After 103 years helping to place orphans and unwanted children with Catholic families, the Archdiocese of Boston has been compelled to close down its adoption service. Cardinal Sean O'Malley's decision was inevitable: the Catholic Catechism teaches quite clearly that man is not permitted to will evil that good might result, or to engage in an evil action so that he might preserve the opportunity to do good. In this case, the government of Massachusetts had issued an ultimatum: either allow homosexual couples to adopt children, or shut up shop. The Church simply had no choice. Here it is not a case, as Newman put it in order to reject it, of committing a venial sin to save the world. For the Church to capitulate to the state, it would be cooperating in the grave social evil of undermining the institution of marriage and the order of the sexes, fashioned by God Himself; it would be acknowledging the supremacy of the state not in forbidding certain religious expressions that would threaten social order (for instance, in forbidding human sacrifice), but in compelling condonement of actions obnoxious to the Church's tenets and, as the Church asserts, to that very social order whose preservation is the state's sole reason for existence; and of course, it would have to deliver small children into the midst of the unnatural, not only depriving them of a mother or (more frequently) a father, but suggesting to them the lie that consent alone makes all sexual expression licit.
Obviously, by the Church's lights, it could not agree, as any fair observer must have foreseen. Then why the compulsion? Homosexuals in Massachusetts can already adopt children; it is unlikely that anyone will have been seriously inconvenienced by the Church's policy. The conclusion seems inescapable: the Church was given the ultimatum not so that homosexuals would benefit, but so that the Church would be hurt, either by a capitulation that would signal its subservience and irrelevance evermore, or by a curtailment of the freedom of Catholics to practice their faith in the public square. I must believe that at least some of those who delivered the ultimatum can read and think, and that they knew that the Church that cannot permit, for instance, the direct and willed killing of an innocent human being so that thousands might be saved, would not be able to hand a single child over to a gay couple, even when that action would preserve their opportunity to place thousands of others in real, that is to say natural, families.
That being the case, the enforcers in this case must have been looking forward with complacency to this predictable result. That it would hurt thousands of children who would have to wait much longer before finding a family to adopt them, did not matter; or did not matter as much as the ideological conformity that the enforcers aimed to compel.
Imagine that in the wake of a natural disaster several thousand Amish workers come to your town, eager to build houses for displaced families. They're not the only people down there, not by a long shot; others are building houses, too. But they can only agree to work so long as they are not compelled to violate their faith. In other words, they are people trying to live out their Christianity, providing a desperately needed service for their countrymen and relieving the state of a part of a great financial and social burden. They are doing the state a great favor, and all they ask is the permission to honor their faith: they will build houses only for married couples, or for single people living alone, or for widows and orphans; but not for cohabiting couples of any type. They insist upon this stricture not to be peevish, but because in simple point of fact they can do no otherwise without betraying the whole structure of their faith -- or, as they might sooner put it, without betraying the Person whom they worship. Regardless of whether you believed their theology correct, would it not be stupid and ungrateful to deny them their help? What could your city gain from your ideological stubbornness? Or, to consider the matter from another angle, how great is a nation's loss if it insists that all its groups accept the wisdom of the day, whatever that might be? Or, on how flimsy a foundation is the pansexualist argument built, if it needs to resort to old fashioned bullying to get its way?