Teens Bring The Smackdown

Saw this piece referenced on David Gibson’s RNS Roundup. Despite a “This is not going to end well” assessment, it was a good thing DeLaSalle High School kids pushed back against a political message delivered by archdiocesan presenters. I’m not convinced that conservatives from the bishops on down have fully thought through the theological and moral aspects of what they’re saying. Case in point from Matt Bliss:

And comments about adopted kids, I found those to be really offensive. There were at least four kids there who are adopted.

Lydia Hannah, an adopted person, objected to the characterization of adopted children as “sociologically unstable.”

To me, it shows the whole wrongheadedness of taking the so-called defense of marriage to ideological extremes. It sounds as if the presentation should have ended at the start of the eighth inning. as one might expect, when the presenters went off-script they found themselves deep into it. More sensible talk from young Mr Bliss:

The first three-quarters of the presentation were really good. They talked about what is marriage and how marriage helps us as a society. Then it started going downhill when they started talking about single parents and adopted kids. They didn’t directly say it, but they implied that kids who are adopted or live with single parents are less than kids with two parents of the opposite sex. They implied that a ‘normal’ family is the best family.

In a world where one or both parents can die before their children are reared to adulthood, we will always suffer from loss in such situations. We also live in a nation where a half-million children live in group homes, foster homes, and institutions because their parents are incapable of caring for them. Uttering slurs against adoption is not the way to go. And besides, if this is such a flawed situation, where are the national workshops on adoption, orphans, widowed parents with children, and what-all? Why does this become such a Big Issue when millions of gays want to overturn the heteroscxual applecart a few thousand people of the same sex want hospital visits and legal protections?

The save-marriage movement betrays itself as anti-homosexual bigotry for no other evidence than few enough of these people cared when it was about orphaned or abandoned children. It has been the parishes on the front lines helping families coping with the loss of a father or mother. The hermeneutic of subtraction reveals this movement as a sham. Save marraige? What about promoting real marriage movements like ME? What about sending all engaged couples on EE? When was the last time these people offered–or even attended–a marriage enrichment experience at the parish, a retreat house, or at a diocesan location?

The so-called “normal” family also has its own challenges these days: pornography on the home computers, materialism in the culture, a federal government that insists on separating families because of non-sensical military adventurism in southwest Asia, not to mention in immigration policy and practice. Throw in the stresses of modern jobs, an economy in the toilet, and the uncertainty of the future … and I think we have the right to know why some Catholics and many bishops are out there attacking people who, mostly, don’t even consider themselves part of the flock. Stay home, bishops, and put resources into Catholic families and Catholic couples. If you want to reach out, start flooding government agencies with Catholic couples who have completed home studies. Please: don’t show your ignorance on adoption. And don’t send lackeys to insult the young.

My assessment from yesterday on this thread on disinvite stands, Archbishop Nienstadt and Bishop McManus and others have failed us not because they’re pushing and doing too much. This is a failure in ministry because they simply don’t do enough.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Hermeneutic of Subtraction, Politics, The Blogosphere. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Teens Bring The Smackdown

  1. Neil says:

    Generally speaking, I don’t like to comment on newspaper articles. But I’m really struck by the awful claim that adopted kids are “sociologically unstable.” It might show us that any movement has disastrous, unintended consequences.

    In this case, I think that the unintended consequence is an emphasis on biological parents, since, of course, gay couples do adopt. See, for instance, Girgis, George, and Anderson’s “What is Marriage?” and its claim that “Children … can have only two parents— a biological mother and father,” as well as its emphasis on “wedded, biological parents.”

    The problem is that Scripture tells us that God adopts. In Romans, St Paul tells us that we have received a “spirit of adoption,” and, later, that God grafted us “contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree.” Earlier, God told Ezekiel to remind Jerusalem that God had adopted her when she was “thrown out into the open field.” What’s important here, as Andrew Marr tells us, is God’s intentionality. And, then, that’s what makes a parent – when we think of fathers, we should first think about our Father, who art in heaven, who has adopted us.

    (While we might assume that adoption is second-best, because it seems to involve rejection and loss, I don’t think that we should assume that biological parenting doesn’t involve rejection and loss. Adoption might even bring greater self-awareness.)



    PS I should also add that the comparison of gay sex with bestiality is just bizarre and unwarranted by official Catholic teaching. The presenters could have said that sex between two men was an eroticized friendship or something like that. At best, they were terribly unprepared …

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks, Neil, for commenting.

    Agreement on the source material–I would have felt on firmer ground had I been attending the event or reading a transcript. Obviously, the teens had strong feelings stirred by this, and there’s no telling what the presenters were actually saying, because it’s quite likely that by the time the anger was in full flow, the hearing of words may or may not have been accurate.

    For myself, the criticism of adoption is, as most all of our readers here know, a particular flashpoint for me. Adoption is, by definition and in the cultural context, a pro-life activity. Criticism of adoption can be limited to a specific process as it might be perceived as unfair or unjust or even immoral. Particular adoptions do fail, and as such, have particular flaws which must be identified so that some hope of healing or correction can exist.

    The blanket criticism of adoption, especially under the guise of criticizing gay people who adopt, is a gravely serious matter, and not just because I get p***ed off about it. Some people seem willing to use parent-less children for political gain. They do so, it seems, without much understanding or compassion for those who are actually the most needy.

    If the political pro-life movement were truly pro-life and moral–and I include bishops in this criticism–then Catholic couples would be eagerly recruited to flood the lists of prospective parents. That couples, even couples with children, do not flood such lists betrays the shallowness of the pro-life movement, and now, this so-called “pro-marriage” effort.

  3. Jen says:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my nieces, it’s that they’re remarkably good at seeing through spin and hype. (To put it politely.)

  4. FrMichael says:

    Another diseased member of the Body of Christ: hopefully the archdiocese fires the corrupt dissenters obviously running the place and brings in some faithful educators.

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