High Ideals and Grunt Work

How many times have you heard this argument: “Oh, so you don’t like abortion, huh? Well, are you going to take care of all those children? Who’s going to take care of all those unwanted children, huh? It’s all very well and good to have high principles and ideals, but it comes down to logistics. Who’s going to take care of all those children?

We all know the answer to that. The Catholic Church is going to take care of all those children. Or it’s going to try, anyway, if the state will let them.

Catholic Charities will not send children to live in foster or adoptive homes of unmarried cohabiting couples, including gay couples—so in May, the state of Illinois decided to end its contract with the charitable organization:

In letters sent last week to Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet and Springfield and Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the state could not accept their signed contracts for the 2012 fiscal year. Each letter said funding was declined because “your agency has made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act,” which the state says requires prospective parents in civil unions to be treated the same as married couples.

I’m imagining the legislator adjusting his tie in the mirror with an idealistic gleam in his eye, and practicing the following argument to himself: Because of our high principles, we are going to make sure the kids Catholic Charities serves stay in foster care. Because of our ideals, we are going to prevent the most consistent and effective benefactor of children from finding homes for them. Never mind the nitty gritty! Never mind those messy children with their ugly little physical needs. We’re talking about principles here—we’re talking about high ideals!

(I’m also picturing him getting a slightly weird sensation when he invokes “religious freedom protection” as his motivation for trying to force a religious organization to sin. But I’m picturing him getting over that really fast.)

at least for now, the Catholic Church. As usual:

A judge in Springfield today ordered that Catholic Charities can keep serving foster children despite the state’s decision to eliminate their contract.

I don’t know what the judge’s motivations were. We can only assume that, in an increasingly rare flash of insight, he saw the circular logic that informed the state’s policies, and decided to cut through the nonsense and allow the Church to do what she does best: uphold high principles ... and take care of people.

To the enemies of the Church who, for some reason, read the Register: Go ahead and make your cruddy old jokes about pedophile priests “taking care” of children. The fact is that the huge majority of Catholic organizations perform the huge majority of the grunt work when it comes to looking after the needs of the innocent.

I hope this sort of thing answers the question about why it’s anyone’s business what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Because the state apparently cares so much, they are willing to put the well-being of thousands of children at risk. The state is no longer content with doing a lousy job of caring for children—it’s now in the business of preventing the Church from doing a good job. 

I’m not surprised that political activists want to punish the Church for her ideals. But to sacrifice children for the state’s ideals? Shameful.