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March 15, 2006



Just to play devil's advocate: should we also protect racial discrimination if a religious body wants to limit adoptions to white people?


I question how the church always wants to play this game of "go ahead and do it, but give us an exemption." While I understand it may often be all or the best that we can get, isn't the true mission to proclaim right and wrong to a fallen world? If gays shouldn't adopt, it shouldn't matter to the church whether the church or anyone else does it: it is simply wrong no matter who does it. One could argue that one who argues for a "religious exemption" is conceding too much territory: he places religious conviction into the sphere of private morality. But in truth, I believe the church would argue that gay adoption is not wrong because the church doesn't like it, but because it is in fact *wrong.*
That way of looking at it would prevent the sort of situation that Jason described from arising: we would not give a disciminating church a pass because racial discrimination is wrong.


When phrased as a choice between a child being adopted by a heterosexual couple, a single parent, or a SSA couple, the choice seems pretty easy.

What is missing from the CDF formulation and the press releases of particular bishops is when the choice is between a gay couple and nobody.

Church teaching would benefit from a central examination of adoption and parentless children, rather than tacking the policy/teaching as a footnote on a statement about homosexuals.

Cleaning up such details would go a good way to giving lie to the premise that the Church cares more about sexual misbehavior than it does about children.

127,000 US kids are waiting to be adopted today. It seems like Catholic Charities of Boston could start an educational campaign around that fact. It could promote adoption more strongly among Catholic couples. It could assist couples in preparing home studies, providing adoption wrokshops, and making connections with state agencies.

Time to get to work.


Well said Todd. This is a difficult situation for all...becasue in the end, it is innocent children who suffer, and no matter what one thinks about same-sex partners and adoption, no one wants that. My first reaction to this story was anger...at all involved.

But you are right...the best way to shine the light of God's love into this dark situation is to get to work and leave no stone unturned in the effort to seek new ways to help every child find a loving home.

Grace and Peace,

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

Without an exemption ALL the children up for adoption go to agencies which could put ALL the children in homes where immorality is practiced and is the roll model. At least an exemption would get many children away from such agencies and homes.
And there would not be an issue if it weren't for our state's Lavender Dictatorship for there are a half dozen other agencies here which will give children to gay applicants--the only reason gays would go to Catholic Charities would be in the hopes of using it as one more front to undermine Catholic moral teaching.
I do not use the phrase Lavender Dictatorship loosely- it was revealed in the business section of the Boston Globe today that elements at Harvard Law School cowed major law firms in Boston to not help the archdiocese on a freedom of religion lawsuit. Yet these same people will scream left and right that even Saddam deserves his day in court. Mass. is becoming the moral cesspool of the Northeast with all the power bullies from courts, to media, to Harvard pulling every muscle to intimidate the Church and destroy Christian moral teachings of any kind that bumps up against the secular worldview. The rest of America better wake up--and might be Mass. nly hope.


Columnist Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe:

"...the political agenda driving this affair is the one favored by the Human Rights Campaign and its many allies in the media and state government: the normalization of homosexual adoption. So important is that agenda to its supporters that they will allow nothing to stand in its way -- not even the well-being of children in dire need of safe and loving families. [They] would rather see [Catholic Charities'] invaluable work come to an end than allow Catholic Charities to decline gay adoptions.

The church's request for a conscience clause should have been unobjectionable, at least to anyone whose priority is rescuing kids from foster care. Those who spurned that request out of hand must believe that adoption is designed primarily for the benefit of adults, not children. The end of Catholic Charities' involvement in adoption may suit the Human Rights Campaign. But it can only hurt the interests of the damaged and vulnerable children for whom Catholic Charities has long been a source of hope."

I think it is hard for people not living in the Boston area to understand how relentlessly The Globe, Harvard, and media here pound the Church over homosexual (and other) issues. This whole thing seems like a completely unnecessary provocation - a PR stunt designed to make the Church lose either way: give up adoptions and they are cruel to children, allow same sex adoptions and they are hypocrites. Either story "works" for the Globe - all Catholic bashing, all the time.

Michelle R

First of all , the Board of Directors of the Boston Catholic Charities did not necessarily agree with the concept that they should be exempt from placing children in homes where the parents were homosexual. So, the bishops were smart to stop all adoption services, since they couldn't even be sure that their organization would do the right thing.

Secondly, is placing a child in the home of loving, but immoral, parents a position we should support as a "lesser of two evils" option? Would it be better for a child to have parents who used drugs, as long as they were loving parents? Should single-parent homes be sought for children, as "better than no home at all"?

