In his recent Crux piece entitled “Catholics around the World Can’t Afford ‘Luxury Issues,’” John Allen claims that “fuss[ing]” about scandals concerning Catholic identity is primarily the pastime of affluent cultures and churches. The rest of the world, Allen says, is too busy dealing with gruesome beheadings and crushing poverty to have time to even think about such trivial matters.
The scandal that Allen referenced in particular is the ongoing story concerning Richard Estridge, vice president of overseas finance at Catholic Relief Services. The Lepanto Institute revealed last week that Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in 2013 and has been quite outspoken in his homosexual activism on social media.
Thus far, CRS has not commented other than to verify the accuracy of the Lepanto claims and state that it is deliberating the matter.
It is easy to see how CRS is in a bit of a bind over this. On one hand, several bishops and archbishops, including Archbishop Cordileone, have been the targets of vicious smear campaigns over their efforts to preserve Catholic identity and the sanctity of marriage in their own institutions. CRS, as it likes to remind us, is an agency of the bishops. On the other hand, CRS’ primary funder is the US government, and the world can be a cruel master when defied. Which brings us back to the main point as stated by John Allen: Is the fight over Catholic identity really a “luxury issue” primarily “fuss[ed]” about by affluent cultures and churches?
I suppose some—particularly among the affluent cultures and churches—might consider Catholic identity a luxury issue. And it is primarily from affluent cultures and churches that attacks against Christ and His Church most often arise. However, the Catholic bishops of Africa are actually quite angry at the attacks on Catholic identity that affluent cultures and churches are trying to impose on their flocks. And, considering how courageous the Africans have been in the face of martyrdom, it seems they do not consider their Catholic identity a luxury, but a matter of life and death.
For more information and further reading on the subject, see Christine Niles’ rebuttal of the particulars of Allen’s column, along with the outstanding research journalism of my former ALL colleague, Michael Hichborn, at the Lepanto Institute.
Rob Gasper is a senior research analyst for American Life League and is the editor of ALL News.