Massachusetts to Catholics: No exemption

Massachusetts to Catholics: No exemption

Looks like Massachusetts’ bishops aren’t going to get that exemption. They were seeking an exemption for Catholic organizations from a state law that requires adoption agencies allow gays and lesbians to adopt. Previously, Catholic Charities of Boston, at least, was facilitating such adoptions, until three months ago when the bishops decided to form a committee to decide how to get in compliance with the Vatican’s directive that gay adoption does spiritual violence to children.

But now Gov. Mitt Romney says he has no power to grant such an exemption and legislative leaders say they can’t be bothered to legislate one. So much for the once powerful Catholic Church in Massachusetts, all frittered away in the past four years. There was a time when such an exemption would be granted as a matter of course, or the law itself would not have been passed. No longer.

So now here’s a fine quandary for the bishops. Who do they obey: God’s law or man’s?

Some will say, how can we let a few gay adoptions stop all the good adoptions? shall we sacrifice a few children on the altar of political correctness? You may not do evil that good may result. The ends do not justify the means. These are the most basic precepts of Catholic moral principles. Will the bishops order Catholic Charities to end participation in adoptions?

Even more relevant, will Catholic Charities listen? And if they don’t, what will the bishops do about it?

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18 comments
  • I’m no lawyer so I’m not sure what the result would be, but if I were making decisions for Catholic Charities, I would tell them to go about their adoption work, turn down homosexuals who seek to adopt children from the agency, and then let them and/or the state government do the dirty work of dragging them into court and put the onus on them for creating a gay police state that trashes freedom of religion.
      According to most histories taking care for the well being of orphans-as the Church defines well-being- has been a work of the Church for 2,000 or so years. So to make a condition that a religion must go against its basic morality to get a state license to do this work or be prosecuted in a court of law for doing this work is nothing short of the type government attitude toward religion that formerly existed in Communist countries.

  • Why do this piecemeal . . . and allow the progressives to tell the Church what it can and cannot do one immoral event after the next?  Leverage exists if the Church legitimately threatened to shut down all adoptions and every Catholic hospital so that the Church is not an accomplice and so that good Catholics are not placed in immoral situations (dr.‘s pharmacists, and adoption service providers)!  I know it seems naive, but they do not have all of the power.  It’s time to stop being pushed around for our beliefs and to start using our power for the better good.

  • My money is on this:  nothing.  And you can take that to the bank.

    The situation in many dioceses is getting closer to that of China.  Bishops must recognize the will of the State as superior to that of the Universal Church.  And if they fail to heed the will of the State, then they will have laws passed against them to bring them in line.

    It’s about time that Bishop O’Malley grows a spine and tells Romney and all of his minions to go directly to Hell.  These are desparate times.  We don’t need weak willed Bishops.  We need courageous leaders.

  • First, Deacon Breshnahan, I’m with you.  Let the state drag us into court.

    But am I missing something?

    Is there nobody else, no other organization, no private venture that either already exists or that could well come into being, who will do the adoption placements as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts wants them done?

    C’mon, do the math.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts contracts with Catholic Charities to do certain work.  If Catholic Charities is conflicted about doing it, and if they relinquish their “market share,” then someone else will come along to fill the void.

    It’s not a question of whether we cooperate in evil so that all the orphans don’t languish forever in foster care; it’s a question of whether we willingly sign a contract whose provisions are onerous to us.

  • I don’t know for sure anymore but when I worked in foster care, once the children – mostly because the parental rights had not been severed while infants – were of a certain age they were no longer wanted for adoption.  People wanted then and still do, babies.  Once a child has been in foster care and has lived often in a few different homes they have some emotional or behavioral problems.  They don’t bond well and people do not want children with problems they feel ill equipped to handle.  God bless those foster families who carry on with patience and understanding.  But I remember cases where there were absolutely no places for new children that the state had removed.  That is where the gay and lesbian folks have moved in and taken some young unwanted children and the agencies began allowing this due to need.  But … I wonder if the older child, if he or she should speak out against going into such a home, whether he/she will be forced to go.  I’m wondering too if natural parents’ wishes will be held to if they wish their children to be raised in the Catholic faith.  By the time these kids reached the teen years they had run away so often or gotten into trouble that group homes became the answer.  This was more often with the state care than Catholic Charities since their clients were different.  For the children’s sake the bishops will have to get tough and risk whatever it takes – we’ve, I’m afraid, reached those predicted times of persecution for beliefs.

