Is this at least one segment of the Catholic Church coming to its senses? Or is it one group figuring that someone else will pick up the legal costs, and that they will be able to benefit from someone else’s fight?
I’m not quite sure how to interpret the fact that Catholic Charities’ chapter in Peoria, Ill., is no longer a part of the court fight that is trying to keep the Catholic Church in the business of adoption of children.
THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE for Peoria, which covers a large segment of central Illinois, said it is dropping out of a lawsuit that says the state’s policies concerning adoption and gay couples is wrong, and they shouldn’t have to follow it.
What the Catholic organizations that are involved in adoption want is to be able to continue their long-standing policies of only providing children for adoption or foster care to heterosexual couples.
While state laws concerning civil unions give a legitimacy to the idea that gay couples are as legitimate as a married heterosexual couple. Which would pit the Catholic Church and the state at odds with each other.
That is what caused the Catholic dioceses of downstate Illinois to file their lawsuit challenging the state order that tells the Department of Children and Family Services to quit using Catholic Charities when it comes to placing the children that are in state custody.
AT LEAST ONE court has ruled that the state is right in such an action, on the grounds that if the church wants to be involved in adoptions and foster care then they have to play by the state’s rules (ie, the law).
That is what has the Peoria Diocese thinking that this legal fight is over. They decided last week to drop out of the fight, leaving it to the dioceses of Springfield, Joliet and Belleville to keep this battle going in court.
Reports are that by Jan. 31, the state will have transferred its contracts from the diocese to a new organization – although it’s not clear yet which group will get the contract to handle the children of central Illinois.
Although you know that whenever a government contract goes up for bid, there is always the potential for mischief and for somebody to get rich off the public tax dollar.
IT ALWAYS IS possible that if the remaining dioceses (it seems like the Springfield Diocese is most eager for this, although the Joliet Diocese that oversees Will and DuPage counties also is involved) find a court willing to reverse the sentiments of a judge in Springfield that the church has to follow state law just like everybody else, Catholic Charities in Peoria could decide to try to get back into the business of placing children who don’t have parents.
Then again, maybe they’re taking the attitude of the Catholic Charities for the Chicago Archdiocese – which decided a few years ago for completely-separate reasons that handling adoptions and foster children was just too much of a headache.
The reason this issue hasn’t gotten bigger play in Chicago is because our portion of the Catholic Church isn’t directly involved.
But it still does come down to the issue of whether or not groups can claim their own personal beliefs can allow them to get around certain portions of Illinois state law.
ALLOWING PEOPLE TO decide which laws they want to follow and which they don’t creates way too much potential for chaos in our society. I’d like to think that even the Catholic Church would agree with that latter statement.
And perhaps that is why this particular legal fight over adoption is no longer, to use the old cliché, playing in Peoria.