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For Boston's Catholic Archdiocese, kids in state care are better than kids "living in sin" with gay adoptive parents
March 11, 2006 4:38 AM   Subscribe

'This is a difficult and sad day for Catholic Charities," says a representative of the church, who announced their decision to stop helping all foster children find homes rather than allow any of them be adopted by gay parents. After one hundred three years of service, Catholic Charities of Boston is exiting the adoption assistance arena because state anti-discrimination laws force them to allow same-sex couples to adopt children (despite the fact that the church considers this to be a sin).

While adoptions in progress will not be affected, on or about June 30, the group that proffers a "just and compassionate society rooted in the dignity of all people" will make chrystal clear who is included in that definition of "all." (Of the 720 children placed in homes through CCAB, 13 of them were placed with "same-sex families" [sic].)
posted by andreaazure (98 comments total)

 
That's the honest thing for them to do. There are other agencies that won't have this particular hangup who may do more good.
posted by kalessin at 5:02 AM on March 11, 2006


How compassionate.
posted by caddis at 5:03 AM on March 11, 2006


Rather than being the honest thing for them to do, this strikes me as being political grandstanding directed at getting the legislature to craft an exception for them. In the process they forgot about the children. To me Jesus's teachings about compassion towards others always seemed to take precedence over teachings about personal moral responsibility.
posted by caddis at 5:07 AM on March 11, 2006


This is opportunist political bullshit, not honesty.
posted by wakko at 5:11 AM on March 11, 2006


I don't think it's Jesus' teachings that are in their minds, and the Catholic Church doesn't really base doctrine on what Jesus said or did.
posted by kalessin at 5:11 AM on March 11, 2006


See, the problem the Church has here is simple: since they've spent so many years covering up for the homosexual pedophiles they've given positions of authority and power they make the false assumption that all homosexuals are pedophiles.

"This is a difficult and sad day for Catholic Charities." I personally figure there were many much more sad days for Catholic Charities, all those days when their holy men were busy raping children. But apparently that doesn't count in the minds of the sanctimonious assholes running their racket. Good riddance, don't let the door hit you on the way out, and other dismissive terms of contempt for their evil and primitive minds.
posted by sotonohito at 5:12 AM on March 11, 2006


So basically the position of the Boston Catholic Church is that it is better not to have any parents at all than to have gay parents?
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:12 AM on March 11, 2006


No, its their position that its better for none of the children to have parents than for even a small percentage to have gay parents.
posted by caddis at 5:15 AM on March 11, 2006


I seem to have lost a few apostrophes. Did anyone find them?
posted by caddis at 5:20 AM on March 11, 2006


Praise Jesus? This is a good thing right? Right? Hello?
posted by damnitkage at 5:22 AM on March 11, 2006


Sotonohito said "I personally figure there were many much more sad days for Catholic Charities, all those days when their holy men were busy raping children. But apparently that doesn't count in the minds of the sanctimonious assholes running their racket. Good riddance, don't let the door hit you on the way out, and other dismissive terms of contempt for their evil and primitive minds."

So you would throw the baby out with the bath water? Catholic Charities has/had nothing to do with pedophile priests. I dare to say there would be pedophile priests with or without the existance of Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities Board of directors are just trying to follow the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church which frowns on being gay, and fears to this day that being gay is contageous, and would rather not expose children to the disease. At the risk of being flamed to hell, I would say that in their mind Catholic Charities is no different than the Boy Scouts or any other group that still believes that being gay is a choice, and that every homosexual is a sexual deviant who just can't keep their hands off of the "normals", and would love the opportunity to recruit children placed in their care.
posted by Gungho at 5:24 AM on March 11, 2006


Agency officials said they had been permitting gay adoptions to comply with the state's antidiscrimination laws. But after the story was published, the state's four bishops announced they would appoint a panel to examine whether the practice should continue. In December, the Catholic Charities board, which is dominated by lay people, voted unanimously to continue gay adoptions.

But, on Feb. 28, the four bishops announced a plan to seek an exemption from the antidiscrimination laws. Eight of the 42 board members quit in protest, saying the agency should welcome gays as adoptive parents.


1. Quiet and discreet is fine - but don't let the media find out.

2. Advisory boards are well & good - but of no import if hey disagree with the guys in the funny hats.

3. Lay catholics are as compassionate as the rest of americans - it's the leadership which ain't.

4. The leadership wants to game the system.

I would not be surprised if they were successful, given the support for Faith based Initiatives in the neo-theocratic States of America.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:25 AM on March 11, 2006


Smart blackmailing, isn't it ? We'll use the children interest against you..so that you will think that children welfare is somehow connected to some people being gay or straight.