  • As a current foster/adoptive parent, my husband and I attempted to go through Catholic Social Services to adopt, and were met with such red tape and administrative nonsense BEFORE WE HAD EVEN APPLIED that we decided to go through another agency.  Here in Arizona, there are at least 15 different agencies that facilitate adoptions.  I can only imagine in Massachusetts there are plenty more.  Let them handle the job.  Or like the Deacon said, let Catholic Charities do it God’s way while others duke it out in courts.

    The entire system needs a major overhaul…but what doesn’t these days?

  • Isn’t the entire issue about receiving state money?

    They don’t have to give kids to GLBT couples if they don’t accept state money.

    It would be cheaper to reject the state money, than it would to duke it out in courts.

    Adoption in the USA is a big money business.  It’s all about jobs and grants…

    When you get down to it, it all about $$$$.

    Am I not correct?

  • They need to just tell the state no and tell them to repent.  Just ignore the law.  If they take the license, not our problem.  Imagine the headlines: state opposed adoption!  St. Ambrose, pray for us!

  • Dom – yes, but it’s about the money in the long run.

    If Catholic Charities doesn’t kowtow to the gay agenda, they don’t get a license.

    If they don’t have a license, they don’t get to do the (lucrative?) adoption business.

    My question is, what does the money made by Catholic Charities on adoptions go to support, because THAT’s why they can’t afford to let adoptions go.

  • I doubt there’s all that much money in it. They did 720 adoptions over the past 20 years. That’s about 36 per year. How much does the agency make on an adoption after all the paperwork and legal fees?

  • Not much, I’d say.  If that’s all they’re doing each year, in the entire state of Massachusetts, then they should just get out of the business altogether.

  • Father Jim, I suspect that the answer is that Catholic Charities’ caseworkers believe that it is better to place the hard-to-adopt, generally older, and often physically, mentally or emotionally damged children in adoptive homes rather than have them remain wards of the foster care system.  This judgment may well be wrong, as the “spiritual violence,” to quote Kelly Clark’s term, of being reared in even the most loving environment gay adoptive parents might offer may well exceed the benefits of material comforts and emotional support they might have to offer.  But isn’t the root of the problem that too few of us who are not homosexual are willing to step up to adopt these needy kids, thus leaving the caseworkers with a Hobson’s choice between continuing foster care and gay adoption?

    The larger question to consider, Dom, is whether the reluctance of the political powers-that-be to support a religious exemption for Catholic Charities bodes ill for the prospect of the referendum to overthrow gay marriage?  Won’t the advocates of gay marriage sieze upon the endorsement of gay adoption not just by the caseworkers of Catholic Charities but its board—including Bishop Lennon—to contend that the RCAB is in a poor position to argue against gay marriage??

  • Luckily, Tony, we’re not waiting on the bishops and the MCC to lead the way on the fight against same-sex marriage.  Vote On Marriage is doing a fine job.

  • This is called supping with the devil. The Church made a huge mistake in accepting state money. If you accept the devil’s coin then you will soon find yourself paying the devil’s dues. It’s time for the Church to reject state grants and become fully voluntary. When state education came in here in 1880 the Bishops refused to accept state grants because it would tie the Church to state interference. We then fought for eighty years to get state aid back and now our schools are just extensions of the state. ironically the answer is simple. Close all Catholic schools, charities etc. The state will be so overloaded they will have to back down. It worked to get state aid it will work to get rid of state interference.

  • Let me put in a word of support for the view of Deacon Bresnahan.  The Church should continue both to try to do good and to refuse to do evil, then let the chips fall where they may.  This is no less than Catholic moral teaching requires every human being to do and the Church itself must provide a model of such behavior.  Demonstratively withdrawing from the “social service” field (i.e., the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy) would be a spiteful step contrary to charity.  If, on the other hand, the State forces the Church out of these fields, the Church should accept this development with regret, but also ultimately with equanimity—even while urging good Catholic families to extend themselves in charity to provide adoptive and foster families for children in need.  Catholic families, in their private capacity, may well be able to do more good than the Church as an institution can any longer do.  The main thing is to regard charity as the ultimate norm in meeting to whatever challenges the State throws at us.

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