SF Supervisors resist the foreign invasion

SF Supervisors resist the foreign invasion

How is this not a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state as defined by current Supreme Court precedent? “San Francisco Supervisors slam Vatican on adoptions, Resolution calls edict on gays ‘insulting, callous’”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors wasted little time chiming in, and challenged local church officials to defy the Vatican. “It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city’s existing and established customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need,” the resolution stated.

Suddenly the Catholic Church is not a church, but a foreign country. I’m going to hold my breath until the ACLU jumps in. Shouldn’t take long. I won’t turn blue first.

I like the statement that gays adopting kids is an “existing and established custom and tradition.” How old is that, about 20 years? Compare that to the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old traditions and customs about morality and family, themselves based on Jewish customs and traditions dating back a further 3,000-5,000 years.

Narcissus, your office is calling.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • “Suddenly the Catholic Church is not a church, but a foreign country.” 

    Actually, “the Vatican,” which is the term that the Board of Supervisors was careful to use, is and has been a “foreigbn country” as of 11 February 1929, with the signing of the concordat between the Vatican and Italy, which has since been recognized by most of the other nations of the world as conferring complete sovereignty on the State of Vatican City.

    I think Catholics should tread carefully on this matter since it is entirely possible that we are being “set up.”  The Board of Supervisors care to urge defiance of “the Vatican,” not “the Pope” or “the Church,” may not be an accident.

    To start with, of course, this usage serves to reinforce the idea that there is, on the one hand, an essentially foreign and irrelevant hierarchy (“the Vatican” in the looser, popular sense) and then there is, on the other, distinct from and more or less opposed to it, “the Church,” which is to say, us good guys.  This kind of thinking is now fairly widespread among Catholics in the United States, but should be discouraged whenever possible.

    But the Board’s choice of words may also, I suspect, have something to do with the ongoing attempt by certain secularists to deprive the Vatican City State of its full sovereign stature among nations and thereby also strip the Pope of his sovereign immunity as a head of state.

    As many readers of this blog may recall, a group of renegade Catholics (including the infamous Ms. Kissling of “Catholics for a Free Choice”) created a non-profit organization a couple years ago called “See Change,” whose goal was to persuade the United Nations to withdraw its recognition of the Vatican as a sovereign entity so that Holy See’s “observer” status in the world body would have to be revoked.  They were urging ordinary Catholics to sign a petition advocating these steps; the signed petitions would then also have been used as evidence for their contention that the sovereign status of the Vatican was essentially phoney and recognized as such by ordinary Catholics. This group did not succeed, and their Website, although still indexed by Google, seems to have been taken down.  If they had succeeded, the Church’s voice at international conferences such as those held in Cairo and Beijing on women’s issues would have been considerably muted.

    Beyond that, denial of Vatican sovereignty would also expose the Holy See and the Pope personally to the sorts of criminal charges and civil suits which Texas Attorney Daniel Shea attempted to bring last year.  The State Department convinced the judge in that case that the Holy See was indeed sovereign, and that hence the Pope could not be hauled into court as a conspirator in concealing felonies for having written an instruction while head of the CDF on the exclusivity of that dicastery’s jurisdiction over instances of clergy sexual misconduct and reminding of the confidentiality of the referrals sent to it.

    It would seem to me that if choruses of Catholics now protest loudly that the Vatican (as distinct from the Roman Catholic Church or the Pope in his capacity as its religious head) is not sovereign (and hence, in some sense, “a foreign country”), these denials may well be used as evidence that even the devout Faithful do not take seriously the Vatican’s claims to political independence and diplomatic parity with other states.

  • Anonymous, that is a very thoughtful post on the use of the term “Vatican.”  I’m glad you brought it up, and it’s worth bearing in mind.

    I would put nothing whatsover past the SF Board of Supervisors.

  • As a long time resident of San Francisco I can tell you that this is pretty typical of the Bd of Supes.  They also passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.  One of the Supes tried to get a resolution passed calling for SF to support Seattle in the Super Bowl.  Of course when it comes to the real problems in the City, e.g., streets full of potholes and homeless, a lack of affordable housing that is driving young families from the City and an economy that is more and more based on tourism, they don’t have any time or ideas.

    I also think that the use of Vatican rather than church was no accident.  First of all it’s an election year and they want to avoid offending Catholic voters.  Secondly, if it’s the Vatican, i.e, a foreign power, rather than the Church doing these things there is no reason why the Archdioses should do what they want.  Catholic Charities wouldn’t change because Peru told them to.

  • The difference is, that the Vatican, or rather the Pope who is the ruler of the Vatican, unlike Peru, is the boss of the Archbishop of the Archdioceses of San Francisco.

  • I agree.  My point was that the Board would rather treat this as a political rather than a religous question.  If their complaint is against a foreign country rather than against the Church they can pretend this isn’t anti-Catholic.