So if you want to save the children you must not let them being adopted by the gheys who are known , as the communists, as children eaters !

Please forget that the greatest sexual deviants were formed by sex-repressing churches...also please forget that the world best known child abusers are priests.

Fuck such churches, now and forever.
posted by elpapacito at 5:26 AM on March 11, 2006


continued...

And being a private organization they can make that choice. On the other hand the State has its own choice, not to place children in their care prior to adoption if the organization continues to discriminate. The real issue here is whether or not the Governor can create legislation that ALLOWS discrimination.
posted by Gungho at 5:27 AM on March 11, 2006


'This is a difficult and sad day for Catholic Charities," Hehir said. 'We have been doing adoptions for more than 100 years.

And you could continue you rotten bastard ! It is absolutely OBVIOUS that you don't give a fuck about the abovesaid orphans, otherwise you wouldn't put their welfare as blackmail exchange token against a policy you don't like. You betray them in the classic catholic way !

I'm sorry for the kids, but I'm glad this is being exposed. It should be enshrined as an example of how some people help you only to later abuse you to further their agenda.
posted by elpapacito at 5:35 AM on March 11, 2006


Fear of teh Ghay makes folks do crazy things.
posted by moonbiter at 5:40 AM on March 11, 2006


Gungho: If they were really worried about homosexuality "harming children" I'd argue that the first, and most important, step is to stop hiring and covering up for priests who rape children. Until they've gotten that out of the way ANYTHING else they claim they are doing to protect children is hypocrisy of the highest order.

They are harming children by making it more difficult for adoption to take place and they are doing so by making the patently false claim that homosexual parents are somehow harmful for children. That alone is enough for me to give them a contemptuous dismissal. The fact that the larger organization they are part of has played an active role in harming children by covering up for people who rape children merely increases my contempt for their position, and reveals that they don't, really, care about children.

My essential point here is that its self evidently obvious that the Catholic Church does not care about children. If it did it would have turned its child rapists over to the authorities. If the Catholic Church cared about children it would abandon its anti-contraception stance, or at least stop lying about contraception, which is ensuring that many children in Africa lose one or both parents to AIDS. Since the Catholic Church, as demonstrated by its actions, does not care about children, its claim that it is shutting down its adoption service (harming children by making it more difficult for them to be adopted) because it cares about children is sanctimonious BS, and thus my earlier contemptuous dismissal.

I do not cut anyone slack because of their superstitions. They say the Big Man In the Sky hates faggots, so they can't let those evil faggots adopt. I call BS. Either you want to help children, or you don't. They don't, and I do not cut any slack for their superstitious "reasons" for chosing not to help children.
posted by sotonohito at 5:41 AM on March 11, 2006



Yes, this decision makes obvious sense. It is well documented that growing up in a Catholic household is far more healthy than growing up in a same-sex household.

*cough*
posted by fluffycreature at 6:06 AM on March 11, 2006


Practice what you preach.
posted by furtive at 6:27 AM on March 11, 2006


They can grandstand all they want -- they aren't going to get an exception (or if they do, it won't stand up for long in this state).

I'm curious to see what effect this has on CC's ability to raise money for their other operations in Massachusetts. While I wasn't giving them money before this happened, I sure as hell wouldn't give money to any group that pulled this kind of move.

(As an aside: can we be a little more careful with the tags? Certainly the words 'for' and 'all' aren't going to help categorize this post.)
posted by sriracha at 6:38 AM on March 11, 2006


I think that the Catholic church says that it's okay to love a member of your same sex as long as you don't act on it. So theoretically, two males could live together and consider themselves a couple as long as they didn't do the dirty. Therefore, Catholic Charities could have adopted a "don't ask, don't tell policy," in which the bishop could have just assumed that these couples were very, very close but never consumated their relationship.

Voila! Problem solved!
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:51 AM on March 11, 2006


Adoptive parents must be without Sin? How is that even possible?
posted by srboisvert at 7:02 AM on March 11, 2006


It strikes me as odd that any of you are surprised by this. Clearly the church has an agenda, and whether or not you agree with it, they're consistent in following it. You can argue the church's position on this, but you can't say this is unexpected.

Is it the policy stupid? Yes. Harmful to children, now that fewer of them will have parents (straight or otherwise)? Yes. Does the church have real issues of its own to address? Hell yes. Do the old men in funny hats reflect the voice of the people within? Hell no.

I'm pissed off. Disappointed. But not surprised.

