The dioceses of Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina are pulling out of the interfaith Council of Churches due to the council’s position on marriage and their neutrality on life issues. The distance between the Catholic Church and many Christian denominations seems to be increasing. And it ain’t the Catholic Church that is changing.

Here’s a good bit of their letter:

“Effective Dec. 31, 2013, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh and the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte will conclude their official membership in the North Carolina Council of Churches. This decision follows an extensive series of discussions by both dioceses with the leadership of the North Carolina Council of Churches regarding its administrative structure and its by-laws. This has resulted in religious leaders being associated, via the Council, with positions that are at times in contradiction with their practice and the teaching of their faith.

“In an effort to continue to actively participate in ecumenical dialogue and the important community activities where possible, both Catholic Dioceses proposed to the Council a new type of organizational membership, which would allow both dioceses to remain in direct and active participation with the Council through a proposed observer status. The Council did not approve this proposal.

“The Diocese of Raleigh and the Diocese of Charlotte deeply value the long standing relationship with the North Carolina Council of Churches and have informed the Council of their strong desire to continue to work together on issues where there is substantial agreement. Such issues include the implementation of comprehensive immigration reform, securing just wages for all employees, addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger, eradicating all forms of prejudice and bias and seeking the end of the death penalty. While working with the administrative structure of the Council is not possible, collaboration on these and other important issues with religious leaders throughout our State will continue.

The funding paid to the Council for membership will now be redirected to support these essential initiatives.

Of course, I think this was the right thing to do. But some aren’t too happy as evidenced by this editorial.

“Pope Francis’ surprising comments that his church should not be obsessed with abortion and gay marriage arrived a few weeks too late in North Carolina,” stated an editorial in the News Observer. “But like an ancient war in which the news spreads slowly to its distant corners, some Christian soldiers battle onward even after their leader has called for peace.”

It’s funny that the thing which drives some the craziest about the Catholic Church is its refusal to change, yet that seems to be a strength.