The Catholic Church: Rejecting Children, Rejecting Progress

It's not much of a surprise that the Catholic Church is seeing a decline in recent years. Church attendance has fallen to less than 30 percent in Italy, where 95 percent describe themselves as Catholic. Here in America, 400,000 left the church in 2008 alone.

The church has been hit hard by child sex abuse scandals, causing many to rethink their affiliation. Many are also having a hard time reconciling their personal convictions with the Church's views on contraception, gender equality, and reproductive rights.

As if those reasons weren't enough to decimate the church's attendance, we have this 'issue' of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

When it comes to homosexuality, the Catholic Church, unlike many Protestant churches, will not budge. Not only will they not budge, they are also shooting themselves in the foot. They are guaranteeing the decline of new life in the Church by rejecting the very children they need to survive (and, in turn, rejecting the parents, and potential parents, of their own communities).

In Illinois, the Church has decided that, rather than let same-sex couples adopt, they would rather get out of the foster care business altogether.
Since March, state officials have been investigating whether religious agencies that receive public funds to license foster care parents were breaking anti-discrimination laws if they turned away openly gay parents.

In discussions after the civil union bill went into effect in June, representatives for Catholic Charities in Joliet, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford and Belleville told the state that accommodating prospective foster parents in civil unions would violate Catholic Church teaching that defines marriage between a man and a woman.
The Church has since called off efforts to keep in the foster care business by dropping lawsuits against the state, and agreeing to transfer over 1,000 foster care children to other agencies.

The Catholic Church simply refuses to evolve. The number of gay couples who adopted tripled in the last decade. This is a battle the Church will not win.
According to the Adoption Institute, at least 60% of U.S. adoption agencies surveyed accept applications from non-heterosexual parents. Nearly 40% of agencies have knowingly placed children with gay families. About half the agencies surveyed reported a desire for staff training to work with such clients.

"If one agency doesn't serve you and you're gay, then another agency will," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Adoption Institute. "You don't need 100% agency participation. The bottom line is, if you're gay or lesbian in America and you want to adopt, you can."

About a third of the adoptions by lesbians and gay men were "open," and the birth families' initial reactions regarding sexual orientation were very positive, according to the study.
Contrast these realities with the stunted logic of the Church:
“We believe that children are best served by being in the home of a married couple or a single individual,” [Catholic Conference executive director Robert Gilligan] explained. “That's not a radical notion.”

He added that homes provided by married couples or single, committed individuals “is in the best interest of the child and quite frankly, I think society should recognize that that's in the best interest of the child.”
Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

While there is no reason to believe that single parents can't, or don't, do the job (so many do it extremely well), it is absurd to posit that two loving parents of the same sex are not as capable as a single parent, especially in an economy where at least one parent must work full time to make ends meet.

Good luck, Catholic Church. While this latest step certainly isn't the nail in the coffin, it isn't doing you any favors.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute:
More than 6-in-10 (62%) Millennials (age 18-29) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, 69% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, 71% favor civil unions, and 79% favor employment discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people.

Slightly more Catholics (46%) believe the Catholic Church’s position on the issue of gay and lesbian people is too conservative than believe it is about right (43%).

Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) Millennials agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues. Among seniors, only 37% agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental and 48% disagree.

Among religious groups, 73% of non-Christian affiliated, 64% of Catholics, 60% of black Protestants, 59% of white mainline Protestants, and 51% of white evangelical Protestants say places of worship contribute either a lot or a little to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth.
The train has left the station, dudes.  It seems most don't want you on board, anyway.


  1. With an average lifespan (in homosexuals) somewhere between 45 and 52 years of age, and therefore the continual push of agenda to recruit new homosexuals to keep up their lifestyle, I think it is the LGBT community who ought to rethink what it means to "evolve" and "progress," not the Catholic Church. As for the high rate of suicide it is because homosexuals are not happy people. I'm sure you've noticed the extreme anger Christians are met with on certain websites. Anger leads to a lot of bad things like suicide.
    You've also forgotten that the Church has given away milions of dollars in free healthcare to homosexual AIDS patients, while millions of public dollars are spent on AIDS research, increase in insurance rates and lost taxes due to early death in homosexuals. Your title is fitting. This lifestyle is "rejecting children, rejecting progress."

