2011-10-09

A moral solution for Peoria?

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

It seems that the Diocese of Peoria has given up the fight and walked off course in regards to the State of Illinois adoption fiasco. It has been reported that the Diocese of Peoria has dropped the legal challenge to a state law requiring equal treatment for same-sex couples in adoption and foster-care services. The Diocese instead has come up with what they feel is a solution [emphasis mine]:

The Peoria office of Catholic Charities, which faced the loss of government contracts [so what?] because it would not comply with the new state law, has chosen to set up a new organization, without formal ties to the Catholic Church, to handle adoption and foster-care cases. The staff of Catholic Charities will join the new organization, which will abide by the new regulations.

This false solution was simply to remove "Catholic" from the name of the organization. The fact that the diocese is still responsible for setting up an organization that performs a function incompatible with the Catholic Faith is disappointing.

"I have a responsibility to assure that Catholic Charities operates consistently with the teachings and values of the Church," said Peoria’s Bishop Daniel Jenky in explaining the decision to drop the legal case. The newly established office will not follow the precepts of the Church, but it will not operate under the "Catholic" label.

Bishop Jenky, thank you for continuing Catholic Charities in some capacity, and withholding the "Catholic label" from the organization that certainly is not Catholic. However, responsibility does not simply end at appearances. How is this non-catholic private adoption organization an example of fighting the fight? Where is the perseverance that some of the other Illinois Dioceses are showing?

Dr. Jeff Mirus writes:
The good news is that Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky is aware of his responsibility “to assure that Catholic Charities operates consistently with the teachings and values of the Church.” Thus Catholic Charities will divest itself of its State adoption/foster care contracts. Indeed, the Chicago Tribune reports that Catholic Charities will gradually give up all State contracts, which now total some $23 million, and will soon rely exclusively on private funding. That is a highly moral stance, and it also takes at least one diocesan Catholic Charities system in a direction from which it should never have deviated in the first place.

But the bad news is truly troubling. While Bishop Jenky recognizes his responsibility for the moral character of Catholic Charities, nothing has been reported to indicate that he is equally aware of his responsibility for the moral conduct of the persons who make up the staff of Catholic Charities.

The Church is not required to vacate her adoption and foster care role in Peoria because she has some peculiar disciplinary requirement concerning her formal institutional role. Rather, she is required to vacate this role because it is immoral for any person to place adoptive and foster care children with gay couples. Not only does it place such children at increased risk, but it directly participates in the mythology of gay marriage, which is based on a deep denial of reality with serious and inescapable moral consequences.

[...]

Contrary to what is apparently a widespread belief, moral behavior is not required of us only when we happen to work for official Catholic agencies which are actively seeking (as is not always the case) to maintain a specifically Catholic reputation. Moral behavior is required of all of us all of the time.


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