Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blathering Bishops

Most doctors don't know squat about nutrition. Typical ministers are often terrible managers. Also, it's looking more and more like Roman Catholic bishops would flunk a Logic 101 final exam.

As far apart in place and culture as Boston, Tucson and Madrid, their blunders of both reason and compassion compound daily. Consider:
  • In Boston, without asking the Catholic Charities board, the hierarchy is seeking an exemption to ban all adoptions by same-sex couples.
  • In Arizona, the three bishops are pulling an O'Malley in endorsing a particularly punitive anti-gay, anti-same-sex-marriage/civil-union/partnership/benefits amendment and allowing petition gathering at masses.
  • In Spain, the Archbishop of Madrid is openly starting a fight with the socialist prime minister. In a country that funds the RC church and has legalized SSM, he denies all evidence that the nominally Catholic citizens favor SSM and want his church to liberalize.
Benny the Rat, as we affectionately call Pope Benedict, né Ratzinger, has enabled and mandated hard-line politics in pursuit of his vision. The examples above are only a few expressions of his in-the-trenches mentality.

Locally, the effect is inanely divisive and is likely to hurt Catholic Charities in reducing personal and financial support. Worst of all, O'Malley's actions will sentence the hardest-to-adopt kids to orphanages or one foster family after another.

In response to this cruel stupidity, seven of the 42 board members abruptly resigned. Figure on more to follow. As the Globe noted, the board "unanimously voted in December in favor of continuing gay adoptions." In discussing the resignations, the group said that they "cannot participate in an effort to pursue legal permission to discriminate against Massachusetts citizens who want to play their part in building strong families." They also stated that doing so threatens the very essence of our Christian mission."

The laity having to point out the morality and mission of the church's charity to the bishops is pretty pathetic.

MassResistanceWatch has a detailed post on who quit and what kids will get left out by this.

Out west, the Arizona bumble clearly received its inspiration from the Massachusetts one. According to the Daily Star, the three bishops are supporting schadenfraude even more than O'Malley's mitered minions did:
The initiative's broad language would not only prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying, but it also would bar the state, as well as counties, cities and school districts, from creating or recognizing any legal status for unmarried couples. Health benefits that Tucson and Pima County offer workers, as well as the city'’s domestic partner registry, would be nullified.
In Spain, according to the Washington Post, "the battle between the church and Zapatero's government has spread from parliament to streets, pulpit and confessional, creating some of deepest political and social schisms in Spain since it returned to democracy 28 years ago."

As well as the hard-nosed bishop, local and Vatican observers are oddly surprised that a heavily RC country (nominally 80% plus) would legalize SSM, abortion and adoptions by gay couples. Amusingly enough, most Spaniards are not surprised.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero "is doing what people want, what he was elected to do," according to Alberto Moncada, president of Sociologists Without Borders.

On the other side, some prelates and clerics are surprised that previous Pope John Paul's work wasn't permanent. He viewed Spain as a showpiece for his regressive opinions. As Moncada describes the current status, "It is an internal battle of the church, between bishops who were appointed by the Polish pope who are against modernization and who are very conservative, and other priests who are more modern and have less voice."

A wrinkle here and a vestige from the imperial RC church in Europe, Spain subsidizes the church at the current rate of $3.9 billion a year. Zapatero has not matched tharchbishop's's hardball by threatening the funding. He seems far smarter than the archbishop.

From the Massachusetts perspective, the extreme liberalism of Spain is not extreme at all. Only about 400 same-sex couples have married. Zero, zip, nada adoptions to same-sex couples have been completed, but this is because the process for all is very slow there.

Likewise, here even the Boston Herald was aghast at the combined asininity of both the RC hierarchy and our governor. In today's editorial, it pointed out who is likely to be hurt by the latest political ploy.
It's worth noting that of 720 placements over the past 20 years, Catholic Charities of Boston has placed only 13 children - all hard-to-place foster kids who were older or had special needs - with same-sex parents.
In other words, the agency recognizes that a gay couple is not the perfect match in the eyes of the Vatican, so it is done in the rarest of circumstances.
As well as disdaining the hierarchy's ill-considered move, they called Cap'n Brylcreem on trying to play all sides on this. He lusts to be POTUS and panders to the rightwingers nationally. He says that Catholic Charities can't violate discrimination laws, but, ahem, he favors a law exempting them. (The General Court is unlikely to help him here.)

So, as a result of this clumsy action, Catholic Charities could lose millions in funding. Also, as the Herald concludes, "
The Legislature appears mercifully reluctant to join the party. But that means Catholic Charities might very well lose its state license to place needy children in loving, welcoming homes.
"And that would truly be a sin."


Ryan said...

I'm glad the Catholic Church is making me feel better and better about renouncing my faith. For a while I was actually feeling guilty about it!

Uncle said...

See Joan Vennochi in today's (3/5/6) Globe. Time to lose the guilt and encourage anyone else with a shred of compassion to bail too.