Below is a press release from Catholic Charities regarding its foster care and public adoption program. As a result of the new law legalizing same sex marriage in the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities was informed that it would be ineligible to continue to provide these services in our nation’s capital, and has reluctantly moved the program to another provider. I have a few comments in Red below.

 Catholic Charities Continues 82 Service Programs After Transferring Foster Care and Public Adoption Program to New Provider February 1

Move kept kids, foster families and staff together; no other programs expected to be affected

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington transitioned its foster care and public adoption program in the District of Columbia to the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) on February 1, 2010. Catholic Charities remains committed to continuing to serve the vulnerable of the District of Columbia through the 82 programs the agency operates in the region.

 Although Catholic Charities has an 80-year legacy of high quality service to the vulnerable in our nation’s capital, the D.C. Government informed Catholic Charities that the agency would be ineligible to serve as a foster care provider due to the impending D.C. same sex marriage law.

 This is the only program Catholic Charities anticipates will be impacted by the law.

 With a priority on ensuring continuity of care for the foster families and children, Catholic Charities worked closely with D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) to seamlessly transition the program to the NCCF. This transition includes seven staff, 43 children and their biological families, as well as 35 foster families. The transition was scheduled to coincide with the expiration of the current contract between Catholic Charities and CFSA.

 “Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades. We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District. We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful. I am grateful to our dedicated staff and foster families who have been a part of our family.  The difference each staff member and foster care parent makes for a child in need of a loving home is immeasurable. I am confident that NCCF will serve the children and families well,” said Ed Orzechowski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.

We have already discussed in the pages of this blog the whole way the DC City Council forced the issue of recognizing so-called “Same-sex Marriage” through. A few pertient facts are worth recalling.

  1. They refused to allow a matter of this importance to be placed on a ballot for the citizens of DC to vote. Two requests for a referendum we were rejected by the Board of Elections who claim that human rights matters cannot be the matter of a vote.
  2. The DC Council  refused to allow religious exemptions to the law that requires recognition of these so-called “Same-sex Marriages.” This refusal was despite being informed by legal counsel to Catholic Charities that it would likely exclude Catholic Charities from receiving any funding from the city in the future and thus would endanger Catholic Charities’ current ability to effectively serve the poor.
  3. The DC Council also imposed a steep time-line for compliance (March) wherein Catholic Charities and other religious groups would have to either comply or hastily hand over the keys. This allowed  little time for smooth transitions to other providers. In this case CC was able to effect as smooth a transition as possible but haste in matters like these should never have been imposed by the City.

There will be those who continue to accuse the Church of “abandoning the poor” over this dispute about Gay “Marriage.” But for the record it is the  City that has forced this. The Church has never moved. It is the City which has imposed severe legislation with a draconian time line. It is the City which has forced Catholic Charities to choose either funding to serve the poor or its religious faith. It is the City that has done all this. Catholic Charities will continue to serve the poor using monies it can obtain elsewhere through Charitable donations etc. But as a Catholic organization Catholic Charities cannot cast aside its faith just for money, even if that money is to serve the poor. We cannot serve the Poor in Jesus’ Name if we tell Jesus to take a back seat.

Shame on the City for kicking a fine service provider to the curb and even greater shame on the City for forcing this to be done so quickly with no time to prepare either CC workers or the clients they serve. Thankfully for the children and the families involved the NCCF is capable but this transition should not be forced so suddenly. No one is served by abrupt change like this.

9 Responses

  1. Karen LH says:

    I hope that someone will take this to the courts. I can’t see how this isn’t a violation of the first amendment.

  2. Michael Torhan says:

    I don’t understand the hurry to back out on the part of the Archdiocese. It’s not as if there would have been a line of gay couples at the door wanting to become clients – Catholic Charities would hardly make one’s short list of sources from which to adopt kids.

    Second, and with regard to being forced by the city to adopt fair labor practices for gay employees…presumably there has been a mechanism in place to somehow filter out and prevent the hiring of gays in the first place. So why the worries about compliance?

