Boston bishops blast their boots -- again


I'm not sure why, but the Boston bishops are once more taking aim at the tassels on their loafers.

Yesterday, the Boston Globe reported that the bishops were gearing up to fight gay adoptions in the state. Today, the Globe is reporting something more serious -- that 7 members of the board of Catholic Charities of Boston have resigned in protest of the decision.

I'm of two minds about this. First, I admit to a perverse admiration of the bishops: at least they are putting their money where their mouth is. They have formulated an opinion, and they are pursuing it wherever it leads -- even if it ticks off their most loyal and wealthy supporters. This follows the example of Christ -- in a rather dopey way, I grant you -- who told the truth regardless of (and in full awareness of) the consequences. In Christ's case, the consequence was the Cross. In the bishops' case, the consequence is a further loss of public support and funding. Sadly, this translates into loss of influence and a decreased ability to fulfill the Church's mission to help the poor -- many of them children.

But my "other mind" keeps nagging me.

First of all, why fight gay adoption? Why this fight at this time?

It's not like gays are hoarding all the helpless orphans, crowding out married hetero couples who want to adopt. No. There are plenty of kids out there who need a home. And even if you believe that a functional mother/father-led home is the ideal, is it really a better choice to leave a child homeless and unloved than in a family with two Moms or two Dads?

Then, there's that pesky issue of the Boston Archdiocese sticking its nose in to "save" children from gay adoptees when it did so little to save the children from predacious priest-rapists. I have to admit, though, that being abandoned by the Church is a step up from sodomy. A small step, but a crucial one...

The Church leaders -- soon-to-be Cardinal Sean O'Malley foremost among them -- seem to prefer the placid halls of academe to the rough and dangerous streets. In their scholarly aerie, one is lauded for never compromising a principle. One discerns God's will in the dry leaves of catechisms and textbooks. But in the real world, one must pick one's battles in order to preserve one's resources for battles worth fighting. In the real world, principles often collide, and children do not have the luxury of waiting centuries for the Holy Spirit to manifest his will. In the real world, a child stands to gain by being loved -- whether by one Mom or Dad -- or two.

Why is it that when it comes to safeguarding children, the bishops only circle their wagons around themselves?