Meanwhile, those of us who are part of this church need to work hard to be the change we want to see. I think it was one of those guys in a funny hat of all people, who encouraged the notion of "If you want peace, work for justice." Time for the damn church to make that happen from within.
posted by diastematic at 7:03 AM on March 11, 2006


I was in Boston last fall for a wedding, and was dismayed at the Catholic Church's blatant anti-gay marriage political meddling. Given that context, it seems to me that this is more about bringing political pressure for either special treatment or other changes in the law, rather than being true to church doctrine.
posted by TedW at 7:05 AM on March 11, 2006


It strikes me as odd that any of you are surprised by this.

Who is surprised?
posted by caddis at 7:09 AM on March 11, 2006


This is a new low for the Boston Archdiocese, so I was a bit surprised. Not shocked, but surprised.

I posted it not out of surprise, but rather out of a need to make sure people know all of the highlights (lowlights?) of the Church leaderships' hypocrisy.
posted by andreaazure at 7:14 AM on March 11, 2006


I'm glad I'm not Catholic.
posted by matty at 7:15 AM on March 11, 2006


I take solace in the fact that these scumbags who like to call themselves Christians, no matter how hard they tried haven't been able to find one single word against teh fags pronounced by Jesus in the Gospels*

Jesus actually based his mesage on including the outcast of society in one's company, in one's family so to speak, breaking bread with sinners, tax collectors (in an occupied land like Palestine they were the worst offenders evar, they were the collaborators of the enemy, the invader's finks), adulterers.

denying an abandoned child a good family because of one's anti-gay stance is... well, let's hear it from the man these people pretend to worship:
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'


"One of these least brothers of mine", Archbishop O'Malley. Listen to your King, for once.



* Jesus instead had very staunch pronouncements against divorce: the reason of course being that men would divorce (ie dump) their wives, leaving them with no financial support and no job skills in conditions of abject poverty. hence, Jesus was against divorce to protect the weaker party, ie the women. but no word against teh fags, alas. maybe God doesn't really hate them, who knows
posted by matteo at 7:18 AM on March 11, 2006


Matteo, I think I love you.
posted by S.C. at 7:45 AM on March 11, 2006


I'd like the Bishop to ask one of the kids up for adoption what they'd like. A kid living in a sterile orphanage or bouncing around foster homes, wouldn't they rather have the stability of a single loving household?
posted by 45moore45 at 7:59 AM on March 11, 2006


Thanks for the outstanding comment, matteo.
posted by sequential at 8:18 AM on March 11, 2006


Here's the place in the Bible that talk about gays. (Maybe there's more than one, but this is the only one I've come across in my reading.)

Leviticus 18:22:
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Okay, that seems pretty unambiguous, right? Right. Let's see what else Leviticus tells us.

On childbirth (Leviticus 12). A woman, after giving birth, should be isolated for some number of days (different depending on whether it's a boy or a girl). Then:
6: And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
7: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
8: And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
On dining (Leviticus 11):
9: These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10: And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12: Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
The first third or so of Leviticus is a set of very detailed instructions about how and when priests are supposed to perform animal sacrifices. Here's one example, on what a priest should do to repent for sinning (Leviticus 4):
3: If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.
4: And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.
5: And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:
6: And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the vail of the sanctuary.
It goes on, but you get the idea.

So, to summarize:

The same part of the Bible that bans gay sex also bans eating shellfish. The Catholic Church should start organizing its members to go picket the local Red Lobster any day now, yes? Death threats for all shrimp trawler captains! You'll notice that the prohibition on shellfish is stated not once, not twice, but three times.

The same part of the Bible that bans gay sex mandates that new mothers must bring animals to their local priests to be sacrificed. Mmm hmm. I see that happening at my neighborhood Catholic church all the time.

The same part of the Bible that bans gay sex says priests who have sinned must slaughter a live bull and sprinkle its blood around in church. How much cow blood do you suppose was spilled after the molestation scandals?

I wonder how Catholics justify in their own minds ignoring one part of their holy book while working themselves up with self-righteous fury over the fact that non-Catholics ignore nearby parts of the same holy book.
posted by koreth at 8:39 AM on March 11, 2006


The priests and nuns of the Catholic church constitute the largest same sex families in the United States. Who are they to judge? The fact that they are homophobic, constitutes evidence of guilt, and in fact, is a form of flagellation, even more family fun. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
posted by Oyéah at 8:40 AM on March 11, 2006


So this is the RPEUBLICAN 2006 gay hate agenda then?
posted by Artw at 8:57 AM on March 11, 2006


I'm curious to see what effect this has on CC's ability to raise money for their other operations in Massachusetts. While I wasn't giving them money before this happened, I sure as hell wouldn't give money to any group that pulled this kind of move.

Money was/is an issue --

Bishops' Gay Ban May Cost Millions
"The decision by the state's Catholic bishops to seek to exclude gays and lesbians from adopting through Catholic social service agencies could imperil millions of dollars in donations from corporations and philanthropies that have their own nondiscrimination policies to abide by.

