a teachable moment
The bishops of Massachusetts plan to petition the state government for exemption from a policy that bars adoption services from discriminating against homosexual couples, according to a headline story in today's Boston Globe. The bishops' petition will presumably cite Church teachings that say homosexual adoption is "gravely immoral," in fact a form of child abuse.
Still, the government officials who receive that have reason to be puzzled, since the Boston office of Catholic Charities has been placing adoptive children with homosexual couples for more than a decade. If it's so obviously an offense against Catholic teaching, why was it done for so long? Why, after the story broke late last year, did Church leaders require a 3-month study to determine that the "gravely immoral" practice should be halted?
Fair questions. But no doubt the bishops will take advantage of this opportunity to explain the teachings of the Church. Right? Wrong.
The Globe story cites two potential defenders of the Catholic viewpoint: a lawyer at the firm handling the bishops' appeal, and the director of the bishops' public-policy lobby:
John Tuerck, spokesman for Ropes & Gray, said the firm had no comment and does not identify its clients.
Edward Saunders Jr. -- executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the public policy office for the bishops in the state -- said he cannot comment on the bishops' views on gay adoptions, other than to say the topic remains part of 'ongoing serious consideration."
Not very convincing, is it? But wait; there is one spokesman for a Catholic institution who's not afraid to speak out. Peter Meade, a Board member of Boston Catholic Charities, told the Globe that the policy "is an unnecessary, unmitigated disaster for children, Catholic Charities, and the Archdiocese of Boston."
Oh, wait. Meade wasn't talking about homosexual adoption. He was talking about the bishops' hope to stop placing children with gay couples.
The officers of Boston Catholic Charities aren't likely to side with the bishops on this one. The Globe notes:
The board voted unanimously in December in support of continuing to allow gay couples to adopt children.
Unanimously. The Church teaches that it's a form of child abuse. The board of Catholic Charities votes unanimously to continue it.
So do the bishops of Massachusetts have some teaching to do? No comment.
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Posted by: -
Feb. 18, 2006 5:20 PM ET USA
My wife and I once considered going to Catholic Charities for some counseling; until the counselor proudly proclaimed that the counseling would NOT be faith based and beamingly gave the example that, if we were to consider abortion she would NOT counsel us against it! Her excuse was that most who go to Catholic Charities aren't Catholic, therefore, niether should be the coulselors. This straight from the mouth of a counselor to my own ears! I refuse to send a dime to them and no-one else should!
Posted by: principle not pragmatism -
Feb. 17, 2006 3:29 PM ET USA
Will the Pope ever put his foot down and trample the serpents around the feet of the Bishops?
Posted by: Ross Dee -
Feb. 17, 2006 1:14 PM ET USA
First of all , there is nothing Catholic nor charitable about sending a child into a dysfunctional home enviorment. Two homosexuals living together and two lesbians living together does not equal a normal home enviornment. It is not for the best interest of the child. It is dishonest and dilutional to pretend otherwise. A good orphanage would be better. Natural Law dictates the definition of parents, a Male and a Female, and no government has the authority or power to ever change this Truth
Posted by: Fiducia -
Feb. 17, 2006 12:06 AM ET USA
Of course, the state will not grant the archdioceses an exemption. The petition is a hollow gesture. Don't hold your breath waiting for the bishops to do anything courageous or effective. Look at the reaction to the state mandate to provide "morning after" pills.
Posted by: Charlie887 -
Feb. 16, 2006 11:17 PM ET USA
Diogenes says, "Catholic Charities has been placing adoptive children with homosexual couples for more than a decade." How can that be? Legally, homosexuals only had the right to become couples (by marrying!) beginnng in May 2004. Both heterosexual married couples and single people have long been able to adopt, with no queries made into the sexual preferences of the latter. Perhaps Catholic Charities was a trailblazer and recognized homosexual alliances long before required to do so by the SJC.
Posted by: Cupertino -
Feb. 16, 2006 9:11 PM ET USA
If the Bishops actually do this it will be a good thing. That they haven't done everything does not detract from the goodness of this action seeking to be exempted from the homosexual adoption policy. We simply can't continue piling on as this comment does. It makes the perfect the enemy of the good. Anything the Bishops do will fall far short of correcting the decades long dereliction of their duty. If they do it they should be thanked.
Posted by: Moreman -
Feb. 16, 2006 5:23 PM ET USA
Veritatis Splendor sec. 116: A particular responsibility is incumbent upon Bishops with regard to Catholic institutions... Bishops can canonically erect and recognize these structures and delegate certain responsibilities to them. Nevertheless, Bishops are never relieved of their own personal obligations. It falls to them, in communion with the Holy See, both to grant the title "Catholic" to Church-related ... services, and, in cases of a serious failure to live up to that title, to take it away
Posted by: benedictusoblatus -
Feb. 16, 2006 4:08 PM ET USA
This Septuagesima season (Trad. calendar) is dedicated to a consideration of Original Sin and the Fall of Man. I for one am absolutely horrified by the utter lack of faithfulness of so-called Catholic institutions that pursue the work of social workers and utterly ignore the ONLY reason these institutions should exist - to lead souls to heaven. Queer bishops, queer priests, queer parents - they all make for queer Catholics who neglect the Last Things and then die. What of their eternity???
Posted by: -
Feb. 16, 2006 2:15 PM ET USA
"If our works do not tell of our faith, what good are they?" You are so right, major. And if our worship does not tell of our faith, what good is it?
Posted by: major -
Feb. 16, 2006 11:26 AM ET USA
If the politicians do grant an exception, why don't Catholic Charities just fold its tent? If our works do not tell of our faith, what good are they? Putting children in such sinful situations, for example, would be doing evil under the pretyense of doing good. Oh, for a backbone in our hierarchy!
Posted by: patriot6908 -
Feb. 16, 2006 10:35 AM ET USA
To add to Marshmallow's note, the main issue here is MONEY...as in "Show me the MONEY!" It is corrupting, as St. Paul noted 2,000 years; and has affected almost every major religious charitable organization (and many colleges and universities). At some point, and I speak as a long-time fund-raiser, money requires the art of pandering, whether it's United Way, Catholic Charities, or Georgetown, etc. Pander long enough and your values will be determined by your donor base.
Posted by: -
Feb. 16, 2006 9:58 AM ET USA
"Catholic" charities, like "Catholic" hospitals and "Catholic" universities have gradually and inexorably divested themselves of their Catholicity and assumed the values, management style and financial structure of their secular counterparts. They have become essentially nothing more than businesses. Most are unrecoverable. They need to remove the word "Catholic" from the shingle outside their door and to be cut loose from the Church to continue whatever it is they do for their secular masters.