I can only hope we are at the bottom of the slippery slope

By Leila Marie Lawler (articles ) | Oct 22, 2005

Diogenes dear, in May 2004 when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that homosexual couples could marry, a thought sprang to my mind, a parallel if you will.

I thought that 30 years ago if someone had shown us a vision of what we would be facing today in life issues we probably would have laughed. Killing all-but-born babies and cloning embryos – those were the bogeys the other side used to make us feel ridiculously hysterical. Now those very items top our agenda. Plain old garden variety first-trimester abortion is as worn and shabby in our sensibility as in vitro fertilization. So the first idea that pounded into me after the same-sex marriage ruling was this: what will our society look like 30 years down this road? What unimaginable situations will we be forced to live with as common occurrences then?

What about in a year?

The depression I experienced upon having this idea was mainly brought about by the certain knowledge that our Church leadership would do nothing – nay, would cooperate – to bring about whatever nightmare scenario looms. Nothing said by Bishop Reilly of Worcester, speaking for Massachusetts bishops (including the Archbishop) allayed my fears. On the contrary, Reilly was heard loud and clear by homosexuals in the state to endorse benefits for gays, and nothing in the subsequent attempts to align his comments (imprecisely stated as they were) with Church teachings changed that impression.

Actually, we’ve all gotten pretty used to the idea that Church teachings and Church doings are two completely different spheres. Years of well documented stories of Catholic hospitals hiring abortionists for their ob/gyn departments, dispensing contraceptives, and even performing abortions; mandated child abuse masked as sex education; and promotion of homosexual events in parish bulletins (at the very least of activities carried on in the parish) are pretty convincing that we don’t have to do as we say.

So today’s story in the Globe that Catholic Charities places children with gay couples can’t really cause surprise. Fr. Bryan Hehir, president, suggests that the intricate interplay between law and need renders the placements a necessity. I can’t recall ever hearing a plea from the pulpit for good Catholic families to step up to rescue children who might face the alternative of gay adoption. Nevertheless, Hehir seems convinced that the alternatives are gay adoption or nothing for these kids.

According to the Globe, the chairman of the board of Catholic Charities, Peter Meade, goes further: he thinks Catholic Charities should welcome same-sex couples for placement.

Here’s what the Vatican document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons says:

Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.

Every once in a while my nightmare is replaced by a dream in which the Archbishop bravely takes a stand, rejects his place of honor in a system that corrupts, and calls upon the faithful to back him up with an abundance of Christian charity.

In this dream he affirms all those struggling families in his dioceses by praising their witness to the truth about life and marriage through all these long decades and shows his trust in them by allowing them to help him run hospitals, schools, and charitable agencies according to authentic Catholic principles. As he does all this, he is astounded at how the state reacts, cringing with fear lest the archdiocese leave the care of all those orphans, sick people, and schoolchildren in the hands of the taxpayer.

Officials beg him to reconsider, and offer to allow him to implement his policies as he sees fit, without reference to laws that run counter to Church teachings. In fact, the witness of this brave man and his humble followers inspires even unbelievers to embrace the Lord.

I say a little prayer, and then I wake up.

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  • Posted by: Charlie887 - Oct. 25, 2005 4:20 PM ET USA

    I have learned that Catholic Charities does, indeed, allow single men and women to adopt children. They follow state guidelines on this. This means that Catholic Charities does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation when they decide whether or not an individual is qualified to adopt. "The Globe" reported that l.8 percent of Catholic Charities' adoptions over the past two decades were by same-sex couples. The number adopted by gay and lesiban singles was not mentioned by "The Globe."

  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2005 7:49 PM ET USA

    This is just one more example of how low my archdiocese has sunk. Is there a real difference between what Fr hehir is supporting and what the disgraced Fr Cuenin (sp?) was accused of doing in Our Lady Help of Christians Parish? Of course not; BUT Fr Hehir is an insider with epsicopal protectors at lake Street.

