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adoption and the price of progress

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 21, 2006

At the Touchstone blog, Anthony Esolen examines the gay adoption imposture currently unfolding in Massachusetts. He argues that it is not an ordinary conflict between church protocol and municipal regulations, but that the collision was engineered -- with malice aforethought -- precisely in order to damage the Church. The whole piece deserves a careful reading. Some excerpts:

In this case, the government of Massachusetts had issued an ultimatum: either allow homosexual couples to adopt children, or shut up shop. The Church simply had no choice. Here it is not a case, as Newman put it in order to reject it, of committing a venial sin to save the world. For the Church to capitulate to the state, it would be cooperating in the grave social evil of undermining the institution of marriage and the order of the sexes, fashioned by God Himself.

If you're playing chess, and you can only get out of check by sacrificing your queen, you have to lose it no matter how reluctant you are. In the case of gay adoption, the state has boxed the Church into an analogous dilemma. To be a Christian is to believe, inter alia, that good cannot be purchased at the price of evil. The Church, in virtue of who she is, cannot advise her children how to commit just the right amount of sin. To make the contrary claim is to apostasize. Back to Esolen:

Then why the compulsion? Homosexuals in Massachusetts can already adopt children; it is unlikely that anyone will have been seriously inconvenienced by the Church's policy. The conclusion seems inescapable: the Church was given the ultimatum not so that homosexuals would benefit, but so that the Church would be hurt, either by a capitulation that would signal its subservience and irrelevance evermore, or by a curtailment of the freedom of Catholics to practice their faith in the public square.

Exactly. The idea that adoptable orphans and gay couples have their noses pressed up against opposite sides of the nursery window -- and that only Catholic intransigence prevents their blissful familial union -- is preposterous. To a gay activist, on the other hand, the Church-as-cruel-stepmother ruse is a weapon too good to pass up. It's a win/win situation: if, under the pressure of public odium, the Church caves, she un-makes herself; if she hangs tough, she gets sidelined. Esolen again:

[T]he enforcers in this case must have been looking forward with complacency to this predictable result. That it would hurt thousands of children who would have to wait much longer before finding a family to adopt them, did not matter; or did not matter as much as the ideological conformity that the enforcers aimed to compel.

Can anyone honestly doubt that Esolen is on target? The tears shed by the politicians and media commentators over the Catholic Charities decision are crocodile tears, and it has to be tough for them to keep the grin off their faces as they see their main opponent knocked out of their path. For the innovators, it's simply another skirmish in the culture wars -- in respect of which Lenin reminded them that you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. The orphans, once again, are the broken eggs.

Reuters photo

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