Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catholic Charities sticks with their religious convictions

First it was Catholic Charities of Rockford, Illinois.
Now both Peoria and Joliet Catholic Charities have followed suit in reaction to new policies designed to accommodate civil unions. They have written letters to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) explaining that it was against their practice to place children with unmarried cohabiting couples, whether straight or gay.

Catholic Conference of Illiniois executive director Robert Gilligan said it isn't exactly a "radical notion" that children are best served in families where the parents are a married, straight couple or a single individual. He plans to be working with state legislators in hopes for a measure to "protect the groups' religious liberty."

Traditionally in America, the government has needed and appreciated service from private agencies to help with ongoing problems in society such as in feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, administering to the sick, or finding suitable homes for children without responsible parents. In return, the government has provided funding for these agencies of charity.
Oftentimes, the best-run charitable groups are those motivated to begin because of their faith and willingness to serve God. Today, however, the government wishes those agencies to put their service above their faith, which would in some cases defeat the motivation for getting involved in the first place.

From the ACLU is this analysis:
Catholic Charities is free to practice in accordance with its religious teachings. But if it chooses to accept tax dollars to perform the state’s job of finding families for children in state custody, it may not use religious criteria — as opposed to child welfare criteria — in choosing families for them.....
An agency that places its own values above the interests of the children it previously accepted into its care does a great disservice and in some instance affirmative harm to those children.
Diocesan communications director Penny Wiegert revealed,
“Catholic Charities and other religious agencies implored the State of Illinois to allow their agencies to refer civil union couples to other adoption and foster care agencies so as to not violate the moral teachings of their faith.”
However, that is not what happened. As a result, Catholic Charities of Rockford ended its publicly funded foster care and adoptive services while Catholic Charities in Peoria and Joliet temporarily suspended issuing new licenses for foster care and adoptive parents. They will close four of seven offices and lay off 58 caseworkers and employees. Non-state funded services, including private adoption, will be continued.
“Our caseworkers do this work not just because it’s their job, but because it is their calling,” said director of Catholic Charities Frank Vonch. “The children and families they serve are just an extension of their commitment to our mission, which serving children is at its basic core, so it is a very grave loss for them as well as for everyone involved with charities....we can no longer contract with the State of Illinois whose laws would force us to participate in activity offensive to the moral teachings of the church – teachings which compel us to do this work in the first place.”
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) spokesman Kendall Marlowe is reviewing the issue:
"Short term, we will explore every option to prevent further disruption in these children's lives. This isn't a viable long-term solution. Eventually these agencies would attrit their way out of foster care simply because they'd run out of foster homes."
It is not over yet. Catholic Charities has sued the State of Illinois.

Catholic Charities refuses to place children with same sex couples, click here.

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