WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Catholic Charities agencies across the country are fighting government efforts to shut down their adoption services, the group’s national office in Washington has employed a firm founded by a homosexual activist to lobby for them on Capitol Hill, the Washington Blade, a homosexual newspaper, reported recently.

A spokesman for Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) confirmed to LifeSiteNews that they hired the Sheridan Group, a lobbying firm founded by Tom Sheridan.  A self-professed “gay Catholic,” Sheridan began his lobbying career with the AIDS Action Council in the 1980s, and his firm has since represented numerous AIDS advocacy groups.

At the same time, the dissident New Ways Ministry, which purports to support “LGBT” Catholics, claimed to the Blade that CCUSA and some local Catholic Charities agencies have been backing them “behind-the-scenes.”

“Catholic Charities in general have been the most progressive wing of the church other than the nuns,” said Sister Jeannine Gramick, one of the founders of New Ways, which has been condemned by both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  “In some cases, Catholic Charities USA has supported our events. I feel they personally are pro-gay but they can’t do this publicly.”

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways’ executive director, said that while “the homophobia” is still present in Catholic Charities agencies, he believes it is “due mostly to the bishops, who have an immense amount of power over Catholic Charities [on the local level].”

However, Roger Conner, CCUSA’s communications director, told LifeSiteNews on Monday that they have “no affiliation” with New Ways Ministry, “nor are they authorized to speak on our behalf.”

Fr. Larry Snyder, CCUSA’s president, said in a statement that they hired Sheridan’s lobbying firm to promote their anti-poverty initiatives in Congress.  Specifically, he said Sheridan is promoting their Centennial project, which aims to “celebrate our first 100 years of service by imagining a better way to serve those in need throughout the next 100 years.”  According to the Blade, CCUSA paid Sheridan’s company $476,750 between April 2010 and April 2011.

Sheridan told the Washington Blade that he had no issue representing CCUSA because it is independent from the local Catholic Charities agencies that are fighting government promotion of homosexualism. 

“They’re only together as service providers on poverty issues, which is why I have no problem representing them,” he said.  “And I’m proud to represent them because they do such outstanding work.”