'It's definitely a concern,' said Jeff Bellows, a spokesman for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, which was the largest private donor to Catholic Charities of Boston last year with a gift of $1.2 million. 'We have an antidiscrimination policy in accordance with the law and to protect the freedom of all citizens, especially the most vulnerable.'

If the bishops halt gay adoptions by Catholic Charities, the United Way board will seriously review continued funding, said Bellows. Like many of today's philanthropic groups, United Way requires affiliated agencies to sign pacts that they will be open to accepting everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, among other factors."
[Boston Globe | March 5, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:14 AM on March 11, 2006


So this is the RPEUBLICAN 2006 gay hate agenda then?

Republicans are seeking to make gay adoption a 'wedge issue' for this year's mid-term elections.

However, anti-gay adoption legislation appears to be "faltering" across the country: "Gay rights activists expected there could be proposed anti-gay adoption bans this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, as well as Ohio. But so far this year, at least, only Ohio has seen a bill introduced in the state legislature that would ban gay and lesbian people from adopting children. And even there, the bill looks headed for defeat."
posted by ericb at 9:16 AM on March 11, 2006


The Catholic Church should start organizing its members to go picket the local Red Lobster any day now, yes?

GodHatesShrimp.com


posted by ericb at 9:19 AM on March 11, 2006


I wonder how Catholics justify in their own minds ignoring one part of their holy book while working themselves up with self-righteous fury over the fact that non-Catholics ignore nearby parts of the same holy book.

It's not like the average believer analysis. The people driving the cattle set the agenda. The followers just say moo.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:22 AM on March 11, 2006


It's not like the average believer analyzes anything.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:24 AM on March 11, 2006


Actually Mr_Zero, in my experience, the average Catholic tends to ignore the people in funny hats when it suits them. I know five Catholics [1], and all of them use contraception (one is a gynocologist who not only issues contraception, but also performs surgery to make women sterile). My earlier rant was on the subject of the Church as a whole, not the individual members.

The topic of gay adoption has only come up with a couple of my Catholic friends, but based on those conversations I'd be willing to bet they will be dissapointed with the Boston diocese for its decision.

The problem is that the individual members seem willing to simply silently ignore the crazy people at the top instead of vocally reminding the crazy people that they depend on the average members for their livelihood. None of my Catholic friends, for example, has even considered witholding their tithes until the Church adopts a more sane policy towards contraception, much less considered organizing their fellow Catholics to aggitate for change.

[1] Catholics aren't that common in Amarillo, TX.
posted by sotonohito at 9:56 AM on March 11, 2006


With legal abortion, there are fewer orphans. The moral justification of that is unclear, but it is a fact.
posted by stbalbach at 9:57 AM on March 11, 2006


Koreth - while lots of fundies like to quote the OT on the gay issue, for most Christian religions it has more to do with Paul's writings than the Jewish laws. In fact, it was Paul who insisted the old laws - beyond the commandments - didn't apply anymore. It's only ignorant Christians who quote Leviticus with regard to homosexuality. (See: Fred Phelps.)

Also, most anti-gay religious leaders will tell you that while Christ did indeed slum with the whores, tax collectors and general sinners, they were all expected to give up said sinful lives and repent. Any gay is more than welcome in the church if he/she gives up that fabulous lifestyle. (This argument doesn't hold much water for me, but that's the most common answer to WWJD about teh gay?)
posted by Banky_Edwards at 9:59 AM on March 11, 2006


Revised New Testament:

"Let only they who are without sin adopt the children ..."

Well, come on, someone step up ....
posted by hank at 10:13 AM on March 11, 2006


Figgered we ought to level the playing field before we get much further: please don't associate "Catholic" with "Republican," or with any other party for that matter -- it's small thinking and certainly not a constructive way to start (or end) the conversation.

Although it's easy to paint all Catholics as one and the same, as as a group they've voted for every lage-scale election winner for the past 30 years -- Clinton and Bush included.

Funnily enough, I refuse to defend those election choices beause, well, hey, I never vote for winners (how ironic)...but we won't get anywhere if we're starting with hollow assumptions.
posted by diastematic at 10:35 AM on March 11, 2006


The state is free to pass legislation that prevents discrimination against gays in adoption, and the church has the right to pull out of the adoption business if the legislation forces it into conflict with its principles. So what are y'all complaining about?
posted by Krrrlson at 10:40 AM on March 11, 2006


I did some temp work for Catholic Charities in California a number of years ago, and I don't think I've ever met a nicer batch of people. It was a genuinely happy workplace, something you don't often see.

