Expelling the Child of a Lesbian Couple

Expelling the Child of a Lesbian Couple May 20, 2010

That’s what a school in Boston did, and, not surprisingly, they made headlines.  Well, I’m here on Cape Cod, and the local newspaper, The Boston Globe, has a story today in which Boston Archbishop Sean P. Cardinal O’Malley comments publicly on the situation.  And, as a loyal churchman caught in a sticky wicket, he plays both sides.

Sean P. O'Malley, Cardinal Archbishop of Boston

On the one hand, O’Malley says that the church’s main concern is the best interests of the child, regardless of who the child’s parents happen to be.  The Globe reports that on O’Malley’s blog, he writes of a time when he accepted the child of a slain prostitute into a Catholic school in the West Indies.

On the other hand, O’Malley says that he supports the head of the school who expelled the child, and he says that the policy of the Archdiocese of Denver to do the same should be studied and considered.

In other words, O’Malley is trying to do and say the right things for public opinion (support the child) while also shore up his standing in the church bureaucracy (support his priest and another archdiocese).  It’s not an easy situation, and I do not envy him.

In fact, he sums up his own predicament well,

As the archdiocese prepares a policy for all its schools to follow, O’Malley said, it will have to grapple with “the question of how do we make Catholic schools available to children who come from diverse, often unconventional, households, while ensuring the moral theology and the teachings of the church are not compromised?’’

This is a question not exclusive to the Catholic church, either.  I know many Protestant churches — famous ones — who are currently trying to navigate these same turbulent waters without crashing their ecclesial vessels on the ideological Scylla and Charybdis on either side.

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  • johnCW

    The inability to pay the cost of discipleship is one of the reasons I distrust pastors/priests. Doing the right thing may cost your job, power, influence, reputation, freedom, or life – do it anyway.

  • johnCW–

    Are you a pastor or priest?

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  • Josh, are you asking me? I am neither.

  • johnCW

    @Josh – no – I am no longer a Christian[after 29 years of believing]. I have many good friends and family members who are pastors and I spent 5 years teaching in a Christian school. If I worked in this school, I would have resigned immediately.

    In my experience, religious leaders and politicians face the same paradox: the abilities needed to gain and keep power are opposite the job requirements. O’Malley seems to know this is the wrong choice, but he won’t stand against it. What good is religion which won’t do right and encourage others to do the same? What good is Christianity that won’t be like Jesus?

  • AW

    How does this help child at all? Now he’ll be with the parents even more….? This is one of the dumbest ideas ever. Just trying to cover up the priest scandals or something.

  • Todd

    Why do gays always end up getting compared to prostitutes in Christian circles? We see O’Malley doing it here, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard folks couch appeals to great gay inclusion in the church by referring to how Jesus associated with prostitutes. I’m all for inclusion, but the analogy is troubling and suggests a rather negative attitude towards gays. I mean when I think lesbian moms, the first thing that comes to mind is “whore!” It’s really no wonder that most LGBT folks tend to ditch the church for good after we come out.

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