I have the advantage of being raised in a two-parent, law-abiding, and child-loving home. I do not know what someone from a dysfunctional home would support. But if, in my untimely demise, I had to select for my own children to either live with loving, but homosexual parents or to live in foster care...I would probably pick foster care. After all, at least they would KNOW it's not the way it's supposed to be. Why try to convince them that a homosexual relationship is anything other than dysfunctional?

Jimmy Mac

I do have to laugh. Massachusetts Catholicism worrying about a Lavendar Dictatorship? And tell me, Deacon John, what have the non-Catholics in Massachusetts had to put up with for countless years but an Irish Roman Catholic Dictatorship!

Now that the shoe is on the other foot (allegedly), are we going to run in circles, scream and shout? Take up your marbles and go elsewhere?

Sandra Miesel

As to the racial analogy argument above, it is typical policy through the US for state-funded agencies to prevent white parents from adopting black children. It is a hard-edged policy of the Black Social Worker's organization.
To point to a specific tragedy cuased by this policy: here in Indiana a white foster mother asked to adopt black twins that she'd cared for for the first two years of their lives. The black caseworker immediately yanked the children from her home and placed them for adoption with a "step-cousin" without observing several legal requirements. The male "step-cousin" starved and beat the little boy to death, severely brain-damaged the little girl. He's doing time but the agenda-driven social worker got a handslap.

Rich Leonardi

What is missing from the CDF formulation and the press releases of particular bishops is when the choice is between a gay couple and nobody.

With couples going to China and Eastern Europe to adopt children, that's as false a dichotomy as you will find.

And the CDF's recent consideration of the subject is hardly a "footnote" or afterthought; it's part of a comprehensive seven-page document on homosexuality and the nature of marriage under the heading From the biological and anthropological order.


Thank you, Deacon John! Great post!

I am worried that many Catholics do not understand the history of their Church in regard to the secular authorities. These kinds of cases are NOT isolated incidents; they are part of a stated agenda, though that statement is made in different ways. Some gay groups have pretty much said that they feel about the Church the way the Palestinians feel about Israel: we want them wiped off the map. Lawyers have specifically and explicitly said that their goal is to eradicate the Church; others have said they want to "bankrupt every diocese."

This will not happen, of course, because Christ has promised that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail over the Church. But the Gates can do a Hell of a lot of damage. Look at the anti-Catholic laws under Elizabeth I: it starts with something minor and ends with Stalin-like persecution. Read Waugh's bio of Edmund Campion. Read about the anti-Catholic Acts in Ireland. The attempt the eradicate the Church in Mexico in the 20's, in Viet Nam in the 19th century, in Korea -- heck, in the Church's first 300 years right up to what's going on today: laws in CT and Colorado being written specifically against the Catholic Church. Boston and other cities are trying to marginalize Catholics. Katie Couric got frothing-at-the-mouth vitriolically anti-Catholic on the Today show and no one blinked. Think of the Weimar Republic and the slow growth of Anti-Jewish laws. Once you train the populace to believe a religious group is evil and should be marginalized, it's not far to looking-the-other-way violence. But even if it does not get that far, it's far enough.

This is much, much bigger than the immediate issue.

And BTW, the analogy with not allowing balck couples to adopt does not hold water. Being black is something that happens by birth. Even if they were to prove that being homosexual is genetic, the BEHAVIOR is not. It's apples and oranges --- or bowling balls.

We Catholics have our heads in the sand if we do not see the attacks in each state as a planned, concerted effort against the faith. Freedom of religion and freedom of conscience MUST be fought for. I just read that in England, and atheist won the right to be principal of a Christian school. Pharmacists in this country are being fired for not providing an abortion pill that didn't exist when many of them got their degrees. The "perform no abortion" clause was removed from the Hippocratic Oath. The EU wants ALL doctors to perform abortions - no freedom of conscience clause.

How bad does it have to get?

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

Jimmy Mac--the image that Mass. was somehow at one time an Irish Roman Catholic dictatorship is bogus. Compare two issues. Mass. has one of the strongest records in the country for NOT giving any aid to religious schools. Yet the laws and the state have been now so manipulated that even lawyers who would defend a Saddam under the argument everyone deserves a defense have now been intimidated so as to leave Catholics without legal representation. I never remember Catholics being so powerful that if the legislature did something people of other religions didn't like--lawyers were intimidated and cowed into not helping anyone go to court to challenge what was done. And one might add most of the now controversial laws (mostly to do with family and social issues) on the books were promoted and passed in the last century by Protestants--Catholics have --over the past 50 years or so-- been DEFENDING these laws.


