Mar 21, 2006

Gay Adoption: Good or bad idea?

From Ignatius Insight:

"The chief administrative officer of San Francisco’s Catholic Charities is an openly gay man who has a daughter he adopted four years ago with his homosexual partner.

That fact summarizes the challenge confronting the new archbishop of San Francisco, George Niederauer, in the face of the burgeoning controversy over Catholic Charities’ adoption placements with homosexual couples.

The controversy was brought to the boiling point by a March 9th directive from Archbishop William Levada, former archbishop of San Francisco and now prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith. Levada acknowledged that children had been placed with homosexual parents under his watch, and said it could no longer occur...."

Here's the problem...because gay marriage is such a political football and because homsoexuality is often not studied to the extent it should be no studies with regard to children who are raised in "gay families" have been explored in depth. Most are merely anecdotal.

The harshness of debate is possibly (note the word possibly, please) doing much harm to children who could benefit from having a loving family caring for their needs. Living in an orphanage simply sucks--no matter how good an orphanage is. Neglect is always occuring depite best intentions.

Now we should also note that other studies on adoptees state that they simply do better with a mother AND father...although some single parent homes do exceptionally well. By and large though, the former is cited as being true. As adoption has come more into vogue, I suspect that the numbers of how well children actually do come crashing down--naturally all adoptive parents can't be good ones.

As usual, nobody's listening to one another; nobody's exploring these issues deeply; and therefore we're not looking at the big picture.

Mar 15, 2006

Does Magister have the goods on the Pope or not?

Over at Amy Welborn's Blog, Open Book, which I enjoy from time to time.

Kevin Miller (who you can find at Heart, Mind and Strength) and Rich Leonardi are going at it in the comment page here:

The long and the short of it stems from the whole Pro-choice politician fiasco where the US Bishops were at odds with one another about refusing or not refusing communion to Catholic politicians who favor abortion. At the time, Cardinal McCarrick sent a memo of the impending policy that they drafted to the then Cardinal Ratzinger to see if it was in line with the directives from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Short answer from Ratzy was that they were in compliance.

So here's the skinny on the argument:

A blogger named Magister has posted information that basically states that Ratzinger was upset with the USCCB's directives.

Kevin Miller points out that the then Cardinal Ratzinger sent a memo stating that the USCCB policies were very much in accord with their directives on the matter of pro-choice politicians and the Eucharist. I think any moron could tell that the memo was authentic and we don't really have any reason to think otherwise. If it wasn't wouldn't Ratzinger rant and rave that he didn't write that?

So why then does Magister suggest something to the contrary--which is what I believe Kevin is suggesting is a question we should be asking. To me, that sounds legit. What is Magister implying? Was there another memo? Was Ratzinger under pressure to give assent to the policy by someone? What?

And if we look at the context more accurately than Rich even came close to doing we'll see something very interesting and sheds light on McCarrick positively here:

1) The memo acknowledges receipt of the policy from McCarrick to Cardinal Ratzinger. So it's McCarrick who was making sure that the USCCB had all it's ducks in a row and not Ratzinger issuing some kind of theological smackdown (which could be a new fox series starring Kevin and Rich on Tuesday nights at 9:00PM).

2) With that in mind, why would McCarrick share the memo? They were already on the right track. There wasn't a need to share the memo.

3) With regards to Magister, if he is stating that Cardinal Ratzinger was upset with the USCCB then he needs to produce some evidence to that fact. Anything else is simply poor journalism and smacks of libel. Kevin is right to ask that exact question. Where the heck is the proof that Ratzinger was unhappy?

There isn't any. Unless Magister has an ace up his sleeve. In the words of Jesus: "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if rightly, why hit Me?"

Democrats' Statement

I posted this at dot commonweal today...but it bears repeating.

55 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives came out with a "Statement of Principles"

Perhaps the Democrats are taking a page from the GOP, who regularly co-opt the language of Catholic Social Teaching (how many times have we heard Pres. Bush say "culture of life?").

The document as a whole, is good and I found interesting and was surprised that they included abortion in their argument. However this may be an exercise in futility.

People are voting republican in our country because they have a longing for security (with 9-11 and Columbine and now Katrina and the Tusnami ramping up people's fears). While Bush made a mess in New Orleans this may not resonate with middle class voters because they do not have a vital concern for the poor (unfortunately). Middle class folks would have been able to flee Katrina as opposed to the poor who were exploited in the worst way in this disaster. So the Democrats co-opting Catholic Social Teaching in an effort to link Catholic voters with a concern for the poor is likely to fall on deaf ears even amongst the most pious conservative Catholics.