I was taken aback by this declaration; that doesn't sound at all like the CC that I'm (slightly) familiar with. What dash_slot said up yonder makes a lot of sense to me. The people actually in the organization and doing the work are likely horrified by this; it's the priests making this decree, not the laity.

(Just FYI, I'm not even vaguely religious, and particularly not Catholic.... and I still liked them a lot.)
posted by Malor at 10:40 AM on March 11, 2006


godhateshotlinkers.com
posted by 2sheets at 11:00 AM on March 11, 2006


Don't let the door hit you on your pompous, bigoted asses! Also, die you dinosaurs.
posted by squirrel at 11:03 AM on March 11, 2006


Isn't this about the point that they can just give up pretending they give the slightest damn about what Jesus said?

If you actually think this is a rational, moral, Christian decision... just give up. You don't have the slightest clue what your religion is about.
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:06 AM on March 11, 2006


BUT THE KIDS MIGHT GROW UP TO BE TEH GHEY!!! THINK ABOUT TEH CHILDRENS!
posted by thefreek at 11:11 AM on March 11, 2006


The Catholic Church isn't against being gay per se (or at least it wasn't up until this latest Pope felt the need to ban gay men from the priesthood and call them names). It is categorically against sex that is not for the purposes of procreations. So being gay= perfectly fine, being in a couple and having gay sex= wrong. I'm betting that Catholic Services has had the same issues placing kids with unmarried couples or single people in the past.

I also imagine that the Services people have no problem placing the kids but the'ye stuck between the law and some grandstanding jackass in the church. Lets assign blame only where it's due.
posted by fshgrl at 12:10 PM on March 11, 2006


fshgrl, alas, you are incorrect. Essentially, the Catholic Church views homosexuality as a sickness, on the same level as leprosy. They do not want to place chjldren with lepers because they fear that they will be infected.
posted by Cassford at 12:57 PM on March 11, 2006


Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

I take this passage very seriously. That's why I'm a lesbian. God told me it was right!
posted by Hildegarde at 1:39 PM on March 11, 2006


Romney Vows to OK Exemption: Pols Gird for Fight
"Calling state laws that led Catholic Charities to cease all adoption services to avoid serving same-sex couples 'deeply disturbing and a threat to religious freedom,' Gov. Mitt Romney vowed to file a bill exempting religious groups from the gay-adoption requirement.

Romney, in Memphis, Tenn., to address GOP activists at the Southern Regional Leadership Conference as he weighs a White House run, called it 'a sad day for neglected and abandoned children.'

'It’s a mistake for our laws to put the rights of adults over the needs of children,' Romney said in a written statement.

Romney’s bill would create a legal waiver from state nondiscrimination laws so religious organizations could exclude gay couples from adoptions they arrange. But lawmakers promised a fight.

Senate President Robert E. Travaglini 'feels that anti-discrimination laws are very clear, and there has been nothing to suggest that there has been a problem with these adoptions,' said his spokeswoman, Ann Dufresne. 'There will be very little support in the Senate (for Romney’s bill).'"
[Boston Herald | March 11, 2006]
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2006


Hildegarde wins.
posted by andreaazure at 1:56 PM on March 11, 2006


Yo butt aint made fo that!
posted by lemonfridge at 3:05 PM on March 11, 2006


Thoise of you scolding the Catholic Charities for being grandstanding hypocrites may want to re-read the excerpts dash_slot posted above. I'm adding similar but not identical emphasis here:

Agency officials said they had been permitting gay adoptions to comply with the state's antidiscrimination laws. But after the story was published, the state's four bishops announced they would appoint a panel to examine whether the practice should continue. In December, the Catholic Charities board, which is dominated by lay people, voted unanimously to continue gay adoptions.

But, on Feb. 28, the four bishops announced a plan to seek an exemption from the antidiscrimination laws. Eight of the 42 board members quit in protest, saying the agency should welcome gays as adoptive parents.


Oh, and this:

Despite the board's sentiment, the decision upset some Catholics yesterday. Some were angry at Catholic Charities for giving up the fight for an exemption on religious grounds.

So all 42 members of the CC board were complying with state laws. The bishops were the ones who tried to get an exemption. And 8 of the 42 members of the board quit in protest. I'm willing to believe that the board members of the charities acted honestly and fairly.