  2. With an average lifespan (in poorly educated bigots) somewhere between 13 and 80 years of age, and therefore the lengthy push of agenda to prevent the education of potentially intelligent humans, I know that the LBGT community will ultimately help our race to evolve and progress, in spite of certain 'religious' beliefs that are oppressive. As for the high rate of suicide, it is because some young people are made to feel less than human by those who would cast the first stone, perpetuating baseless, vicious lies about something they really know nothing. The truth is that many religious people are not happy with themselves. I'm sure you've noticed extreme anger that then entire world does not subscribe to the exact Christian morals that some prescribe. Anger leads to a lot of bad things like divorce, murder, broken china, arguments and loss of sleep.
    You've also forgotten that the Church has given away millions of dollars in free healthcare to single mothers and children born out of wedlock, some of whom have crack habits and AIDS babies (because disease knows no bias toward sexual identity) while millions of public dollars are spent to prevent tax paying American citizens from sharing committed lifelong relationships, (which extends life expectancy) and paying more taxes for the rest of their lives.
    Anonymous commenters should really fact check a little more instead of spewing ignorant statements amounting to an anemic rebuttal to a well backed op ed.

  3. I'd like to know where the lifespan statistics come from, as I cannot verify them...this is just another anti-gay rant like so many, and the whole things is so stale. Gay rights are human rights...gay people deserve the SAME rights as all of us. I know plenty of gays who are happy people...and have no plans whatever to commit suicide. And no, I'm not gay myself. I just believe in equality. Period.

  4. The lifespan statistics are made up. There is no basis for them besides standard ignorant hatred of things that seem different.

  5. That's what I figured, Anonymous #2, and that is why I take such comments as that from Anonymous #1 as nothing but vitriol. Not only that, but vitriol spewed by an idiot, as only an idiot would try to make a point using made up "facts" and expect not to be called on it. Thing is, do it once, get caught, and nothing you say thereafter can be trusted. Touche.

  6. I believe Anonymous 1 is pulling from the same bag of tricks as Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (a designated hate group):

    "In response to SPLC’s myth No. 4, “Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals,” Fischer wrote: “According to an extensive study of the homosexual community in Vancouver, B.C., [Canada] active participation in the homosexual lifestyle will rob an individual of a significant portion of his life span. Say the researchers, ‘[L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.’ In fact, they observe that participation in the homosexual lifestyle knocks life expectancy for a Canadian male back to what it was in 1871.”

    Again, Fischer ignores that the authors of that 1997 study updated it in 2001, pointing out that advances in treatment of HIV-AIDS even at that point had significantly improved the expected longevity of those infected, which would inevitably narrow any gap between gay and straight life spans caused by the disease. Moreover, the authors explicitly rejected the attempts of anti-gay organizations to construe the 1997 observations to justify denigration of gays.

    “These homophobic groups appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being,” the authors wrote in their 2001 update. “It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor.”

    “I am aghast that the misrepresentation of these data continues,” Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of global health sciences at the University of California, San Diego, and one of the authors of the two reports, told Hatewatch in an E-mail this week."


  7. Staying entirely out of the debate on whether it is right or wrong, I have a thought here. . .
    You are looking at a church like it is a business. . . but it isn't. The Catholic church bases it's decisions off its core theology, which doesn't change based on the culture. That seems very foreign to most people, who think in terms of popular demand, but that Catholic church doesn't. They believe they are doing what is in line with their faith, they believe they are being obedient. You all are saying they are full or hate, or terrible people, but your just fighting hate with hate. Whether or not you AGREE, try stepping in their shoes. If you believe GOD told you something, would you do differently just because popular demand tells you to?

    You are fighitng hate with hate, and claiming your just fighting it with "logic" or "facts" or whatever, and thats fine, but you won't change a thing. How do you feel when someone starts a sentence with "let me tell you why you are wrong"? Not good, and you don't listen to a single word that person says, and your only goal is to disprove them, even if they have some validity to what they say or not.
    Just saying. . .

  8. To the most recent anonymous comment, I agree you have a valid point about one's beliefs and about pitting one form of hatred against another. Here's my personal problem with the religious anti-gay/traditional marriage arguments in this country: we are not a religious state. Many of the references to god and religion in our laws were not written by the founding fathers of tis country, rather were added in the 50's as a response to a particular political climate. Remember why people left England and toiled to create a nation? We believe in separation of church and state. You are welcome to believe and practice whatever religion you choose. You may not use your personal religious views to oppress, subvert, persecute – to deny my rights as an equal citizen of this country. You can't. At all. Arguments about gay people even remotely based on religious, moral grounds are plainly baseless.

