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Closing a Catholic adoption agency is not in the ‘interests of children’

Our descendants will look back in amazement at the gullibility of our age

By on Thursday, 19 August 2010

Two stories this week pose the same question: what is marriage?

The first story concerns the condemnation by Cardinal Francis George, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, of the decision of a federal judge to overturn the so-called Proposition 8, a California voter-backed initiative that essentially banned same-sex marriage: eventually the matter will be decided by the US Supreme Court.

The second story is the decision of the Charity Commission not to allow Catholic Care, the last Catholic adoption agency still operating in England, to restrict its services to heterosexuals only. Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, it pronounced, “departs from the principle of treating people equally”. They added that same-sex couples can be “successful” adoptive parents and that even if Catholic Care does close down, the children it would have helped will be placed with new families through “other channels”. It finally repeated the old mantra: “Clearly the interests of children are paramount.”

Certain questions present themselves: what, precisely, is the authority of the Charity Commission to pronounce that same-sex couples can be successful adoptive parents? What does this dire quango actually KNOW about this or anything else? And how can it be in the “interests” of children to be adopted, not by a stably married couple, but by a gay couple instead (apart from anything else, gay relationships are notoriously unstable), “through other channels”?

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has concisely explained the Church’s position on marriage. It is an explanation equally relevant to both these stories. Catholics, of course, will still find it convincing; but in its essentials, it was once, almost instinctively, universally accepted, even by the non-religious (before so many of them were battered into submission by the tyranny of the Spirit of the Age).

A same-sex union, the bishops explained, “contradicts the nature of marriage: it is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot co-operate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union.” They went on to explain why “the marital union … provides the best conditions for raising children: namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage.”  Furthermore, “it is not unjust to deny legal status to same-sex unions because marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities [my italics].”

The point is that all this is entirely rational. It is simple common sense. Catholics are routinely accused of believing the irrational, of naively allowing themselves to be bludgeoned by their priests into unquestioning faith in the most grotesque absurdities. But it surely requires the most extreme credulousness to believe the opposite of what the US bishops say: that marriage and same-sex unions are essentially THE SAME reality and that a gay couple can therefore give adoptive children the same benefits as a man and wife. I very much fear that precisely the opposite is the case and that what is involved here is very far from being “in the interests” of the children involved.

We are currently passing through a kind of cultural blip, in which these things go unchallenged (except, as usual, by the Catholic Church). Our descendants will look back and marvel at our gullibility. But in the meantime, in the name of human rights, of liberation from “outworn shibboleths” (remember them?) there will be many human casualties. “Oh Liberty,” in the famous words of Madame Roland as she mounted the scaffold, “what crimes are committed in thy name.” It was, I fear, ever thus.

  • SmokeyPhantom

    Unstable? Tell that to my wife whom I have been faithful to for almost 19 years, and she to me. Don't insult my relationship with your ignorant, uninformed claims.

  • Jaydub

    “Notoriety” doesn't have to be true to be touted as such. Given divorce rates in heterosexual unions, both in the UK and in other “Christian” countries, perhaps we should be referring to those as “notoriously unstable” instead.

  • W Oddie

    What? But that's what I'm saying: that marriage is the most stable kind of relationship. You have read my article to mean the opposite of what it actually says. Try reading it again. Incidentally, I've been married for 42 years. OK?

  • Jaydub

    “…the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union.”

    Nor can the natural purpose of sexual union be achieved by a couple where one or both are infertile. Are such couples also precluded from adoption from a Catholic agency on the grounds that they are physically incapable of creating their own child naturally?

  • SmokeyPhantom

    Maybe I wasn't clear…I've been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years – where is the unstability in that? We've been married for 6+ years in Massachusetts, ever since it became legal. What does the length of your marriage have to do with whether or not same-sex relationships are stable or unstable? Unless, you're saying you're gay – then it's relevant.

  • W Oddie

    You used the word 'wife'. That implies a heterosexual marriage.

  • W Oddie

    You used the word 'wife'. That implies a heterosexual marriage.

  • Gareth Jones

    “What, precisely, is the authority of the Charity Commission to pronounce that same-sex couples can be successful adoptive parents?”