The bishops can go fuck themselves.
posted by rosemere at 3:17 PM on March 11, 2006


Why is this a controversial decision? Lay off the Catholics. Freedom of religion, no?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:23 PM on March 11, 2006


Well, yes, and freedom to criticise and draw attention to discriminatory behaviour. Working as intended.
posted by terpsichoria at 3:29 PM on March 11, 2006


For anyone interested in delving into the true beginnings of the doctrine professed by the Catholic Church (and other religions, as well), you'd be interested in the book "Sacred Origins of Profound Things" by Charles Panati. One of the interesting issues he brought to light was that, as previously stated, the Church is more concerned with the "spillage of seed" from man/man love, but no where does it state woman/woman love is banned. So perhaps lesbians can adopt, but homosexual men cannot? Hildegarde was right!
posted by annieb at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2006


Why is this a controversial decision?

Because Christ didn't teach that you should preserve your own thin, brittle veneer of moral superiority by deciding not to help people. Because their decision is uncharitable and unchristian. Because they're acting like the pharisees that Christ railed against.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:50 PM on March 11, 2006


fshgrl, alas, you are incorrect. Essentially, the Catholic Church views homosexuality as a sickness, on the same level as leprosy. They do not want to place chjldren with lepers because they fear that they will be infected.

That's new, with the new Pope who does indeed hate and fear teh gay. Luckily he's very old. Ratsinger is a famously right wing reactionary.
posted by fshgrl at 4:13 PM on March 11, 2006


One thing to bear in mind is that Catholic Charity workers are not necessarily Catholic. This is the equivalent of a CEO decision that the people who are actually in the frontlines, doing the work, may not agree with.

That said, remind me why we're supposed to be all tolerant of religion again?
posted by Sparx at 4:18 PM on March 11, 2006


Freedom of religion, no?

Which goes hand in hand with the freedom of speech to call out bigots and hypocrites.
posted by 2sheets at 4:55 PM on March 11, 2006


Look. i'm not Catholic. I don't want to be Catholic. I don't think you should be Catholic--bad idea. But criticizing this is tantamount to criticizing the Catholic Church for being. Which would make you anti-Catholic.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:31 PM on March 11, 2006


criticizing this is tantamount to criticizing the Catholic Church for being

No, it's criticizing the Archdiocese of Boston for its decisions.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:36 PM on March 11, 2006


I'm Catholic. I'm okay with criticizing the church. ParisParamus, I hereby give you a dispensation to also criticize the Catholic church. And The Archdiocese of Boston. Go ahead--it will make you feel a lot better to get it off your chest.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:14 PM on March 11, 2006


It's fair to call out a church, any church, for moral positions you personally find objectionable. And it's especially fair to call out the bishops of this church for trying to get an exemption from state law.
posted by rosemere at 7:03 PM on March 11, 2006


Oh oh -- I'm a baptized Catholic! What was I thinking?

*poof*
posted by rosemere at 7:04 PM on March 11, 2006


Catholic here. This is an endlessly sad, stupid decision.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:14 PM on March 11, 2006


Which would make you anti-Catholic.

In the same way that criticizing the Chinese government for human rights abuses automatically makes you anti-Chinese? No?
posted by Chanther at 7:17 PM on March 11, 2006


No, because you are not forced to be Catholic. And a religion is not a secular government. Analogously, its like saying, "Jews, stop rejecting Christ." Catholics, by definition, need to follow the Pope's teachings, else they cease following Catholic teachings. And if the Catholic church thinks its improper for a gay couple to raise a child, you're either Catholic, OR you support adoption rights for gays--but not both!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:49 PM on March 11, 2006


The problem is that the individual members seem willing to simply silently ignore the crazy people at the top instead of vocally reminding the crazy people that they depend on the average members for their livelihood.

Given the top-down patriarchal nature of the Catholic Church and the extreme orthodoxy in places where the church is a vibrant, growing entity, how useful do you think that this would really be? As I recall, every fundamental shift in church doctrine has come from within, not from parishoners (disgruntled as they may be from era to era) but from Catholic clergy who put their foot down and said "Hey, waaaaaait a minute here!" with varied levels of success and impact. (Were pre-Vatican II Catholics really clamoring for meat on Fridays? That's always struck me as a bone being thrown to cover up the fact that the essential structure of the church was not changing one whit to keep up with - or remain relevant in - Western societies that were evolving at the speed of light.)

Given that only the most devout of the most devout are joining the RCC clergy these days, it doesn't seem likely that there's going to be a shakeup of teaching on these "everyday life" issues any time soon. People who want to turn doctrine on their head aren't going to become priests (or cannot become priests thanks to their pesky uteri) in great enough numbers to band together, let alone speak with a voice unifed enough or loud enough to be heard in Rome.
posted by Dreama at 8:03 PM on March 11, 2006


you're either Catholic, OR you support adoption rights for gays--but not both!

