The news of the end of the “partnership” between Catholic Charities of San Francisco and Family Builders by Adoption is good, if belated. The partnership was (and is—it is scheduled to continue until June 2009) totally unsuitable. A quick visit to the websites of Family Builders by Adoptions and their sister organization AdoptionSF demonstrates this. From the point of view of fidelity to Catholic teaching, the partnership was doomed from the beginning. Documentation of this claim can be found here.
The tragedy is that our Archdiocese missed an important teaching moment. Given the nature of the current culture war, not a single such moment can be squandered. Had the Archdiocese chosen to fight on this issue back in 2006, they probably would have lost. But losing a battle is not the same as losing a war. In fighting that battle they would have been able to articulate important elements of Catholic teaching regarding both salvation and the common good of society.
The first and most important element of the issue was and is the spiritual welfare of our same-sex attracted brothers and sisters. When Catholic Charities said it was perfectly happy to allow same-sex households to adopt they were also saying: we see nothing wrong with same-sex households. After all, who would allow a child to be adopted into an unsuitable household?
The Archdiocese in opposing this could have argued: Yes, we do see something wrong with same-sex households, because we see something wrong with homosexual actions. And it is precisely because we love and care about our same-sex attracted brothers and sisters, that we oppose such adoptions. It is because we are concerned for your spiritual welfare that we are opposed to homosexual actions, and we will never do anything to dilute that message. That is a message that is desperately needed in San Francisco, where there are over 60,000 same-sex attracted persons, each a soul infinitely precious to God. And make no mistake, there are plenty of voices in the Archdiocese more than willing to dilute, if not completely refute, that message.
Secondarily, had they fought, the Archdiocese could have based their argument on the common good of society. When they lost the battle, and were defunded, the Archdiocese could have put their case the people of California and said: Look, our interest is in the common good of society. We believe children need a mother and a father, and should be adopted into a family with a mother and father. We understand that maybe that cannot always happen but that is the ideal we aspire to, in the interests of the common good, and we see no reason to change that ideal. Because of this, and in the name of a misunderstood concept of equality and non-discrimination for a very small percentage of the population, we are losing state funding.
Today "equality" and "non-discrimination" are dogmas more binding that any offered by the Church. For many people today discrimination automatically equals injustice. That is not true and this could have been the moment for the Archdiocese to explain why it is not true. Had the Archdiocese offered those arguments two years ago they would have had a wide audience. The arguments would, I believe, have resonated with the people of California. But because those arguments are not “sound-biteable” and run counter to the dogma that discrimination automatically equals injustice it would have taken a while for them to be digested. But finally they would have been, and today, as we are faced with Proposition 8, their relevance to the issue of same-sex “marriage” would have been immediately understood.
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney