10/11/09

What do you think?


Image by Ross

UPDATE: I incorrectly used the term PAC in this post to identify what is actually a BQC or Ballot Question Committee in the state of Maine. The BQC Stand for Marriage Maine is, as far as I can determine from their website, supported by Catholic groups but not a Catholic founded or based group. In light of this I've made the appropriate revisions in my own text below. An interesting chain of responses can be found in the combox.

Here's a press release from the Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has filed a Campaign Finance Report with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices as required for Ballot Question Committees (BQC). The Church registered as a BQC in support of question one which seeks to repeal the new law allowing same sex couples to marry.

The report indicates the funds raised have been given to the Stand for Marriage Maine political action committee. Between July first and the end of September, money contributed by other dioceses and bishops amounted to $214,550. Contributions from a statewide second collection in September was just over $41,000. (More info here) This is the portion of the collection that parishioners chose to put in the collection plate without using the envelopes that were provided and sent directly to Stand for Marriage Maine (SFMM). SFMM will be supplying information to the state regarding parishioner contributions that were received directly by the PAC in the envelopes. Another $33,000 was contributed by the diocese for in-kind services which includes salaries for two employees who are on a leave of absence and whose time is being donated to the campaign.

The diocese reported all individual contributions received in excess of one hundred dollars.
Unlike Massachusetts where the state is divided among 4 Catholic dioceses (Boston, Worcester, Fall River, Springfield), the entire state of Maine is served by the Diocese of Portland. Thus, "statewide collection" refers to a collection taken up in all the Catholic parishes in the Portland diocese.

My interest in posting this is not with particular regard to the question of gay marriage (nor am I looking for comments on that issue) but rather to ask for your thoughts and reflections on the institutional church raising funds to contribute to the support of moral/political causes.

Should the church solicit and raise funds to support ballot question committees?

-ConcordPastor