"In December, the Catholic Charities board, which is dominated by lay people, voted unanimously to continue gay adoptions....But, on Feb. 28, the four bishops announced a plan to seek an exemption from the antidiscrimination laws. Eight of the 42 board members quit in protest, saying the agency should welcome gays as adoptive parents." [Boston Globe]"

I know of 42 Boston Catholics who consider this a false statement.
posted by ericb at 8:22 PM on March 11, 2006


It seems you can support gay adoption and be a practising Catholic.
posted by ericb at 8:23 PM on March 11, 2006


By that way of thinking I guess you can't be a Catholic and use contraceptives, right?
posted by ericb at 8:24 PM on March 11, 2006


you're either Catholic, OR you support adoption rights for gays--but not both!

You're either a Catholic priest or you support illegal sex with children--but not both!

Riiiight!
posted by ericb at 8:34 PM on March 11, 2006


And if the Catholic church thinks its improper for a gay couple to raise a child, you're either Catholic, OR you support adoption rights for gays--but not both!

You don't know many Catholics, do you, PP? The pope may say birth control, or gaybos with kids or meat on Fridays, is a sin but not every sheep in the flock follows along. (Try googling "cafeteria Catholics." And "liberation theology," which still exists, despite the best efforts of JPII.) Sure, there's an ultra-conservative element in the church that despises said laxity but that element is very much in the minority. They've enjoyed disproportionate attention recently, as part of the political fundie-fest, but Catholics generally don't go for the rigid and inflexible. The historical papist slur distorts outsiders' view. For the general laity, the signature quality of Catholicism is not a thundering voice from Rome but forgiveness. That's true for me (2006 flaming liberal, aka 2000 centrist) as well as my parents (2004 Bushites grown very, very quiet). Our shared faith is one of the things that's kept us close, despite our many-faceted differences.

So might I suggest you refrain from commenting on church doctrine or practice? Since you clearly know fuck-all about it, we'd all be better off.
posted by vetiver at 8:39 PM on March 11, 2006


you're either Catholic, OR you support adoption rights for gays--but not both!
posted by ParisParamus


With all due respect, Paris Paramus, who in the fuck are you to define what a Catholic is?
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:58 PM on March 11, 2006


No offense taken. But the pope defines what organizations of the Catholic Church shall and shall not do, n'est-ce pas?

WHY CAN'T ANOTHER AGENCY NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE RCC take over? Why can't Roman Catholics who disagree form another agency? But If I understand correctly, your asking a RCC-affiliated agency to stop being an RCC agency. That's just quixotic.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:05 PM on March 11, 2006


Take over what? The adoption process, as permitted by state law? I sure as hell hope one does, and I don't think anyone else in this thread opposes that, so I don't know why you're shouting.

Roman Catholics who disagree can form another agency, and I hope they do. See above.

Yes, we're asking a RCC affiliated agency to, you know, OBEY STATE LAW.
posted by rosemere at 9:14 PM on March 11, 2006


(Crap! Clicked the wrong button before finishing the edit.) That should read:

Roman Catholics who disagree with the bishops can form another agency, and I hope they do. See above.
posted by rosemere at 9:15 PM on March 11, 2006


I'd assume children also have a higher chance of being molested if adopted by same-sex parents. A kid doesn't need to grow up with a bunch of homos around, let's be serious here people. Cut the political stint and wake up.
posted by AMWKE at 12:00 AM on March 12, 2006


AMWKE: Why do they have a higher chance?
posted by Malor at 12:17 AM on March 12, 2006


Actually, AMWKE, kids in mixed-gender homes stand a greater risk of molestation. The vast majority of child molesters are heterosexual.

The real problem with gays adopting is the deep rooted fear of the likely result of straight boys growing up with a strong sense of fashion. It is already well known that boys raised by gay fathers are no more likely to be gay than any other boys. They are, however, more likely to know how to dress smartly.
posted by Goofyy at 3:16 AM on March 12, 2006


PP, AMWKE: Clearly, you'll never understand us. But fear not teh ghey, because while we are contagious we really will try our best to make sure you don't catch "teh ghey."

Ahem.

Some people make themselves feel better by putting others under them. As far as I can tell, this has always been the case.
posted by andreaazure at 5:23 AM on March 12, 2006


"PP, AMWKE: Clearly, you'll never understand us."

Just because you have company, doesn't mean you're not in denial.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:40 AM on March 12, 2006


Ignore the turd.
posted by squirrel at 9:11 AM on March 12, 2006


The vast majority of child molesters are heterosexual.

"...[T]he ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1." -- National Center for Biotechnology Information | U.S. National Library of Medicine.
posted by ericb at 9:35 AM on March 12, 2006


Isn't this about the point that they can just give up pretending they give the slightest damn about what Jesus said?

