This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Friday, February 19, 2010

DC Catholic Charities ends family services

On December 3rd of last year, I reported that Catholic Charities was playing hardball on gay marriage, saying that it would have to ratchet back services in the District if the bill passed. You can see the essay at http://www.examiner.com/x-20951-DC-Progressive-Catholic-Perspectives-Examiner~y2009m12d3-Gay-marriage-and-Catholic-Charities-in-the-District-of-Columbia. The Council then passed the bill anyway and the Mayor signed it. For a while, it looked like Charities was bluffing. It turns out now that they were not. On Wednesday, the Post reported that Charities has transferred it District operation to another provider root and branch (all foster families, children and staff) to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families. You can view the story here (which seems to have overshadowed by other news – like the blizzard and the Olympics): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/16/AR2010021604899.html A lesbian friend of mine has quipped that the Church is giving up helping children for Lent. I will agree that the timing is unfortunate.

I have fiver thoughts about these developments.

First, not providing services because you might have to hire gay foster parents or place with gay parents seeking to adopt is not news in Catholic circles. The Archdiocese of Boston did it first and I expect others to follow – especially if the challenge to Proposition 8 succeeds and gay marriage goes national as an equal protection right.

Second, this is a regrettable development, and I regret to announce that when our family is again in a position to donate to charitable causes, Catholic Charities of Washington, who my wife has a long relationship with, will not be on our list. I promised this in my December article and if they won’t back down, neither will I, nor I suspect other donors who know that there is nothing to fear from gay and lesbian parents.

Third, as I said in December, it is not up to the Church to judge between types of marriages, especially as a civil employer. It is equally immoral for Catholics to get married before civil authorities without getting the marriage blessed by the Church or having a Church wedding presided by or witnessed by a Catholic Priest. If the Church were that upset by immoral marriages, it would inquire ask employees for marriage certificates. If it does not see fit to do that for heterosexual marriages, it cannot judge the quality of gay marriages either.
Four, eventually gay Catholic couples whose families donate will demand that the marriages of their gay children be blessed. I suspect that the Church will not be able to ignore the groundswell, which explains the frontal attack.

Lastly, I am not sure that getting the Church out of the family services business is a bad idea. Many believe it is too much in favor of adoption rather than family restoration (particularly for cherubic white children). As I stated in my book, Musings from the Christian Left, children alone should not be fostered. Where possible, parents should be under foster care as well – especially where youth or addiction are issues. Maybe, in the end, getting the Church out of family services is a good thing.

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