or other private schools and they will adjust.

And sometimes it costs too much money to upgrade aging facilities that help the elderly, so they have to be closed, often with little warning. It's the only fiscally responsible thing to do. The elderly move to other homes and adjust.

Now the Governor and the Legislature, faced with a fiscal crisis and after having given people a year to plan, are being chastised and asked to give just one more year. So many years have already been given.

No more. These cuts have been on the horizon and people should be more than ready to adjust. For those who don't, I have faith that our religious institutions and our booming non-profit industry will continue to help as they can. In this, the state and its taxpayers are acting with the same sort of fiscal responsibility as exercised by the Catholic Church. No more, no less.

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Hey, I've got an idea for the Diocese of Providence. Why don't they start paying taxes? How about the cities start charging them property taxes on their little fiefdoms. How about they start paying income tax on those collection baskets. Then they can have some say in how the government spends its money.

When people talk about separation of church and state, some say the intent is to separate church FROM state. In this case, it seems we need to do the reverse.

And why in the world does the Catholic archdiocese of Providence have a lobbyist??

How about Cicilline ask the churches for $300 per churchgoer each year, just like he's doing with the private colleges?

Posted by: Patrick at June 3, 2009 9:10 PM

The Diocese closes churches when it can no longer afford to keep them open.
Do as I say,not as I do.

Posted by: Robert at June 3, 2009 9:39 PM

Unfortunately for the Diocese they have no moral standing to argue against these cuts. When they support illegal immigration - one of the reasons the state is in such dire straits - and now want to cry about the cuts resulting in large part from those supporting such illegal behavior, they have lost all credibility.
The diocese needs to understand there is a price to be paid for advocating for illegal immigration. And now they are seeing just what it is. Sorry, no tears here. Charity begins at home. I've donated a lot of money to the church over the years. When they became outspoken in their support of illegal immigration, I stopped. I know many others who did the same. The diocese really needs to reassess their policies and understand the cause and effect of them. They can do what they want, but it won't be with my money.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at June 3, 2009 11:14 PM

It's funny how conservatives suddenly turn on the Catholic Church when its leaders dare speak out on issues other than abortion or gay marriage.
Sorry, but you've gotta take the bad with the good (and vice versa).

Posted by: rhody at June 3, 2009 11:39 PM

It's not a matter of "turning" on the church, but rather, it's just pointing out when it's wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. Unlike liberals, conservatives generally don't "use" the church when it suits a particular narrow political agenda, and then ignore it completely the rest of the time.

The Catholic Church in Rhode Island would have a lot more credibility:

If it were consistent in its application of theology, especially pertaining to pro-choice politicians.

If when it calls for economic policies which have the end result of increasing taxes on the majority of its own parishoners who work hard for the money they have, that it would volunteer to "chip" in -- in other words, pay taxes. The Catholic Church is a tax exempt institution. It should be very grateful about that.

If it focused its resources on its own charitable works, instead of forcing the state's taxpayers to do what it and other similar institutions should be doing as a matter of course themselves. There really is no reason that government should be in the business of providing charitable services which could just as easily be performed by other private organizations.

Giving away other people's money isn't "charity."

PS Although I share many theological understandings in common, I am not Catholic, so I don't have any reservations about pointing out when they are wrong. That being said, they are right more often than they are wrong. When they are wrong, I think it's our duty to point it out to them. I don't think anyone is arguing that Bishop Tobin or the RCC hierarchy in Rhode Island are "infallible."

Posted by: Will at June 4, 2009 2:24 AM

Gee Rhody, and here I thought I'd get some kind of kudos for not marching in ideological lockstep yada yada yada. And I'm not "turning" on the Church, I just disagree. Not the only, first or last time.

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