Was Mass. a Catholic dictatorship when Henry Ward Beecher was preaching his anti-Catholic sermons and when a mob burned down the Ursuline convent?


From the Globe's op-ed, backing up my post at 1:33:58

''As much as one may wish to live and let live," Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon wrote in 2004, during the same-sex marriage debate in Massachusetts, ''the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance, and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination . . . Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don't go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles."

Sr Lorraine


Can you give any specific examples when Catholics in Massachusetts dictated a policy that violated the religious rights of anyone else?

chris K

What is missing from the CDF formulation and the press releases of particular bishops is when the choice is between a gay couple and nobody.

was answered with

With couples going to China and Eastern Europe to adopt children, that's as false a dichotomy as you will find.

Well, it's a bit more complex than that easy scenario. The way that homosexuals originally entered the adoption scene was by being willing to take in hard to place, racially mixed, or older children - many times just those who had nowhere else to go. Often times this happens as well with kids in foster care, unable to be adopted - no foster home available either. So I'm wondering about the question of foster care as well which is not addressed in the concern over only adoption. Many children spend their entire young lives in many foster homes. There often comes the time when no foster home can or will take them and they used to go into group homes with tennis shoed workers who ran from one crisis to the next. The idea that these kids who "have nowhere else to go" are the prime candidates for gay or lesbian homes speaks as though they, in particular, have become victims of no hope. But, still, it is truly a dilemma in today's selfish world. There HAVE been campaigns at various times for people to adopt such troubled kids. It hasn't been very successful. I remember having in my caseload a little boy who at 8 years had been in about 5 foster homes for various reasons - not just that he was hard to handle. He was the only one his mother rejected and unfortunately the former caseworker was determined to force visits instead of severing the natural ties when he was a baby. It only made matters worse and he grew too old with more emotional baggage. He was literally dropped at my door with no foster home. A new young foster couple that REALLY wanted a baby with no problems had taken him in, but when he played "doctor" with their infant he was outta there. They were way over their heads but there was literally no one else. The solution wasn't easy - to a faith based organization at a distance who felt they might have some chance of placement out in the country. This poor kid didn't know where he was or what would happen next for him. Just where were all those people running to Asia or E. Europe?? And you wouldn't believe what some of these kids have already witnessed by age 4. But to say the solution for the already confused and messed up is some weird household - as "stability" - is, I think, a different kind of discrimination.

Sometimes I think the old concept of orphanages is no worse than many different foster homes. But the caregivers are no longer available in this day and age and there can be "weirdos" in those settings as well. So, count your blessings and pray a lot more these days.


Thank you, chris K, for this dose of reality.

I have some contact with the foster care system (as a CASA) and at least here, the thing is a shambles. Children are being destroyed emotionally, believe it.

I also live next door to a great gay couple (guys) who have adopted a child. These guys love this kid to pieces, and she's good for them too. I know health when I see it. God bless all three of them (He already has).

Church authorities who think that the situation of the kids I see in foster care is superior to the kid next door to me need a reality adjustment.

But, this isn't really about children, is it. It's about politics. When was the last time we saw the Church care more about politics than about the welfare of children? Hmm....

Kevin Jones

As much as the church hierarchy rightly protests when explicitly Catholic institutions are violated, it keeps silent when such regulations might fall upon Catholic laymen--employers, landowners, etc--whose consciences are also violated by such regulations.


Church authorities who think that the situation of the kids I see in foster care is superior to the kid next door to me need a reality adjustment.

Just for the record, the Church is not demanding, or suing, or asking that OTHER AGENCIES stop placing children in gay homes - only saying that they cannot.

But, this isn't really about children, is it. It's about politics. When was the last time we saw the Church care more about politics than about the welfare of children? Hmm....

"THE CHURCH???" Don't you mean "SOME BISHOPS?"


The thing about getting a baby from China is that the chances are practically nil that a birth mother is going to track you down and demand the child back.

Can anyone explain to me why gays are so into adopting children anyway? Is this something newish? Is it more among the lesbians than the gay men or vice versa? The now older gay men whom I know have been so into collecting art objects and antiques and expensive treasures to fill their homes that they would never have considered adopting children. The fine china and the fine stemware and the fine silver and the fine art were the children. But maybe that was another gay generation.


