Thursday, February 18, 2010

The end game

Once again, the battle for gay marriage has resulted in casualties (hat tip: Matt Archbold):

The Archdiocese of Washington's decision to drop its foster care program is the first casualty of the District of Columbia's pending same-sex marriage law that will obligate all outside contractors dealing with the city to recognize gay couples.

Its decision, posted late Tuesday on the archdiocese's Web site, announced that the archdiocese had ended its 80-year-old program Feb. 1, the day the city's contract expired with Catholic Charities, the church's social services arm.

"We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful," Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Ed Orzechowski said in a statement. "Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades. We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District." [...]

The Vatican has long opposed any church role in aiding homosexuals to adopt. In 2003, it said that placing children into same-sex households was "gravely immoral."

But with more states legalizing same-sex unions, the Washington Archdiocese is the third diocese in the country to leave the adoption/foster care business. The archdioceses of San Francisco and Boston, which had contracts with California and Massachusetts, respectively, ceased their programs in 2006 after each state legalized gay marriages and made it clear that the local Catholic Charities affiliate would have to work with homosexual couples. (California has since repealed its law allowing same-sex marriage.)

There is no doubt that gay activists will insist that it is the Archdiocese who is at fault here. Bill Donohue of the Catholic League addresses that here:

Archbishop Donald Wuerl is a man of principle and prudence: he did not want to end the foster-care program, but he was left with no realistic option. District lawmakers could have granted the kind of religious exemptions that would have ensured a continuation of services, but instead they sought to create a Catch-22 situation for the archdiocese. Surely they knew that Archbishop Wuerl was not going to negotiate Catholic Church teachings on marriage, yet that hardly mattered to them. The real losers are the children who were served by the Catholic Church.

Those who say that Wuerl is throwing the kids overboard are phonies. If Planned Parenthood were told that as a condition of public funding it had to refer Catholic women having second thoughts about abortion to a crisis pregnancy center, it would scream violation of church and state, refuse the money and end this program. Well, Archbishop Wuerl isn’t about to allow the state to run roughshod over Catholic doctrine, and that is why he is being forced to drop the foster-care program.

Just as a reminder for those who would say, "Well, but if the Church is going to accept state funds, then the Church has to place kids with gay couples, with swingers, with polygamists, or with anybody else the state thinks can handle kids!" the issue is not usually all about funding. Catholic Charities in Massachusetts stopped handling adoptions, for example, not because they couldn't get state funding, but because the state would not license them to handle adoptions unless they agreed to place children with homosexual couples.

Why does the Church oppose the adoption of children by couples living a lifestyle based on homosexual acts? From the Vatican document, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons":

Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involving a grave lack of respect for human dignity, does nothing to alter this inadequacy.

Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. 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.

In other words, it's wrong to make children pawns in a game of social experimentation. It's wrong to decide that a child doesn't need both a father and a mother, and that, further, he'll do just fine with two of one and none of the other. It's wrong to see heterosexual marriage as some sort of archaic oppressive social construct which fails in its connection to procreation to realize that people are just more sexually creative these days. It's wrong to see children as some sort of super-consumer product, all that's needed to give the stamp of domestic bliss to two men or two women who demand that their union, centered around gravely immoral acts, be called marriage.

And the Archdiocese, and indeed the Catholic Church, recognizes the gravity of this wrong and refuses to participate in it, especially when vulnerable children are being made the pawns in this kind of game. As secular society grows increasingly hostile to Catholic principles, though, the vast network of social aid that Catholics are responsible for creating and maintaining is going to be increasingly challenged. Those who wish for social change, especially gay rights activists, would like nothing better to drive not only Catholic adoptions, but Catholic hospitals, Catholic schools, and every other sort of Catholic institution or service (excepting only actual parishes, and if we didn't have the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion that exception wouldn't exist) out of business, as the price of their failing to accept the new secular sexual gospel that declares that that homosexual sex is the highest human good possible. That is the end game of the gay rights movement, and anyone who doubts that hasn't been paying attention.

UPDATE: Larry D has a great post about the potential harm of gay adoptions. Go read!


Larry Denninger said...

White martyrdom, here we come.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and then they'll forbid homeschooling, too.. for the same reasons as Germany. "The child is not the creature of the state" will be history. Back to the catacombs!

Scotch Meg

Anonymous said...

Divorcees or remarried who dare to go to Catholic mass - according to Maggie Gallagher earlier this week - the bishops plan to "cleanse" you from the Church next. When will they come for me?

Larry Denninger said...

