KARL KEATING’S E-LETTER
April 11, 2006
KNOW-NOTHINGISM IN SAN FRANCISCO
Three years ago the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Joseph Ratzinger, [NOW POPE—Stan] held that homosexual couples should not be permitted to adopt children.
This year, on March 9, the new head of the congregation (and former Archbishop of San Francisco), William Levada, affirmed that adoption agencies run by Catholics should not place children with homosexual couples.
On March 17 the new Archbishop of San Francisco, George Niederauer, announced that Catholic Charities in San Francisco would cease placing children with homosexuals.
The San Francisco City Council (which doubles as the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Francisco, the City and County being coterminous) didn’t like this at all. In a March 21 resolution the Council said:
“It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great City’s existing and established customs and traditions such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need.”
This is a “tradition”? How many weeks does a practice have to be around before it counts as a tradition? I wish there were a rule that nothing can count as a tradition until its instigators are dead for at least a century.
Ah, but I did like the part about “a foreign country, like the Vatican”–it reminded me of the good old days of nineteenth-century Know-Nothingism and those Thomas Nast cartoons that showed bishops drawn as mitered crocodiles.
Let’s continue with the Council’s resolution:
“The statements of Cardinal Levada and the Vatican” against adoptions by homosexuals “are absolutely unacceptable to the citizenry of San Francisco.”
Just as in Sodom there were a few good people, so in San Francisco there must be a few people, at least among the Catholics, who actually accept the Church’s position. Given this untidy outburst by the City Council, I can understand how such people would hesitate to acknowledge that they think the Church is right. Who wants an angry mob at his door? Anyway, the Council surely exaggerates when it claims to speak for all the citizens of the city.
The resolution continues:
“Same-sex couples are just as qualified to be parents as are heterosexual couples.”
No, they are not. Heterosexual couples have a distinct advantage: One of them is a man, and the other is a woman; one of them is the father, and the other is the mother. Besides, the issue is not so much about which couples are “qualified” as about which arrangement is better for the children. To say the arrangements are equally good for the children is to betray such a lack of common sense that one should be disqualified from further participation in the discussion.
The resolution then says:
“Cardinal Levada is a decidedly unqualified representative of his former home city and of the people of San Francisco and the values they hold dear.”
If so, then this is the highest commendation yet given to the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The next line of the resolution:
“The Board of Supervisors urges Archbishop Niederauer and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to defy all discriminatory directives of Cardinal Levada.”
Hey, why don’t you Supervisors follow the principle you otherwise so ardently admire, the separation of church and state? In other words, butt out. If you don’t like the way the Catholic Church handles adoptions, make some other arrangement. Maybe the Metropolitan Community Church would be willing to take over …
Until next time,
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