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Ex Catholic Charities Exec Slams Benefits Call


A former priest and top executive at Catholic Charities criticized the social service agency Wednesday for its decision to drop future health care benefits for employees' spouses rather than comply with a new marriage equality law in Washington, D.C.

According to The Washington Post,former chief operating officer Tim Sawina sent a letter to the Catholic Charities board in which he said the new policy declared by Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl would hurt agency recruitment and cause the organization to lose respect.

"Some, including the archbishop, have argued that by providing health care to a gay or lesbian spouse we are somehow legitimizing gay marriage," said Sawina, according to the Post. "Providing health care to a gay or lesbian partner -- a basic human right, according to Church teaching -- is an end in itself and no more legitimizes that marriage than giving communion to a divorced person legitimizes divorce, or giving food or shelter to an alcoholic legitimizes alcoholism."

Archbishop Wuerl, with support from the Catholic Charities board, decided this week to cut benefits for spouses of all future employees, new spouses of current employees, and spouses of current employees not on the health plan already. The move was designed to avoid recognition of same-sex partners, which would be in opposition to church teaching.

According to the Post, the archdiocese called Sawina's letter an inaccurate portrayal of the church's position and said his appeal to the organization's board of directors would be fruitless because the board cannot overturn the archbishop's decision.

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