As a total outsider to the religion it's always seemed to me that catholics have no interest in Jesus at all, they seem to be much more interested in & worshipful of Mary & the pope.

Just because you have company, doesn't mean you're not in denial.

Nice bit of projection.
posted by zarah at 10:08 AM on March 12, 2006


I can't believe people bit on AMWKE's obvious troll-bait.

And seriously, the Catholics who don't agree with what their leadership decrees: SPLIT ALREADY. Make yourself a religion that people like you can belong to without being hypocrites.

Follow what Jesus said, not what the Pope and the dinosaur bishops say. It's supposed to really be about the J-man, right? Right?

Take your money, your participation, and your goodwill, and form the Catholesque Church (or whatever you want to call it).
posted by beth at 11:19 AM on March 12, 2006


ParisParamus would be right with a slight restatement. Let's take it out of the realm of the personal and say: You cannot be the Catholic Church (or a representative institution thereof) and permit gay couples to adopt children. Quite simply, it would be philosophically contradictory to comply with this law -- and, say what you like against the Catholic church, it values philosophical consistency.

How its clergy and members live up to the church's moral strictures is another matter--hell, a hefty proportion of the clergy is gay, and it's not a secret--but that has close to nothing to do with the principle at stake. You all seem to disagree with the church's decision, but very few of you seem to understand it. The church's problem is not with homosexuality per se, but with sexuality. In order to give its blessing to homosexual unions, it would have to radically revise its teaching about sexuality more generally. (As someone has already noted, according to church teaching the only licit sex is between a husband and wife who accept the possibility that their knocking of boots will result in procreation.)

I know many of you want to make this into a case of Ratzinger & Co. handing out pink triangles, but it's just not so. Others of you love opportunities like this to prove what brave little Voltaires you are -- or, more absurdly, what better Christians you are than the papists. Christ, give it a rest. What the split over this decision shows is that the Catholic church, like so many institutions in America, is being riven by the culture wars. You're just the peanut gallery.
posted by Rutherford B. Hatch at 4:27 AM on March 13, 2006


Take your money, your participation, and your goodwill, and form the Catholesque Church (or whatever you want to call it).

I's called the Church of England.
posted by caddis at 7:21 AM on March 13, 2006


Quite simply, it would be philosophically contradictory to comply with this law -- and, say what you like against the Catholic church, it values philosophical consistency.


Yet warehousing orphans in an orphanage versus seeking new parents is not philosophically contradictory? Come on now. The Catholic Church was faced with what it perceived as two evils between which a choice came due. They showed their true colors in making the choice.
posted by caddis at 7:26 AM on March 13, 2006


Yes, Caddis, the hierarchy did show its true colors -- standing behind a deeply held belief about the fundamental nature of human life -- namely, its conception of sexuality -- in the face of cheap moralizing by people who hold an opposing view. (Reread the comments here -- I mean, chea-eap.)

I'm guessing that you regard the church's teaching on sexuality as humbug. That makes two of us. So let's not pretend either of us need worry what the Vatican says or does to proscribe gay love. Let's also not pretend that gay couples have no other option to adopt but through Catholic Charities. What exactly, then, is our objection to an exception for Catholic Charities so it can continue to play this putatively vital humanitarian role?
posted by Rutherford B. Hatch at 12:13 PM on March 13, 2006


My point was not about whether an exception should be made, but rather about the choice the Catholic Church made. They were faced with a conflict. On the one hand there is compassion and how they treat others, in this case children entrusted into their care with the expectation that the Church would actively seek adoptive parents for these children. On the other hand they have their opposition to homosexuality. They showed that their adherence to dogma outweighs their compassion toward the children. Perhaps it is for the best as more compassionate agencies can step in to fill the void left by Catholic Charities in this area.
posted by caddis at 12:43 PM on March 13, 2006


Let's see: How exactly can you say the Catholic hierarchy is sacrificing "compassion" to its beliefs about homosexuality--and not say the same thing about the Massachusetts legislature and all who support the nondiscrimination law? I mean, was there ever any question that this law would culminate in a point of coercion? Was there ever a doubt that the hierarchy would refuse to be coerced?

Keep passing asinine laws like this, all the while keening, "What about the children?" Next you'll be wondering why a majority of Catholics voters keep reelecting wingers.
posted by Rutherford B. Hatch at 2:34 PM on March 13, 2006


"Nearly a half-century ago, John Kennedy challenged bias against the Catholic Church. Now, [Governor Mitt] Romney is defending bias from the Catholic Church. Romney works for all the people of Massachusetts. It is a shame to see him doing exactly what Kennedy forswore nearly a half-century ago: accepting instructions on public policy from the pope." [Boston Globe | March 14, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:43 PM on March 14, 2006


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