Monday, March 06, 2006

Yet More on Adoption
Tony summarizes his position, with which I agree: #1. If the agency is to be called Catholic, they have to follow Catholic teaching. The Boston agency in question would lose public funding. I haven't read in between every line of the story. Would they also be denied the legal right to place children in their care? There are other ways to promote the common and moral good of adoption. They can write me: I'll tell them what they could do. #2 If the choice is between moving a child from foster home to foster home, where the child is regularly abused and his spirit is being broken, or putting him in a loving home with two men who care for him, even if the two men are screwing each other, I would say choice two is in the best interest of the child. The foster home situation is one worth considering. The main disadvantage is lack of permanence for the children. The kids know this is a way station. In some cases, the foster parents take on a child whose legal status is unresolved. In others, they take a child who might be considered un-adoptable. Or the foster family might have set its own limit: not adopting any new kids. And it is true that abuse happens in foster homes. A good amount of it is perpetrated by other foster children. And some parents. Bill appeals to the CDF: A situation which is gravely and objectively immoral can never be in the best interest of a child. I'm aware of the CDF teaching, and here are the reasons I find it flawed: 1. It addresses the issue from the point of view of prospective parents, not children. To my knowledge, the CDF has never issued a document discussing the moral impact of children awaiting adoption. 2. The Church has addressed such topics as waging war. Killing another human being is an objective evil. Yet killing is conceded morally in just warfare for the purpose of avoiding a greater evil. Church teaching on adoption is not necessarily wrong or particularly correct; it is just incomplete. Bill appeals again: Children need a mom and a dad. Of course they do. Foster care provides stand-ins. The relationship of mother-to-child or father-to-child implies permanency and stability. It's part of the reason why marriages are morally superior to live-in arrangements. Catholic social service agencies have also been placing children for adoption by single parents. Some children lose fathers or mothers. Is the permanence of the remaining parent plus opposite sex friendship or mentoring adequate for healthy child-rearing? Or maybe this just isn't the core argument. And I'm not sure the sins of the bedroom have that much of an impact on children. If so, Catholic social agencies would inquire if the adopting couple uses contraception. That, too, is considered "gravely and objectively immoral." The specific moral teachings may be objective, but often the application of morality is subjective. The Church may well believe it's in a position to lobby against secular agencies placing children for adoption with gay couples. That, too, is within its right. But thanks to its own moral scandals, the Church's voice is woefully weakened on that front. The American public was reasonably forgiving when sex predators in the clergy were seen as isolated evils. But when bishops were revealed to have been at fault for ignoring evidence and closing clerical ranks, I'm afraid the underlying credibility is lacking. Steve's blog had a quote from Peter Maurin last Friday which sums up the situation:

Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice

1. In the first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at personal sacrifice. 2. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans used to say about the Christians "See how they love each other." 3. In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. 4. And because the poor are no longer fed, clothed and sheltered the pagans say about the Christians "See how they pass the buck."

Church teaching on the worldwide situation of parentless children would be a welcome addition to the discussion. We're all still waiting for it. As we recently read in Gaudium et Spes: This faith needs to prove its fruitfulness by penetrating the believer's entire life, including its worldly dimensions, and by activating him (or her) toward justice and love, especially regarding the needy. What does the most reveal God's presence, however, is the ... charity of the faithful who are united in spirit as they work together for the faith of the Gospel and who prove themselves a sign of unity. Documents alone will not do the job, nor do it much justice.

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