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Why It is a Mistake for Rick Santorum to do Fundraising for the Salvation Army

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Peter Kim. A pastor in the Salvation Army church.

I’m going to keep this as brief as possible because it’s late and I’m tired.

The Salvation Army is a protestant church. Rick Santorum should not be asking his supporters to donate to a particular church. As I explained previously, I have taught my children never to give to the Salvation Army because it is a protestant church. It would be hypocritical of me to support a politician who is actively promoting something that I teach my children is very wrong. I have to be an example to my children.

Our duty as Catholics is to support the Catholic Church. Click here for an answer about what you should do in the case of interfaith marriage. As noted, in a nutshell:

Although a Catholic should not give to the support of Protestant churches, your Protestant wife certainly may and may feel bound in conscience to do so. Likewise, she may feel uncomfortable giving to the support of the Catholic Church but you are bound in conscience to do so (CCC 2043).

Many protestants have said to me that they are offended that I would not give to the Salvation Army because it’s “affiliated with protestants.” When I ask them if they would donate to the Catholic Church if Rick Santorum asked them to, every single one of them has said no, they would not. They claim that giving to the Salvation Army’s red kettles is not the same thing as giving to the Salvation Army church. What these people fail to recognize is that the core argument the Catholic Church is now making to the Obama Administration on the HHS mandate is that our institutions and our charitable activities are “the Catholic Church.” Our charity work is “the Church.” There is no separation between the Church and her mission on earth.

I cannot sit here and say that Barack Obama is attacking “the Catholic Church” when he is forcing Catholic charities to do evil and, at the same time, say that Rick Santorum is not supporting a protestant church by asking people to volunteer for the Salvation Army. It doesn’t make logical sense, and I would be a hypocrite if I did that. Not only do I believe it is wrong to give to the Salvation Army, because I am Catholic, it would leave me with no credibility when I make the argument against the HHS mandate about the nature of the Catholic Church not being limited to her worship services.

Am I saying that Rick Santorum is a hypocrite? No. I’m saying that I personally, as an individual, am very clear on what the position of the Catholic Church is on the nature of the Church. That is, that a “church” is not limited to where the members worship. A “church” is made up of everything her members do within the mission of that church. Because of this, the Salvation Army red kettles are a protestant church, and Rick Santorum, as a politician, should not be using his political platform to ask people to support a specific church. Further, as a Catholic, he should not ask people to financially support protestant churches. Rather, he should encourage people to support the charity of their choice.

 

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