The debate that is playing out in the Illinois over whether or not the state’s adoption and foster care is accountable to the state or the Vatican is just another exercise on journey of Church vs. State when it comes to rights. The Catholic Conference of Illinois is trying the place the Pope’s authority over that of Governor Pat Quin when it comes to the laws governing the state of Illinois.
The basis for the Illinois Catholic Conference position is a Vatican document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asserted that “violence” is, in fact, done to children placed in adoptive households of same-sex couples, and is the existence of such a Church document proof the Gays are not welcome in the Church. We must prayerfully challenge such an assertion that violence is done to children by being adopted by same sex parents.
The pertinent section reads as follows: “As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. … Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral.”
That judgment appears in a document issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 31, 2003, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was prefect of the Congregation at that time.
The Church presently is struggling with bigotry when it comes to same sex attraction. For too long we have let stand the ancient hates that divide our various communities because of our belief that the “Teaching Magisterium” is God like when it comes to its teaching. Such a position has more of standing in a pre-Vatican II Church; than a post Vatican II Church.
One only has to look at the recent World Youth Day Gathering to understand that the “Earth is flat” mentality will no longer guide the conversation on sexuality in the Church. The Vatican tried mightily to get the world’s attention with this gathering by holding it in Spain to no avail.
This is just a recent example of how out of touch the Vatican has become, its own PR machine could not garner the attention of the World Press Corp for this event. The Papacy is being dismissed not because of its Catholic nature rather because of its ignorant stands. Increasingly this Papacy is feeling more at home in third world countries where superstition and ignorance are the currency of the day, as opposed to the light of knowledge and science.
As long as the Vatican sides with homophobia, and ignorance it does not side with Christ no matter how pious the words of hate are crafted in the Vatican. However, those standards of judgment should not be placed on either the shoulders of the Illinois Governor, or the Illinois Legislative Assembly.
Only by cutting through the ignorance of homophobia can we expect to achieve justice. This path while difficult is not impossible. We must not use the same tools of ignorance and anger that have been used against us. Homosexuality is not a choice but homophobia is.
Rainbow Sash Movement