Homosexual Activism in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Part I: Catholic Charities CYO

Catholic Charities and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Adoptions

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"There will be critics who say that kids will still be placed with same-sex couples,'' said Cahill, who is planning "an aggressive recruitment'' of potential adoptive parents among the archdiocese's parishes. "That is true -- the largest potential number of adoptive parents in the foster care system are gay and lesbian couples. But this is what we are supposed to be doing. This is the work of the church.” –Brian Cahill, Executive Director, Catholic Charities CYO, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, August 27, 2006.

 

The next step was to allow homosexual persons to adopt children through CCCYO’s adoption network. This began as early as 2000:

“But Catholic Charities CYO, which serves the Northern California counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin, has placed three children out of 136 with same-sex couples since 2000….Despite the conflict created by the Vatican's official position, Brian Cahill, executive director of Catholic Charities CYO, says his organization would place children with same-sex couples even if it were exempt from the law because "it's the right thing to do."

Currently 700 hard-to-place children "languish" in California's foster care system, he says. "Most potential same-sex parents aren't going to come rushing through the doors of Catholic Charities," says Cahill, a straight married Catholic who has a gay son. "But if some do, we're not going to say no."

Cahill's organization prides itself on how welcome gay employees and clients feel. The organization's director of programs and services, Glenn Motola, is gay--and out at work. He and his partner of 14 years, Mark Walden, adopted their daughter four years ago, though they went through a different agency to avoid a conflict of interest. "I have never felt disrespected in this agency for who I am and how I live my life," says Motola.

The archbishop serves as chairman of the agency's board of directors, which determines its policies. Four of its 35 board members are openly gay. "Part of giving care to everyone is not being discriminatory," says Nanette Miller, one of the lesbian board members.”
-The Advocate: “Little Catholic Gifts” 2005.


This was followed by CCCYO’s supplying staff to “Family Builders by Adoption” the “gayest adoption agency in the country.” Again, we begin with a chronological sequence of headlines from the San Francisco Chronicle:

March 11, 2006: Catholic charity might stop adoptions; Vatican prohibits placement with same-sex couples.
-Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer

March 21, 2006: Archdiocese halts same-sex adoptions at Catholic Charities; Spokesman points to stance taken by new archbishop.
-Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer

March 22, 2006: Supervisors slam Vatican on adoptions Resolution calls edict on gays 'insulting, callous.'
-Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer

August 3, 2006: Catholic Charities scaling back its role in adoption services.
-Cicero A. Estrella, Chronicle Staff Writer

August 27, 2006: Catholic agency finds way out of adoption ban. Alliance with other groups gets around same-sex parent issue.
-Elizabeth Fernandez, Chronicle Staff Writer


We see the same pattern as in the "Domestic Partners" issue of 1997: initial doctrinal opposition, based in Catholic moral teaching, followed by a compromise that is in fact a capitulation. Once again, let us examine the stance taken by CCCYO. But please note, in keeping with our thesis that the corruption has grown over time, that now the opposition comes not from lower level employees, but from the Executive Director, Brian Cahill, himself. All emphases are added:

“The five children (given up for adoption to homosexual couples in San Francisco had "special needs" and were hard to place, Cahill said . . . The great majority of these kids present problems and, God love them, they need a home, and our primary focus is to find a home for them," Cahill said. The children were placed with "very qualified, very committed" couples who were recommended by the city, he said.
–San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2006

These kinds of adoptions are not in sync with church teaching, and we've committed ourselves to being in sync with church teaching," (Archdiocesan Spokesman Maury) Healy said…."This is an outright statement that is false," Cahill said of Healy's assertion. "Mr. Healy is, A, mistaken, B, doesn't speak for Catholic Charities and, frankly, it's clear to me that he's not speaking for the archbishop these days."
–San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2006.

“The San Francisco Board of Supervisors wasted little time chiming in, and challenged local church officials to defy the Vatican. "It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city's existing and es tablished customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need,'' the resolution stated.

“Brian Cahill, executive director of Catholic Charities, asserted Monday and again Tuesday that the agency has not decided to change course and prohibit the placement of children with gays and lesbians. "Our policies and procedures have not changed,'' Cahill said….This is not the first time that the local Catholic Charities branch has been tested trying to balance church teachings with gay rights. In 1996, San Francisco adopted landmark legislation requiring city contractors to provide their employees in domestic partnerships with the same benefits extended to their married co-workers….It appears that Catholic Charities is trying to find a creative solution such as that one when it comes to adoptions, said Supervisor Tom Ammiano, a gay Catholic, parent and grandparent who wrote the resolution adopted Tuesday."
–San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2006

“After spending nearly 100 years finding homes for children awaiting adoption, Catholic Charities announced that it will no longer provide full adoption services ….Catholic Charities plans to collaborate with both California Kids Connection, a network provided by the nonprofit Oakland-based Family Builders by Adoption, and the state Social Services department, which oversees the welfare of 82,000 foster children. Archbishop George Niederauer said that the new partnership would still allow children to be placed placed with gay and lesbian couples." –San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2006


The San Francisco Chronicle article of August 27, 2006, “Catholic agency finds way out of adoption ban. Alliance with other groups gets around same-sex parent issue,” deserves to be quoted at length. All emphases are added:

“In an adroit end-run against a Vatican ban on granting adoptions to same-sex couples, Catholic Charities of San Francisco will launch a new project in coming weeks that experts say will lead to the placement of hundreds of foster children around the state every year. . .

