Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown accused the Catholic Church of playing “hardball” with same-sex marriage advocates.

What is Church going to do? Excommunicate them? Draw and quarter them? Throw fruit? No. Nothing as interesting as that. They’re just not going to give them money.

Oh. That doesn’t exactly sound like hardball, does it?

Well, Brown clearly considers this the first stage of the return of the Inquisition.

In reality, here’s how it seems to have gone down. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been funding anti-poverty groups which belong to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which came out in a very public way and advocated same-sex marriage.

Then, the archdiocese, which must approve all CCHD grant recipients, started asking recipients to either renounce their membership in the ICIRR or renounce the grants.

It’s not as if this is a surprise. Each of the grant recipients reportedly agreed in writing not to pursue an agenda contrary to Catholic teaching.

Brown considers this “an eye opening display of hardball.” He said he considers the move to be a “mistake” because the Church is “enforcing the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians.”

Clearly, this is a case where the archdiocese is attempting to ensure that Catholic aren’t confused. And it would be at least a little confusing to see that the Church is funding organizations that belong to a coalition supporting same-sex marriage.

I find the archdiocese’s response to this situation laudable. Can’t say the same for Brown and the Sun-Times who seem to be wanting to start their own secular inquisition.