No, anonymous, I don't mean "some bishops."

I mean all the priests who knew - how could they not? - what their colleagues were up to, and said nothing. I mean all the Catholic institutions which kept silent when they knew, too. (I have hard data, don't take me on.) I'm talking about the laypeople who knew, parents of the violated and others, who did not speak out because "it would hurt the Church." And I mean the allegedly sainted Pope John Paul II, who knew, and did nothing, and installed the worst criminal of the lot in an honored post in Rome. And I mean nearly all the bishops. You make it sound like a minority, when it's exactly the contrary.

The Roman Catholic Church has rightfully forfeited its moral authority. When the welfare of children in particular is at issue, it's laughable almost.

Not almost. Many people are laughing.



Can anyone explain to me why gays are so into adopting children anyway?

They want to have families maybe? This is incomprehensible to you??

Try talking to gay people under the age of 50.

Jimmy Mac

" Was Mass. a Catholic dictatorship when Henry Ward Beecher was preaching his anti-Catholic sermons and when a mob burned down the Ursuline convent? "

If you have to go that far back in time to show that the poor beaten down ineffectual RCC was slandered, your case is weak.

When within the last 100 years or so wasn't it absolutely necessary for any politician or person wanting to get elected or something done that they grovel before the Catholic establishment, particularly in the Boston area?

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

My father was an elected official in a city next to Boston. The monsignor-pastor of our church called him on the phone to suggest he vote for a certain good Catholic for an open position. My father told him he had already decided who the more qualified person was and it wasn't who the monsignor liked. There were no ramifications to the incident. My father's choice got a majority vote on the school committee, my father stayed friendly with his pastor,and kept getting re-elected in a district massively Catholic. People were always calling to put in a good word for others seeking promotions or positions:: priests, ministers, rabbis, businessmen, cops, union leaders, etc., etc.,
And noone GROVELED before the Catholic clergy--especially Catholics--60+ years ago when Catholic power was supposed to be so great, especially at the local parish level here in Mass. It is part of the phony legend of Catholic power promoted by people who want leaders of every other group in society from unions to planned parenthood to have the right to try to influence government, but want Catholic leaders put in some sort of a separate category so their guaranteed freedom of religion can be bashed at will.
The Church has no political "power" separate from the will of the people expressed in the privacy of the voting booth. On the other hand, when the people decide to support the leaders of ANY group on an issue--the supporters of that issue gain tremendous legitimate democratic power to promote that issue or point of view. That is why those against Christian morality want to destroy- if possible--not only the ideas or morals they are opposed to, but any groups in society which disagree with them--even to the point of trying to do to them what they won't even do to a mass murderer--try to deny that group representation in court as happened here in Mass.

Dave Pawlak


Considering that teachers are more likely than priests to sexually assault children, would you also say that the public school establishment has also forfeited its moral authority?



Not until school boards are shown, collectively, to be more willing to shield perpetrators than are bishops.

(An aside. Boston. Ya gotta love it. The diocese most disgraced, disgraces itself further; the group most tune deaf sings... wait for it! ... out of tune.)

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

Adam--Think again--The New York Times itself on its front page ran a story giving the facts how things were much, much worse in the public schools and that--until the scandals in the Catholic Church made such noise--the public schools in NY and elsewhere did the same as the bishops. Promise, if the perp left quietly, to give a glowing recommendation so he could get a job elsewhere. NY even had a code phrase for it --"Moving the trash along."
But did the NY Times follow with any further exposes--Not one. The hypocrites were more in favor of protecting the public schools which had such a bad reputation any further exposes would have parents screaming for vouchers. As for the self-righteous hypocrite lawyers--under state sovereign immunity laws there is little money to be gotten from the deep pockets of public treasuries--much, much easier.
to plunder church goers donations.
Do you see the pattern of how much these groups REALLY have the concerns of young people at heart? What is really going on is they saw the stupid bishops blunder into doing what the rest of society was doing at the time and even feeling it was right because lawyers and shrinks of that era said that was best under the circumstances--even to constantly moving the trash along for another chance.
But now that society has flip-flopped on these matters it has left the Catholic Church naked to its enemies--Naked in the media court and in the law courts all of which treat public schools with far different standards.
In fact-if the public schools were to be in the same position as the church--noone would be paying any attention to the tiny church problem--the much huger more explosive public school scandals would be relegating the church's derelictions (by today's standards) to the classifieds.

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