"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Massachusetts gay-adoption ruckus

On March 10, Catholic Charities of Boston, under pressure from Archbishop (now Cardinal) Sean O'Malley, announed it would no longer place children for adoption by same-sex couples. Until the Boston Globe broke the story a few weeks earlier, nobody had seemed to care that CCB had previously been complying with the state's anti-discrimination law by so placing such children; Massachusetts, you will remember, has same-sex "marriage." Since state authorities are refusing to budge, the Church in Massachusetts is now in the position of having to get out of the adoption business. Now this is something of a game of chicken, since the role of CCB in adoption placements is of great value to the Commonwealth, which would have to find a way to make up the shortfall if CCB withdrew. And, as the howls of outrage from liberals reverberate, nobody has yet quite driven over the cliff. A mutually acceptable compromise could be in the works.

Father Roger Landry, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish and executive editor of The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, has explained the situation well. Yet two things strike me as odd and sad about all this. What's odd and sad about it is typical of AmChurch.

First, the board of CCB seems not to have cared, even after the newspaper story, that its policy had been in direct violation of the teaching of the Church. In 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said:
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
Once the Massachusetts bishops decided to act accordingly, most of the CCB board resigned in protest, leaving a rump to comply. Their general attitudes and statements, not just on this matter, reveal that they are Catholic in name only. So why were they on the board in the first place?

Second, the bishops of Massachusetts seem not to have cared either until the newspaper story broke. I find that astounding. They didn't even care that the CCB board never cared that its policy was in direct violation of the teaching of the Church. Couple such indifference with the sex scandals that broke in 2002 and led to Cardinal Law's resignation 18 months later, along with the parish closings that shortages of priests and money have necessitated, and you can understand why even the true Catholic faithful of Massachusetts have not arisen en masse in the bishops' defense during this latest ruckus. What a sorry spectacle.

The Church in Massachusetts has taken some severe beatings of late. I'm sure God has good reason for permitting that. Perhaps now that O'Malley has stiffened his backbone and donned the red hat, the church over which he presides will regain some respect. There's nowhere to go but up.

Oops, I forgot L.A.
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