  3. Rebecca Freeman says:

    Excuse me, regarding your comment, “We cannot serve the Poor in Jesus’ Name if we tell Jesus to take a back seat.” Jesus never said anything opposing gay marriage–nor does the Bible for that matter!

  4. Bender says:

    Jesus never said anything opposing gay marriage

    He never said a lot of things about things that did not, do not, and cannot logically exist.

    But He did have a lot to say about things that do, including truth, and including the truth of marriage.

    And the Church has no problem with fair labor practices. It is unfair labor practices that the Church has a problem with.

  5. Kurt says:

    In this action, a matter has come out that I think is really a larger issue than what is being talked about.

    Seven Catholic Charities social workers work directly with these children, their biological families as well as current and prospective foster parents. All seven agreed to work for the new agency. Not one raised an objection of conscience to living their vocation under the new sponsor.

    You can look at this in that Catholic Charities never hired people with a Catholic understanding of this issue or you can look at it in that those whose life work is in this vocation do not support the stance taken by CC.

    But either way, it suggests to me that CC should not have been doing this work they way they were doing this work. Does the rest of CC operate this way?

    • Mike says:

      I think there’s another possibility you may want to consider…the social workers knew CC’s position so the matter never came up before. Now, the immediate choice is their jobs have gone to a new agency and the only question is do I need that paycheck? They have time to find a new position and don’t have to make any moral choices now unless/until the subject does come up. I would make the same decision if I was dependent on a paycheck

  6. Kurt says:

    Mike,

    My understanding is that they were eligible for other positions at CC so therefore that seems not to be the case.

  7. BYWHATRIGHT says:

    The new District of Columbia SAME-SEX “Marriage” Law is Invalid and Meaningless.

    The DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) removed the ability to construe the phrase “all rightful subjects of legislation” in the DC Home Rule Act to mean the DC Home Rule Act delegated legislative power to pass an ordinance on a subject of legislation that defines “marriage” to mean anything other than a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

    The DOMA specifically states: “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, . . . the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” It is noted that DOMA does not say “In determining the meaning of the word marriage as used in any Act of Congress”. Rather, the scope of DOMA is plenary and extends to every provision of any Act of Congress.

    So, let’s turn to an Act of Congress called the DC Home Rule Act the enactment of which preceded DOMA. Section 302 of DC Home Rule Act specifically states: “Except as provided in sections 601, 602, and 603, the legislative power of the District shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation.” Hence, no meaning may be given to such phrase that construes it to extend legislative power to the District to pass an ordinance on a legislative subject that provides “marriage” means anything other than a legal union between one man and one woman as husband.

    While the DC Home Rule Act’s use of the phrase “all rightful subjects of legislation” could perhaps have been construed, when originally enacted, to encompass same sex marriages inasmuch as sections 601, 602, and 603 did not then exclude legislation on that subject; the DOMA, upon passage, reached back into time and repealed by implication any part of the DC Home Rule Act that conceivably may have held any meaning inconsistent with the meaning subsequently decreed by DOMA that any Act of Congress may mean. This includes any provision of the DC Home Rule Act, to include Section 302 granting DC legislative powers, which section cannot, by reason of DOMA, be construed to mean legislative power is granted to the District to pass an ordinance permitting same sex marriages.

    Furthermore, SEC. 602 (3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act provides that the District of Columbia has no authority to “enact any act, or enact any act to amend or repeal any Act of Congress, which concerns the functions or property of the United States or which is not restricted in its application exclusively in or to the District.” It is obvious that the application of DOMA is not restricted exclusively in or to the District. Therefore DC has no authority to amend or repeal the DOMA and, in turn, Congress has no authority under DC Home Rule Act to amend or repeal DOMA by approving (by inaction) DC’s unauthorized ordinance.

    The new District of Columbia SAME-SEX “Marriage” Law is Invalid and Meaningless

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