Anon - divorcees and remarrieds are always allowed at Mass. But just as it is for any other Catholic, if you aren't in a state of grace, then you're obliged to not receive communion - for the well-being of your soul.

Now, as far as I know, being divorced does not put anyone in an automatic state of mortal sin. Remarrying without an annulment, however, creates a situation of adultery. With one caveat - if the remarried couple remains incontinent (no sex, living as brother and sister) and goes to confession, then reception of Holy Communion is permitted. I have a coworker in that situation. Is it easy? I'd have to say no - but is it worth it?

Well, it depends on how much importance one places on their salvation. Being a faithful Catholic is not an easy road.

The bishops aren't looking to "cleanse" the Church of sinners. They want to heal them so that they can find the narrow path and be saved.

eulogos said...

Larry D,

You mean, remain continent.

Susan Peterson

eulogos said...

I have just spent two evenings on my college alumni list serve being called names by unbelievers, liberal protestants, and even two liberal Catholics, for defending this action of the archdiocese.

One just is not allowed to say that there is anything wrong or pathological about homosexual orientation or actions. It really is the equivalent in people's minds of belonging to the KKK. And how evil and unloving to hurt the feelings of gay people by suggesting that they are not fit to adopt children! Jesus never, and I quote "stopped the motion of love." But the evil St. Paul and evil institutionalized religion completely distorted Jesus' "message of love".

And then there is the Irish scandal in the news again. So I am hearing, your priests are mostly gay, they hate themselves for it, so the whole institution externalizes this as homophobia.

The attitude is, "The Church is doing this to protect children? Yeah, right. They have shown so much concern for the protection of children in the past, haven't they, once they are born, at least."

Your friend the stupid and evil homophobe,
Susan Peterson

Carmela James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carmela James said...

Well put, Red Cardigan! Thank you for having the courage to stand up and say this!

The deleted comment above was me. I realized after I posted it that it wasn't clear whom I was addressing.

Anonymous said...

I love how anon on 02/19/10 @ 10:53a IMMEDIATELY went for the Nazi reference. No, it couldn't possibly be a genuine concern for the ability of the Church to enforce its own doctrine, no, it has to be latent fascistic homophobic hate.

Larry Denninger said...

eulogos - thanks for the catch!

Anonymous said...

Yep venerem. Like I often say, if I were ever to deliberately skip Mass without just cause, Swiss Guards are not going to kick in my door, drag me to church and tie me to a pew. It's a strictly voluntary association, and sticking around when you refuse to accept the creeds and practices of that association is as silly as an NAACP member insisting on staying a member even though he subscribes to the racial theories of David Duke.

As far as the homophobe charge, I just point out that just because I think eating used kitty litter is wrong, it doesn't mean I'm afraid of it.

BobN said...

Children are, indeed, being used as pawns in a political battle, but it is the Church doing the playing. I do not know if the DC archdiocese has ever placed a child with a same-sex couples (I suspect they have) but the SF and Boston diocese both did, for years and years. Not many children, of course, but some. And in SF, they did it with the express permission of Archbishop Levada, who now, having moved up to Rome, condemns exactly that which he previously condoned.

eulogos said...

I never really understood the choice of Levada.
Susan Peterson

Anonymous said...

Not many children, of course, but some. And in SF, they did it with the express permission of Archbishop Levada, who now, having moved up to Rome, condemns exactly that which he previously condoned.

What of it? He was wrong before, and he is right now. I'm not aware of any Church teaching (or common sense teaching for that matter) that says we are in error we are required to perpetually wallow in it.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I have a real problem with legislating "one size fits all" standards for any social program. I'm not totally opposed to any gay couple ever adopting a child or providing foster care. I think adoption by a stable gay couple may well be preferable to bouncing around the foster home system, and I'm not sure they couldn't be reasonably good foster parents. But, the diocese has a point, its principles have considerable potential to be beneficial, and most of all, there is no reason to demand full conformity on such a contentious and unresolved issue. Whatever happened to "Let 100 schools compete"? (Yes, even if one of those schools is founded on the doctrine of a church).

I wonder how much room there is for the diocese to offer PRIVATE foster care services. Does the government have a complete monopoly? What if parents who are not yet on a social worker's case load opt for church-sponsored foster care during a crisis? What if a child who is literally homeless knows that the church offers an option when the kid is ready to come in from the cold -- before they become a ward of the state? I hope this kind of creative solution will be pursued.

By the way "children are not creatures of the state" remains good law, if people know where to find it, cite it properly, and don't let it be de facto ignored by administrative laws.

The plaintiff even has a good Catholic name. It is those children who ARE in fact wards of the state most affected by this legislation.