As with any response to William Slavick’s mud-slinging against the Catholic Church, the challenge is always where to begin.

Slavick’s distaste for the church and her institutions is palpable, as evidenced by his Maine Voices column of Jan. 26 (“The Maine Catholic Church doesn’t need to take another battering”), in which he presents a litany of complaints against the Catholic Church and her leaders. The problem is that Slavick provides no evidence by which to substantiate any of his charges.

Before addressing what appears to be Slavick’s main point of contention, three points of clarification are in order:

First, Bishop Richard Malone never receives a “cut” of any parish collection.

Second, the special collection for the 2009 marriage referendum was a freewill offering that was used exclusively for the expressed intention.

Third, parish finance councils know that the regular Sunday collection is assessed by the diocese, but only to support its day-to-day operations and costs related to priests’ salaries, health care and pension premiums — and nothing else.

It is clear that Slavick is deeply offended by the church’s long-held and unchangeable teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. But William Slavick does not speak for the Catholic Church.

The vast majority of faithful, Mass-attending Catholics, along with many others of different faiths or no faith at all, will continue to support and defend marriage as an institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.

There are those Catholics who will disagree, and some may even leave the church. That is their choice, and we will not only mourn their loss but pray for their return. What the Catholic Church cannot do is succumb to the intolerance and bigotry of those who would resort to slander and libel in an attempt to keep her silent.

Brian Souchet is the director of the Office for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.


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