  • Posted by: Charlie887 - Oct. 23, 2005 10:03 PM ET USA

    Same-sex "couples" had no special legal status before same-sex marriage was legalized in 2004. Before then, how did Catholic Charities know two individuals who wanted to adopted a child were a bona fide homosexual couple, and not just pretending to be queer in order to get a child? Would Catholic Charities refuse to allow a single person to adopt? If so, can we conclude that proof of sinful homosexual behavior was a requirement for a same-sex couple to adopt? Was the Archbishop aware of this?

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 23, 2005 4:14 PM ET USA

    Great essay, Leila. I, too, keep praying for strong, holy, bold bishops; that they have the heart of The Shepherd (& that they stop looking for promotions within the episcopacy -- & maybe even turn down the "promotions" in order to selflessly serve the people in their own diocese, giving the people the Teachings of the Church in the fullness of the Faith, & the fullness of the Governing Spirit -- & I call these bishops millennials, but there's only about 50 in the entire USCCB so far...)

  • Posted by: Eleazar - Oct. 23, 2005 11:37 AM ET USA

    I cried when I read this essay, because this same abandonment of “Catholic” teaching on so many fronts has shaken my faith. Gil is correct, Catholic doctrine is not taught, but that does not excuse any of us from the hypocrisy that currently passes for American Catholicism. The Word is available, even if our pastors won’t teach it. I seriously doubt that any RICO suit will bring about the housecleaning that needs to occur. The only salvation for American Catholicism is conversion.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 23, 2005 11:02 AM ET USA

    The leadership of the U. S. church is paralyzed by fear that they might be labeled "intolerant," or --- worse yet --- "uncompassionate." The italicized words have been stolen by the left, just like the word "gay" -- which used to have an entirely different meaning, as in happy or joyous.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2005 11:10 PM ET USA

    Look at the bright side. Things are so bad in the Church and the world now that we are either on the eve of the Last Judgment or a true renewal. The night is always darkest, they say, before the dawn.

  • Posted by: opraem - Oct. 22, 2005 8:56 PM ET USA

    but you assume that catholic charities is actually 'catholic.' their employees aren't majority catholic, their clients aren't majority catholic, many do not practice catholic beliefs, so why do they deserve consideration as a 'catholic' organization? in california, several dioceses offer the full suite of 'reproductive services' because it helps them attract and retain staff. they do good work, but so does the salvation army.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2005 8:46 PM ET USA

    Federal prosecutors and RICO suits are dealing with church doings at variance with church teachings.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2005 7:49 PM ET USA

    The indigence or sheer unwillingness of the Catholic bishops to act is astounding. I wasn't aware that Catholic Charities is promoting adoption by homosexuals, and it is sad to hear of the same. I think that we are truly in a time which tests even the faith of the elect, not so much because Catholics of different ranks and stations are corrupt, but because of the enormity of the crimes perpertuated against women and children in abortion and now in perverted adoption.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2005 6:53 PM ET USA

    Precisely the right type of thinking, what will the world look like 30 years from now? I have Catholic children. How difficult will it be to LIVE as a Catholic at that time? Freedoms we take for granted are eroding as we speak, especially the freedom to believe the truth of Catholicism that sets so many people on edge from totalitarians, leftists, the media, to priests and bishops themselves who seem ashamed of our wonderful faith. Will our church become an underground church such as China?

  • Posted by: florentine - Oct. 22, 2005 4:19 PM ET USA

    Beautifully stated, Leila! I volunteered at Catholic Charities after Katrina... am a 2001 convert and had this idea to put together baskets to give to all the children... that would include, among other things, a rosary, Bible, maybe some prayers of the saints... OH NO! I was told... absolutely no proselytizing... nothing allowed that is "religion specific." The workers were very nice, but it was social work, not good works in the name of the Lord... the ultimate result of ANY govt. funding.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 22, 2005 3:32 PM ET USA

    May one suggest only one small correction to this excellent essay? Leila states: "Actually, we’ve all gotten pretty used to the idea that Church teachings and Church doings are two completely different spheres." Not really. Although "Church teachings" remain in musty documents, they are in fact not taught---in the sense of being preached from the pulpits or taught by the bishops in any form. When Humanae Vitae turned out to be dead on arrival, the grease was on the slope.