Former Chairman of Catholic Charities of Boston Calls Preserve Marriage Washington On Its Lies

It's funny how the anti-marriage forces are apparently unable to make their case without resorting to revisionist history. - promoted by david

It’s one of National Organization for Marriage’s favorite fact-free canards: if same-sex couples are allowed access to civil marriage, religious-based charities will be forced to close up shop. Preserve Marriage Washington, a local arm of NOM trying to block approval of Referendum 74 and thereby repeal Washington state’s freedom to marry law, has included this scurrilous statement in their TV ads (view here):

Religious groups such as Catholic Charities, in Boston and Washington, D.C., have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission — based on their religious beliefs — or accepting this new definition of marriage. As a result, they had to close their adoption program.

Not true, says Peter Meade, chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston during the period PMW is referencing.

“Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities’ decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry,” he told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In fact Catholic Charities had willingly placed over a dozen children with adoptive gay couples before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down freedom to marry prohibitions in the law.

But is wasn’t the court that ordered Catholic Charities to shut their doors. It was the Vatican. And it had nothing to do with marriage law.

“In 2005, tragically and out of the blue, the Vatican ordered our diocese to cease using the single criteria of ‘best interest of the children,’” writes Meade. “They ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households.”

“I objected strenuously for two reasons. First and foremost, the Church hierarchy was telling us to violate the best interests of the children who were in our care. It was an arbitrary edict that, to many of us, had nothing to do with what was best for these kids and undermined our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.

“Here’s a second piece,” writes Meade. “Catholic Charities had long accepted taxpayer money in a contract with state government to handle the adoptions of these difficult-to-place children, many of whom were older, some who had disciplinary issues, and some who faced chronic medical issues that required constant attention.

“We were proud of our work, but we were also required to follow decades-old anti-discrimination laws. It had nothing to do with marriage equality.

“Here are the facts: When organizations accept taxpayer dollars, they need to obey anti-discrimination laws that exist to make sure everyone is treated equally. If we excluded qualified families simply because they were gay or lesbian, we would violate these laws.”

So it was the Vatican that pulled the plug on Catholic Charities of Boston. And it wasn’t because of the advent of marriage equality, but because the Vatican no longer wanted to abide by the anti-discrimination requirements long-attached to the state subsidies that Catholic Charities was receiving.

The board of directors of Catholic Charities of Boston “voted unanimously not to exclude gay and lesbian couples. It viewed the Vatican edict as wrong for children and in violation of state law.” But to no avail. Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley enforced the edict, and in response Mr. Meade and numerous directors resigned in protest.

As they say on The X-Files, the truth is out there. But don’t count on NOM or Preserve Marriage Washington to reveal it. They serve the Vatican, not the truth.

Cross-posted at Pam’s House Blend.


7 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Poor moral reasoning

    The Catholic faith teaches that faith and reason go hand in hand and must inform one another. The faith clearly shows us that orphans are specifically singled out by Christ in the Bible as deserving of our care and concern. Additionally Christ never singles out homosexuality and the Pauline and Old Testament texts clearly condemn pedophilia and male on male rape more so than acts between consenting adults. Our faith teaches us that abortion is not the best solution to unwanted pregnancy, when the mother is unable to care for the child adoption is the best way forward and the best solution. Our reason points us to statistic after statistic that demonstrates conclusively that gay and lesbian parents are just as able to care for kids, and in some cases outperform their straight counterpart. They want to provide these kids a home, these kids want a home, and that is all their is to it. Catholic Charities to avoid complying with just anti-discrimination laws is an unreasonable and unfaithful step on the part of the hierarchy. One of the many reasons this cradle Catholic was happy as a clam at an Anglican mass this morning. No one was excluded from the table of Christ, as it should be.

    • While I respect the elevation of Gene Robinson, ...

      I also remember it causing many churches with the Anglican sect to take their ball and go home or join other exclusionary hate groups. Perhaps things would be better if religion as a whole, just stayed the hell out of politics. I want my separation of Church and State and I want it now.

      • Let the churches do as they choose

        A small number of Episcopal parishes left despite a decade of effort to accommodate their objections. The elevation of Gene Robinson was a stalking-horse — the real objection from those parishes was to the ordination of women. The Episcopal Church remains a welcoming home for ALL PEOPLE who chose to worship in the Episcopal tradition.

        I enthusiastically share your feeling that institutional churches should stay out of politics. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is for those couples who desire a Christian wedding to avoid those institutions that discriminate against the LGBT community. The Episcopal Church is but one of many who eagerly embrace LGBT couples.

        • The *opposition to* the elevation of Gene Robinson ...

          I wish I could edit comments. The beginning of my second sentence should read “The opposition to the elevation of Gene Robinson was a stalking-horse”.

      • The elevation of Gene Robinson had nothing to do with politics

        …except within the church itself. No church/state divide was breached.

        • And everything to do with God

          The elevation of Gene Robinson was an expression of the basic definition of a “sacrament” as expressed by the Episcopal catechism: “An outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace”.

          The Episcopal Church had been welcoming and ordaining gay men and women for an extended period before Gene Robinson was elevated to Bishop. The decision to do so outwardly ratified a change that had already happened in the Episcopal Church. Bishop Robinson was chosen because of his strikingly compassionate ministry, not his gender preference.

          • On Robinson

            I have a ton of respect for him as a theologian and as a Church administrator, his diocese is one of the few in TEC that is growing and making new churches (perhaps from disaffected Catholics or previously unchurched people inspired by his ministry). He combined orthodox teaching on the Eucharist and Trinity with a compassionate commitment to social justice. I could see easily see him and Cardinal Sean working together in another era and it’s truly sad they can’t now.

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