  9. To the Anonymous commenter from 10:07pm Nov 15:

    Whether they like it or not, The Catholic Church *are* a business. By being in the foster care business, they are interacting with and contracting with the public -- entering into legally binding contracts with 'customers,' who have certain protections under the law. The fact that they have archaic ideas about right and wrong based on their religion does not exempt them from complying with the law.

    The Catholic Church can't have it both ways. They can't own a multi-billion dollar smut-peddling online bookstore without opening themselves up to accusations of hypocrisy (http://www.defshepherd.com/2011/11/catholic-church-makes-billions-peddling.html). They can't condemn behaviors while simultaneously going to great length to cover up those very behaviors within their ranks.

    The Catholic Church, although bound to their doctrine, is not immune to evolution. They have, time and time again, updated their views to relate to modern society. They have changed their views on many hot-button issues as we have learned more about the way the world works, and as society has become more accepting of those issues (for instance: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/world/europe/24pope.html).

    The church is a business, maybe not primarily, but they cannot operate without 'customers,' and resources, and as such, if they cease to relate to those customers, they become irrelevant and join others in the dustbin of discarded religions.

  10. So to clarify my posts, I'll put a "name" after them. I am the anonymous post from 10pm on the 15th. . .

    To the anonymous who posted right after me - i absolutely get what you mean. i wasn't arguing right or wrong, I clarified that, and I wasn't arguing for or against.

    I was attempting to have people step in the shoes from the other side. You are right, this is a Country that, even though founded by religious men, does not condone one specific set of beliefs over another. Remember, even Atheism is a "religion" in the fact that it preaches a "belief" of there being no god. . . Science cannot prove or disprove a god, so belief on either side is based on a kind of "faith". The beauty of the country is that no one faith has power over another, its not excluding religion, it's equally protecting all people no matter their faith.

    Again, im not arguing for or against. . .I am tired of seeing both sides attack each other in pure hate. Each side plays the 'enlightened' card, and each side attacks with equal hate. That is where the absurdity comes in.

    to "eshep"
    The Catholic church is NOT a business by THEIR standards. any basic college professor will tell you when you try to state what something "is" when its abstract like a religion or concept, you MUST (if you are trying to be in any way mature, rational, academic, or fair) state it in the way that thing/person/group would identify themselves.

    So by the Catholics standards, they are NOT a business, and they are NOT trying to be a business.
    Side note, foster care should NEVER be called a business no matter who runs it, that is a travesty.

    That being said, they are indeed entering into legal contracts. That being said, no law can force them to do something that is against what their religion calls them to do, remember that separation of church and state? It works both ways.

    Quoting the same website a discussion is taking place on is not a solid way to convince me of your position. "I think I'm right, look why I think i am right based off something else I also wrote". . . You want to give an expose on Catholics, thats cool, I can give you the same on virtually any busiuness/religion/government out there. EVERY institution has screwups inside of it. . .

    The church has indeed updates its views on many things. Thats true. If you want to dive in to the discussion, you should be prepared to fully understand the difference between Tradition (with a big and small T), Doctrine, Dogma, and which supersedes which, as well as the heirarchy of the Church and its authority as you move up. . . If you cannot properly identify all parts, and exactly how they work, of something, how accurately can you represent it?

    Any change in any serious teaching of the church goes through an extreme process of scrutiny and discernment before the change is made, certain things will never change. Why have so many churches broken off from the Catholic church? exactly because there are some things it will NOT change. Telling a 2000 year old institution to jump because you want it to, or because the majority of a country wants it to, doesn't hold much weight. You and I will both be dead, and it will still exist.

    From the religious context, even if the church deminished to 0 people in it, the bible tells that the "very stones would profess" the faith. Again, you are trying to argue like it is a business, and it is not by its own identity a business. . .


  11. Hi Wes.
    You argue your points very well. Thank you.

    First, I want to make it clear that in no way to I profess to be an academic, or a journalist, or an expert on the Catholic tradition. I am simply a guy with a blog and a desire to call attention to injustices and other roadblocks to progress (yes, I understand that my idea of progress is not the same as everyone else's).