‘The Lord works in mysterious ways,’ quipped San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty, . . . who was a consultant to Catholic Charities while the adoption strategy was being crafted.

Next month, the collaboration formally begins between Catholic Charities CYO and California Kids Connection, a statewide adoption exchange run by the Oakland based nonprofit Family Builders by Adoption. The two agencies will work in conjunction with the state Department of Social Services, which oversees about 82,000 foster children.

"When Catholic Charities first approached us (said Jill Jacobs, Director of Family Builders by Adoption), I was very hesitant. My organization has a long history of serving the gay, lesbian and transgender community. It was really ironic -- I had to make sure that our integrity and values were not compromised.''

"We were undeniably told to stop doing direct placements to same-sex couples,'' said Executive Director Brian Cahill. "But our new archbishop, George Niederauer, who had barely unpacked, gave us -- to his ever-lasting credit -- the opportunity to craft a solution that would be consistent with church teaching and also faithful to our mission. This place started with adoptions -- how could we ever consider not doing them?''

"There will be critics who say that kids will still be placed with same-sex couples,'' said Cahill, who is planning "an aggressive recruitment'' of potential adoptive parents among the archdiocese's parishes. "That is true -- the largest potential number of adoptive parents in the foster care system are gay and lesbian couples. But this is what we are supposed to be doing. This is the work of the church.”

“But having the resources of Catholic Charities will more than double our staff, and it will probably quadruple the number of children who are posted. And when the children's pictures are posted, they usually get adopted” Jacobs said.


 

And the Bay Area Reporter (“serving the gay lesbian, bisexual, transgender communities") had an informative article as well. Again, emphases added.

“Under the terms of the partnership, Catholic Charities will provide three staff people to Family Builders by October 1, so that California Kids Connection can dramatically increase the number of children it is able to profile on the site, including the kids who otherwise would have been placed directly by Catholic Charities. The Catholic Charities staff members will work out of the original Oakland location of Family Builders.

"It's impossible not to use the word 'irony' in this situation. Out of what could have been a crisis came a great opportunity," said (CCCYO’s Brian) Cahill. "We actually are going to increase our role in adoptions. And working with Family Builders will actually help them double and triple the number of kids who are up on their Web site."

"The Catholic Charities partnership may even result in more LGBT families adopting children than before. "We're about the gayest adoption agency in the country," Jacobs told the B.A.R., noting that it was important for her organization to make sure Catholic Charities "really knew who we were, and that in our own adoption program more than half the families we serve are LGBT families." –Bay Area Reporter, August 10, 2006.

 


And in the Bay Area Reporter from March 23, 2006:

"Nanette Miller, a lesbian and member of Catholic Charities' board, said she is also hopeful the agency can come up with a positive solution, such as when the archdiocese figured out a way to adhere to the city's requirement under the equal benefits ordinance that it extend domestic partner benefits to employees so as not to lose its funding.

"In the past when Levada was here, we came up with creative solutions to resolving some issues where there was stress between the teachings of the church and needs of the clients of Catholic Charities. I am praying we can come up with something at this point," said Miller, a parishioner at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro. "I do know the adoptions they have done have been successful from the standpoint the children are in loving, caring homes and in better situations than in foster care. We have had successful adoptions in the past and I would like to see them continue."

 


Finally, what was Archbishop George Niederauer’s response to the “compromise”? From an interview on KNBR Radio on February 4, 2007:

Ed Cavagnaro: Last year you faced the issue of gay adoption, when the Church announced that children should not be placed in same-sex households. But you worked out a solution that allowed Catholic Charities to still participate in placing children. Explain how that worked and do you see more issue being settled in this way?

Archbishop George Niederauer: Well, I don’t know about other issues being settled in that way, but I think what we were after was some participation in the work of finding families for children who needed adopting. And, after all, that’s what you focus on. You don’t – the most important person in the adoption is the child. Important as it is for couples to be able to adopt a child if they want to, it’s most important of all that the child have a home, Now the Church’s teaching is that the model for that is a father and a mother, so that’s the paradigm that we would insist upon. So, because we could no longer make that distinction, because of State law, what we found, and I’m really very happy with the decision made by the Catholic Charities CEO, on that, was to work with the program on the Internet for finding homes for children, posting their pictures and being able to guide people who would be interested in this particular child to an adoption agency which could handle the situation.


In March, 2007, the City and County of San Francisco began an aggressive campaign designed to encourage homosexual and transgender couples to adopt. The organization they partnered with, Family Builders by Adoption, is now staffed by Catholic Charities.

To make it simple: Family Builders partners with the city, who fund Catholic Charities, who staff Family Builders, who partners with the city, who fund Catholic Charities, who staff Family Builders...

You get the picture. It's "remote cooperation."

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