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Archdio: Cease?

by Jeremy Hooper

The Archdiocese of Washington's response to the D.C. marriage equality vote:

December 15, 2009

Today the District of Columbia joined a handful of states where legislatures or courts have redefined marriage to include persons of the same sex. Since this legislation was first introduced in October, the Archdiocese of Washington opposed the redefinition of marriage based on the core teaching of the Catholic Church that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. However, understanding the City Council was committed to legalizing same sex marriages, the archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the Council’s interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom. Regrettably, the bill did not strike that balance.

The Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities are deeply committed to serving those in need, regardless of race, creed, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. This commitment is integral to our Catholic faith and will remain unchanged into the future.

Religious organizations have long been eligible to provide social services in our nation’s capital and have not been excluded simply because of their religious character. This is because the choice of provider has focused on the ability to deliver services effectively and efficiently. We are committed to serving the needs of the poor and look forward to working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.

Archdiocese Remains Committed to Serving Poor [ADW]

We're gonna take them on their word. They are "deeply committed to serving those in need, regardless of race, creed, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation"? Well great. Then there is no need for any issue to arise. They can treat the gay folk who come to them in good faith the exact same way that they'd treat the heterosexuals in need. The'll recognize the difference between civil governance and religious freedom, the same way they've honored this separation as it has long applied to other city matters. And while they are well within their rights to hold certain expectations of conduct regarding their faithful, they must also honor the fact that they accept public monies, and not use conduct that falls outside of local nondiscrimination code/ordinances in any of their publicly-subsidized programs. That is the only way -- THE ONLY WAY -- they can actually be "deeply committed" to serving needs in the fair way that they claim to hold dear.

The Archdiocese surely understands all this. In fact, this press release seems to be somewhat of a face-saving admission of the truth. Now it's time for the Catholic Church to get back to what they should be doing (filming another Sister Act sequel, perhaps?), and stop wasting time, resources, and reputations on the losing cause of bias!

**UPDATE: More from NPR:


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Your thoughts

Their accountants probably informed them that the loss of that 30% of those public funds that they skim off of the top would put a serious crimp in their extra curricular activities budget... and they simply were unwilling to go there!

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 16, 2009 9:23:17 AM

"Now it's time for the Catholic Church to get back to what they should be doing"

Protecting child molesters?

Posted by: wackadoodle | Dec 16, 2009 12:25:49 PM

I look forward to seeing the Catholic church utterly capitulate, like it did in the UK.

Well done to the DC Council, which stood up to these bullies.

Posted by: Baron Scarpia | Dec 16, 2009 2:05:49 PM

Argh. It really pisses me off when people who should know better, such as _REPORTERS_, continue to spread the LIE that Catholic Charities stopped offering adoption services in Massachusetts because of marriage equality.

It did not. It stopped because they were accepting state funds, which obligated them to comply with NON-DISCRMINATION laws. They were complying BEFORE marriage equality, but then the archbishop got wind of the fact that they weren't discriminating and said shut it down. Since then, the anti-marriage folks have been lying about the situation and trying to use it as an example of "religious freedoms" being trumped by public policy. THEY ARE WRONG.

We need to call these people out on this lie whenever they repeat it.

From the Boston Globe article:
In a stunning turn of events, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley and leaders of Catholic Charities of Boston announced yesterday that the agency will end its adoption work, deciding to abandon its founding mission, rather than comply with state law requiring that gays be allowed to adopt children.

The Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities of Boston, and Jeffrey Kaneb, chairman of the board, said that after much reflection and analysis, they could not reconcile church teaching that placement of children in gay homes is "immoral" with Massachusetts law prohibiting discrimination against gays.

[...]The controversy began in October [2005] when the Globe reported that Catholic Charities had been quietly processing a small number of gay adoptions, despite Vatican statements condemning the practice. Over the last decades, the Globe reported, approximately 13 children had been placed by Catholic Charities in gay households, a fraction of the 720 children placed by the agency during that period.

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.

In recent weeks, Hehir said, he had become increasingly concerned that the struggle over gay adoption would detract from other important work done by Catholic Charities.[...]

Some board members said another concern was the potential impact on financing. The United Way of Massachusetts Bay, which provided $1.2 million to Catholic Charities last year and is the largest private funder of the agency, planned to review its funding if the agency discriminated against gays and lesbians in its adoption work.

By late last week, Hehir said, it became clear that the simplest approach would be to withdraw from adoption services altogether. He convened a meeting with the board yesterday morning, in which members voted unanimously to pull out.
[end quote]

Posted by: Lane | Dec 16, 2009 2:46:23 PM

I'm really glad the DC City Council members didn't cave, and glad the Archdiocese backtracked. They must have understood what horrible PR they'd get.

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Dec 17, 2009 8:47:53 AM

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