    The blog has been, and is, a place where I share my observations about religion/science/culture from my perspective -- a humanist, father, husband, lgbt ally, progressive, etc. As such, I don't have much patience for morality that is based in supernatural and religious dogma.

    I know that the Church does not call itself a business. I realize that those statements were in some ways hyperbolic. But I also think we're naive to not acknowledge that the Catholic church owns multi-billion dollar businesses (I apologize that the news item I posted to was on my own blog -- it did link out to sources), and anyone who has seen the Vatican knows that they do like their money.

    The purpose of the post was to highlight another example of the Catholic church slipping into irrelevancy. Yes, I understand that the Catholic church will still exist after I die. That does not mean that the church is not a dinosaur, that it is losing throngs of their congregation each year as they become less and less relevant to those who are able to look beyond the literal interpretation of ancient religious texts and orders handed down by a man in a suit.

    I don't buy that atheism or humanism is a religion. These are simply the lack of religion. I know you know that (I noted your use of quotes). You are correct that science cannot prove or disprove a god. However, science can show us that a child with two loving same-sex parents will be just as we-ll adjusted, if not more, than a child with only one parent.

    It is this willful ignorance that is disingenuous. They might as well simply say that they don't like gays, that gays are an abomination in the eyes of God, and they don't want to put a child in a house of sin.

    Telling a religious institution to change because I want it to, because I (and many others) see that their beliefs cause harm to others, may not hold much weight in some people's eyes. But I would argue that holding a mirror up to harmful religious claims does more good than not.

    Thomas Jefferson said, "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

    And the notion that homosexuals are 'sinners,' who choose a lifestyle of sin, and who are incapable of providing a loving home for a foster child, is quite an unintelligible proposition.

  12. I'm waiting for science to sufficiently advance so that parents can be assured their child will be born heterosexual and end this charade.

  13. Hey Eshep,
    Sorry I didn't respond for a few weeks, work has been crazy. I totally respect why you write this blog, it's purpose, and your right to do it. Anyone who stands up for what they believe in, whether i agree or not, I respect their effort.
    I know why you write the blog, I just feel that any post can only gain merit through attempting to write with understanding of people/things views it writes about.
    I just bumped across this article, and thought it might be something you would have an opinion on. You say the notion about homosexuals being sinners is unintelligible, again I have no desire to join a side of the debate, just encourage the conversation to move in a way that has the least vitriol and can do the most to bridge people together. It might seem crazy to you, but to others, it is part of their life and they believe it totally. here is the link http://youngandcatholic.net/2011/07/catholic-and-gay/
    This world will always have divisions and disagreements, I just wonder if someday we will get to a point where everyone doesn't hate each other for those disagreements.


  14. Hi Wes,
    I hope it's clear that I don't hate anyone for disagreeing with me on the this issue. I don't hate anyone.
    I like to think I'm a tolerant guy. My belief system is partly based on the idea of tolerance. But as soon as someone else's belief system interferes with another human being's rights, I feel it is my duty as a good human being to denounce the attempt to enforce those beliefs. If one's beliefs do not hamper anyone else's ability to enjoy the rights to which they are entitled (whether basic human rights, or legal rights), then there's no problem.

    Freedom of religion also includes my freedom to not be subjected to religious concepts that I do not subscribe to. For example, the concept of sin is not something that has any application in my life, or in my belief system.

    I understand that my above comments do not relate perfectly to the issue of church-provided adoption services, but hopefully it helps to illustrate my point.

    Related to this particular issue, I don't feel that a religious body should be able to venture into the public sector (by, say, running an online bookstore, as the Catholic Church does, or engaging in a public service such as day care, etc.) without playing by the rules that apply to the rest of the public sector.

    Now, if they wish to operate a service that is for their parishoners, and open only to members, then they can choose to employ any religion-based discrimination they see fit. That is their right.

    I'm not a lawyer, and probably need to research what is legal/illegal as far as these things go. But that's my take.

    Thanks for stopping by. I will read the piece you linked to. I understand that people have beliefs and to them those beliefs are truths. But we need to be able to draw the line and determine which values are secular and which have no secular purpose (and are basically just laws handed down from a supreme being in scripture -- and which make no sense to those who do not subscribe to those particular religious ideas).