The GOP wins not because the majority of people are religious but rather because they are selfish--plain and simple. They are concerned about their own individual lives and religiously they only concern themselves with their immediate need of security. So 9-11 effected them because of its randomness. Anyone could be in a random building that gets hit by a terrorist. Same is true for Columbine...any high school kid could get shot up any day of the week. The majority of the rich and middle class escaped the natural disaster of Katrina and the tsunami was half a world away--so they will naturally have less impact.

The Democrats have two choices: they can start talking about "smart security" and ensure Americans that they will remain vigilantly on guard with regards to securing the nation, or they can attempt to convince Americans of the need to be concerned with one another.

It looks like they are going with the latter...and that's a tough road to hoe.

Mar 14, 2006

Adoption, buying a home, and more

The blogging has been light for the last month because I've been sequestering myself in my office and trying to finish my book, Googling God for Paulist Press. Only few re-writes needed on two chapters at this juncture from where I sit...hopefully the editors will agree.

Adoption for us took a slight turn south. Our agency in Nicaragua informed us that Patricia, the little girl we are looking to adopt has not been declared abandoned. Her mother is unable to care for her because she is financially unable to do so, but she stays in contact with her from time to time at the orphanage. The director there believes that adoption is the best option for Patricia and is going to ask the mother to consider it.

I've gone through the mill prayerfully about this. I love Patricia and I think that I would be a good dad for her...and Marion, my wife would be a great mom for her as well. But how do you ask a mother for her child, even when you know that she is unable to give her the care that she needs. She's still her mama! That is a bond that is impossible to break and nor would I want to. Yet, I know that Patricia needs more than she's getting in Nicaragua and I can provide that for her. So my prayer today is that God will show us what is best for this little girl and will move the heart of her mother to discern that as well.

On the homefront, I think we may have found a co-op to buy with the help of my sister and brother in law. We will need a 2BR apartment in order to move forward with the homestudy for adoption and I think I found on that I can afford.

Was interviewed by New York Magazine today about catholic blogging. Seems they think the blogging awards were a big deal. Dunno. I wasn't waiting with baited breath on any of them with the exception of my buddy, Mark Mossa, SJ's award for blog by a seminarian. Check out "You Duped Me Lord."

Mar 13, 2006

I'm a racist

Ok—here’s a moment of clarity for me from my Examen today….
I was house hunting in Woodside, Queens and As we walked back towards the subway, we witnessed a man (for lack of a better term, as you will soon see) punch a woman in the stomach after she has spoken harshly to him. This was in broad daylight and there was a child walking with them (presumably theirs). The woman doubled over in pain and began sobbing. I stood there dumbfounded and began to walk away. I wish I had a baseball bat because I think I would've used it on the guy. Unfortunately, I was afraid to do anything at the time out of my own fear.

Well…that moment popped up for me today when doing my Examen. For those unfamiliar with the examen, it is a method of prayer that St. Ignatius of Loyola developed where you rewind your previous day in your mind, as you would view a film. You try to see what really happened in your day. You become thankful for each moment, make amends to do better the next day. It has helped me determine much about the way I act towards others and has made me be honest with myself.

I should also say that the moments before that moment popped up as well. I had just finished pointing out to my wife how the neighborhood changed as we walked closer to the train. I even said that as you get closer to the train station you start to see "fewer white faces and more bodegas and graffiti."

Well…that’s kind of a racist statement…don’t you think? (Cue the Avenue Q song)

The big moment of clarity came when I realized the man who punched the woman was WHITE. Even more telling was that the woman was Hispanic and that he punched her in front of her kid (possibly their kid).

When I talk about "bad neighborhoods" I often assume that it will be the minorities who will make a neighborhood crime ridden. Interestingly enough, in this neighborhood, it was “whitey” that committed the only crime we saw that day. And this neighborhood that we're condisering living in is a nice one at that.

The worst part about this is that we are trying to adopt a little Nicaraguan girl into our home. As we move forward and try to bring this beautiful girl into our lives I think I need to be more sensitive to the subject of race. I think we both grew up with some overt racism in our lives…maybe even in our own families (I know there was in mine!).

I pray today to be more sensitive about sweeping statements. That woman could easily have been my own daughter, precious and beautiful and beaten by a thoughtless and vile person who happens to share my skin color and probably my ethnicity.

My thoughts about crime existing near the subway is accurate. However, it could just as easily be crime committed by a white man.

Father, forgive me. Make me a better man...a better father to be. Allow me to unite people instead of dividing them and to see all people as you do with love and preciousness. May I teach my daughter to be these lessons in my home and may we all live in the peace and harmony which you provide us. Amen.

Googling God

Googling God
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