    That was the advice given to them by the 6 six local authorities they spoke to in the area

  • Jaydub

    Have a look at the etymology of the word “wife” and you'll see it derives from the word “woman”. Even assuming that you believe that it can only apply to “marriage” rather than civil or domestic partnerships, in Massachusetts gay marriage is legal which means that SmokeyPhantom and her wife are perfectly entitled to use the word. I contest that it does not imply heterosexual marriage other than to people who do not accept the idea of legal homosexual unions.

  • SmokeyPhantom

    Exactly what I would have written. Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

  • nytor

    “in Massachusetts gay marriage is legal”

    But those “marriages” are not recognised here, so the phantom thing has no “wife” in English law and is therefore NOT entitled to the term on an English website.

  • Jaydub

    If you could point me towards the legal definition of “wife”, I'd be thoroughly obliged. To the best of my knowledge, the word “marriage” is defined in law but not the word “wife”.

    SmokeyPhantom is married according to the laws of the state in which she lives and is perfectly entitled to use “wife” to describe her spouse. The fact that this is a UK website is, therefore, irrelevant unless you propose that we all should moderate our language dependent on the geography of any website to which we contribute. Presumably you, for example, already spell “through” and “colour” and “thru” and “color” if and when you write anything on US or Canadian websites?

  • FrHeythrop

    “We are currently passing through a kind of cultural blip…..Our descendants will look back and marvel at our gullibility” . We shall see, but I very much doubt it. Anyone who thinks that the social/cultural changes that have taken place in the last 50 years will one day be reversed is deluded. The world has changed. Get over it.

  • Mary O'Regan

    What choice is left women who want to place their baby for adoption, but do not want the baby to be raised by a gay couple? Why aren't the voices of these women audible?

  • botera

    What would Christ do?

    Are we to banish Gays to a leper colony, a deadzone where they cannot lead full and giving lives?

    As a Catholic I have real difficulties with this.

    This sort of Catholicism , man made rules taking precedence over christian charity, protects the status quo.

  • Ivor

    You could try here, for example:

    This is an American legal definition, UK legal definitions are more likely to refer to 'Spouse' or 'Civil Partner'.

  • pyxl

    Studies consistently show that children raised by parents of the same-sex are just as likely to be well adjusted later in life as children raised by opposite-sex parents. I believe these are the sort of findings that have informed the Charity Commission's decision not to allow the Catholic adoption agency to continue to discriminate.

    It is interesting that you should mention the Proposition 8 ruling since that also followed a trial that highlighted for everyone to see the clear lack of foundation to any of the anti-gay claims made by people like you. The ban's proponents could not find a single expert willing to repeat, in court under oath, all the claims they made during their campaign.

    It's easy to claim that this or that situation is better for children, the problem is when you're called upon to back these claims with facts.

  • Me

    Worn out, lame argument that hardly gets at the heart of the issue, namely that no matter what you say or do or think or conjecture or dream up, a child's best interests are always served by a mother and father – it's that simple – imagine waking up age 9 and discovering that your mum gave you up and that the two lovely and well dressed men whom you are told are your fathers into each other and every bit of your mind body and soul shivers.

  • Me

    How many studies? How many children studied, for how long? In how many situations? Paid for by whom? But let me guess if 1 out of 1,000 cases proves successful then the law being now what it is the other 999 must automatically inherit the rights of the 1…wonderful reasoning.

  • Me

    Huh? Unbelievable. Where did you get any of that? Who said that full legal rights ala a civil union make ones life any less worthy?

  • Guest

    To compare hetero to homo relationship stability you are either cosmically delusional or wilfully ignorant. You pick. Check out the CDC's recent report on HIV, AIDS in America.

  • pyxl

    Well, you don't need to guess, you could just do a bit of research before you comment. Enough studies to convince all the major medical/psychological/pediatric organisation of what I'm saying. One of the latest studies I've heard of has lasted 17 years…

    I'll repeat what I've already said: if there was any evidence that same-sex parents were detrimental to a child's development, why didn't the proposition 8 proponents in California manage to find a single expert to support this position? Can you answer that very simple question?

    Do you research.