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reconciled to reality

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 26, 2006

As the Boston archdiocese prepares to shut down its adoption services, to avoid (or, to be more accurate, to cease) placing children with same-sex "married" couples, the head of Boston Catholic Charities reflects on the sad situation:

"The overwhelming majority of the time we reconciled the differences between our roots in the Catholic Church and our mission to serve the larger society," said the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities of Boston. "But this time, it was irreconcilable."

From this we can reasonably conclude that:

  • placing needy children with homosexual couples-- which the Vatican describes as an act of violence toward those children-- would "serve the larger society."
  • generally speaking, there's some tension between being a loyal Catholic and serving the larger society.
  • this tension can usually be resolved by "reconciliation"-- rather than by, say, energetic preaching of the Gospel.
Or at least, that's what the head of Boston Catholic Charities thinks.

There are some people who think that the unapologetic pursuit of Catholic social teaching is a way of serving "the larger society." (And just by the way, what society is "larger" than the universal Church?)

  • Ask yourself whether the quote above could possibly have tumbled from the lips of Mother Teresa.
  • Ask yourself whether Mother Teresa would be comfortable today within the framework of Boston Catholic Charities.
  • Now ask yourself why they should stop with the adoption services, when they could just close down the whole Catholic Charities operation?

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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: joe15 - Jun. 28, 2006 8:19 AM ET USA

    Look, the relevant issue in Fr. Hehir's statement isn't what "most of the time" means -- it's what "reconcile the differences between our roots in the Catholic Church and our mission to serve the larger society" means. He could have been talking about making widgets, or homeschooling, or preaching to Ubangi mud warriors -- the point is that Christians believe that no reconciling need occur between conviction of faith and mission or apostolate, any more than the soul of Christ needs reconciling with His actions. They are inseparable; they stem from the same source; they can never be opposed to each other except insofar as human frailty intervenes. It's true, one can’t guarantee outcomes, and there may not be room in there for government funding….

  • Posted by: Sterling - Jun. 27, 2006 12:52 PM ET USA

    I must confess I put myself with those respondents who read this very differently from Diogenes. It does not sound to me as if the "most of the time" was supposed to mean - or include - placing children with homosexual parents.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 26, 2006 6:13 PM ET USA

    Catholic Charities of the Souther Tier of New York has ,on its letter head, a disclaimer that explains that they are "a nonsectarian agency". They keep that word "Catholic" in the title though.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 26, 2006 2:26 PM ET USA

    Help me out here. I' trying to recall the verse in which Christ declares Himself, "a way, a truth, a life."

  • Posted by: wvcatholic - Jun. 26, 2006 12:01 PM ET USA

    "what differences between Church teaching and serving society?" The conflict comes because state law mandanted that children had to be placed with homosexual couples. If that law did not exist, Catholic Charities could still continue in its mission of "serving the larger society" through adoptions. In most cases differences are reconcilled, e.g., catholic hospitals receive exemptions from the government so they don't have to perform abortions, etc. (Just as Mother Teresa did in India.)

  • Posted by: Publicus - Jun. 26, 2006 10:02 AM ET USA

    wvcatholic, I think your criticisms miss the mark. If by 'most of the time' Fr. Hehir meant the placement of children with heterosexual couples, what differences between Church teaching and serving society? Indeed, there are not which is why this line is seen as evidence of a counterfeit view of Church teachings.

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Jun. 26, 2006 9:48 AM ET USA

    Some might find this depressing, but it makes me happy. Now, whenever the plate is passed for Catholic Charities, I save twenty bucks. Even if I split it with a homeless guy after Mass, my remaining tenner still gets me a nice breakfast at the local diner. Thanks, Fr. Hehir! Brunch is on you!

  • Posted by: wvcatholic - Jun. 26, 2006 9:29 AM ET USA

    It seems that Diogenes' parsing skills are on a par with those of Bill Clinton. A more accurate analysis would equate "serve the larger society" with the many placements of children with married heterosexual couples that BCC has done. There is no evidence in this statement that homosexual adoptions was implied. Second, "reconcilliation" with society defines the Catholic Church. Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? Why Christmas trees? What did St. Patrick do in Ireland?

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