Catholic Relief Services, the US branch of Caritas, released Wednesday the following statement:
On April 20, a self-described Catholic defense group issued a report on Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) vice president for overseas finance, Rick Estridge. Mr. Estridge was a valued employee of CRS for 16 years. He held a technical finance position that did not involve mission-related decisions. Because of that, CRS did not require that position to be held by a Catholic, and Mr. Estridge is not Catholic. He entered into a same-sex civil marriage two years ago, when doing so became legal in Maryland. Because of the stress this situation has caused Mr. Estridge and his family, he has made the decision to leave CRS.
“After 16 years of faithful service to CRS’ mission around the world, I have decided to resign from CRS,” Mr. Estridge stated in what he said would be his only public comment. “This is the right decision for me, and I thank CRS’ leadership for providing me with the space to make this determination during this difficult time. I continue to have full faith in CRS’ leadership and the organization as a whole. I thank my team and the global finance community for their hard work and dedication and have every belief that they will continue to serve with excellence.”
CRS respects Mr. Estridge’s decision and thanks him for his service. He has done a tremendous job during his years at CRS and will be missed. We are grateful that he has agreed to be available as needed for consultation to ensure a smooth transition.
CRS also wants to express its strong objection to these types of attacks and the tactics of the groups which launch them. This highly personal, public critique broadcast Mr. Estridge’s home address and used derogatory terms that are now part of the online record. This has caused great pain for many people. As a Catholic agency, CRS is committed to treating all people with the respect and compassion they deserve as children of God. We detest hurtful campaigns that do not build up, but undermine, individuals and Church agencies carrying out the mission of bringing the love of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering.
CRS is an organization with close ties to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission. We are resolute in our commitment to the Church and all its teachings, and we work in countless ways to support marriage and family life. Our board of directors and executives regularly review programs, policies and practices to ensure that these uphold our Catholic identity, as we remain true to our mission of caring for those in greatest need at the forefront of the Church’s engagement with the world.