On August 19, we asked "Can Catholic Charities Remain "Catholic" and "Charitable" While Accepting Government Contracts?" We showed that Catholic Charities are not really charities--in San Francisco 73% and in Chicago 86% of their revenue comes from the taxpayers. We showed that push was coming to shove in Illinois, and indicated that the deciding factor could be the institutional self-interest of Catholic Charities. We concluded:
"Catholic Charities can be true to their name by forgoing government contracts. Then they will have no worries about being Catholic, and they will be forced to once again become a charity. But in disentangling themselves from the government the biggest hitch will be what to do with all their staff: according to GuideStar, Catholic Charities of Chicago has 1,452 full-time and 1,221 part-time employees."
Well, this is from yesterday's Belleville, IL News: (emphasis added)
"The Belleville-based Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois is getting a new name and is splitting with the Catholic church in an attempt to maintain its state contracts to provide foster and adoption services.
The new organization will be called Christian Social Services of Illinois and will be ending its relationship with the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, according to a joint announcement from the Diocese and Social Services."
The story also included a confusing excerpt from a press release of the Belleville Diocese:
"Unable to remain faithful to the moral teaching of the Catholic Church while adhering to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, the 64-year-old social service agency chose to dissociate from the Diocese," the Belleville Diocese said in a prepared statement. 'It is hoped that this new entity will experience no interruption in its services and programs.'"
A group that was sponsored by the Church for 64 years, left because it was "unable to remain faithful to the moral teaching of the Catholic Church," and the Diocese hopes it will "experience no interruption in services or programs?" Hell, I hope they go out of business--but there's no fear of that. The article continued with a statement from Gary Huelsmann, Executive Director of the (former) Catholic Charities:
"'We had to make a choice,' Huelsmann said. 'It was a very difficult choice.'
The new Social Services will allow placements to civil unions, Huelsmann said. The agency also withdrew earlier this week from a lawsuit filed by Catholic Charities in response to the state's decision.
Huelsmann said his organization is currently negotiating with the state to maintain foster care and adoption contracts that were to end Nov. 30 and to start receiving new cases. Catholic Charities had not had any foster care cases transferred to new agencies since the department's decision to terminate the contracts but it hadn't received any new cases either.
The article's final paragraph gets to the pivotal issue, even (as we predicted) mentioning the number of employees who would have had to have been laid off:
"Losing the state contracts for foster care and adoption services would be a huge financial blow to Social Services, considering they account for 72 percent of the organization's annual revenue of $13.1 million, according to Huelsmann. He had said the loss of that state revenue could have forced the organization to lay off three-quarters of its 187 employees."
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney