Catholic Relief Services' Vice President in Gay Marriage Resigns Amid Pressure From Conservative Catholics

A prominent member of the charity Catholic Relief Services who's married to someone of the same sex has resigned from his position.

Rick Estridge, the vice president for overseas finance who had been with CRS for 16 years, announced his resignation Wednesday.

A spokesman from CRS provided The Christian Post with a statement from the charity group, declining to give further comment "out of respect for Rick¹s privacy."

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According to the statement, Estridge opted to step down from the vice president position in response to pressure from a conservative Roman Catholic organization.

"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," read the statement.

"CRS respects Mr. Estridge¹s 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."

Founded during World War II, CRS has close ties to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been active in opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

In 2013, Estridge married his longtime partner following Maryland's referendum legalizing gay marriage.

While not a Catholic himself, according to CRS the position Estridge held was not missional in nature and therefore it was acceptable for someone who did not adhere to Catholic teaching to hold the position.

In April, a conservative Catholic organization known as the Lepanto Institute published a report denouncing CRS' employment of Estridge.

Lepanto produced documents showing that Estridge was not only in a gay marriage, but also actively supported organizations on social media that sought national legalization of same-sex unions.

Lepanto concluded that there was "something very seriously wrong" with CRS having a vice president who is actively supporting an agenda contrary to Catholic Church teaching.

"Considering that Catholic Relief Services claims to uphold Catholic moral teachings, while it is regularly caught doing the opposite, one has to wonder how many other individuals such as Rick Estridge hold high level positions at CRS," argued Lepanto.

"And if other individuals such as Estridge hold high positions, how many of them are responsible for conducting the internal investigations at CRS which tend to exonerate them of any wrongdoing, even when all the facts say otherwise?"

Included in the statement sent to CP by CRS was what was described as Estridge's "only public comment" on the controversy.

"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," stated Estridge.

"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."

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