Monday, October 9, 2006

Corresponding with Maurice Healy

I don’t know whether you caught the news that the Vatican recently insisted that Catholic Charities stop placing children for adoption in gay families. The order came to the Bay Area through former Archbishop Levada, elevated only a couple days ago to Cardinal for his loyalty. Levada saw close-up that several hard-to-place children were placed successfully in gay households during his tenure here. His years in close proximity with the thriving gay community of San Francisco should have removed all doubt that the church’s merging of sexual aggression with homosexuality is an intellectually bankrupt notion, to say nothing of bitter injustice. For him to take the side of the doctrinaire church fathers over what he must have seen here with his own eyes is the story of the insidious psychological destruction of the weak and vulnerable by institutional religion in a nutshell.

San Francisco’s response has been to say screw you, Mother Church. If you can’t not discriminate against us, then don’t lay claim to public funds to do it. Gay people and straight people of conscience don’t need to fund your bigotry. Adoption services, which cannot operate without taxpayer money, will continue to be carried out by various agencies, those whose concern for getting children out of orphanages and foster care and into loving welcoming families has a higher priority than shaming some of the folk with the open arms.

Welcome to this little corner of America’s culture wars. The archdiocese’s spokesperson, Maurice Healy, had a letter to the editor published this morning claiming that that withdrawal of taxpayer money to his organization is itself discrimination.

Such horseshit makes your eyes water.

I just wrote him this letter:

Mr. Maurice Healy
Director of Communications
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
One Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109

March 27, 2006

Dear Mr. Healy:

I’m writing in response to your appeal for the world at large to allow your church to continue unimpeded to discriminate against gay men and women in the public arena, I suppose in the belief this will bring you closer to God.

In your letter to the editor in the March 27 San Francisco Chronicle you suggest that “(t)he Church should not suffer intolerance or discrimination because of its religious beliefs.”

If this were a boxing contest for the best example of the pot calling the kettle black, I have no doubt you’d capture and hold the title against any challenger.

The world knows two catholic churches. One has given us torture, war and oppression, greed and the lust for power, the arrogance of Vatican I. The other has given us the caritas of Catholic schools and hospitals, the solace of confession and the Eucharist, and the ecumenism of Vatican II.

While the compassionate church seeks to stay afloat, the intransigent church reflected in your letter continues to punch holes in the sinking ship. Your clergy are leaving you in droves and whole parishes have already drowned. Yet you cling to the conviction that the decayed medieval body you are speaking for is the only real church and you choke the language of rights to fit your purpose.

The world at large is now finally awakening to the realization that the demonization of gay people belongs on the same trashheap of history as the demonization of Jews. My sympathy goes to those in the ecclesia, the ordinary people of the Catholic Church, who are struggling to root out this hateful doctrine based on a willful ignorance of the human condition.

Join them, Mr. Healy. The love of God lives in gay people and their families. Don’t work to turn that love into something sordid. Find your church less in old men stuck in a darker time and more in the common decency of ordinary catholics, and your church will stay alive. Defend the faith and stop trying to conserve the inquisition.

Yours truly,

Alan J. McCornick


To this e-mail, I received the following response:

From: Maury Healy <[address deleted]>
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 08:40:23 -0700
To: "Alan J. McCornick" <[address deleted]>
Conversation: Your letter to the Editor - October 6, 2006
Subject: Your letter to the Editor - October 6, 2006

You are mistaken. The Vatican document you refer to concerns solicitation during the sacrament of confession.

The Catholic Church is composed of human beings, and the faults of human beings will sometimes bring shame upon all.

Dear Mr. Healy:

Thank you for making the effort to correct my understanding. I will look more deeply into Crimen Sollicitationis. I know attempts to see it as the grounding for a policy of circling the wagons have failed in Worcester, Massachusetts, and other places.

You may have surmised my information came most recently from the BBC’s Sex Crimes and the Vatican. CNN had a similar program several years ago, I believe. I will be watching to see how this conflict plays out. Your work would be a lot easier, I’m sure, if the church had not given priority to protecting its reputation over healing its victims.

Thanks again for your response.


Alan McCornick


Your message to: HealyM@ <[address deleted]>
was blocked by our Spam Firewall. The email you sent with the following subject has NOT BEEN DELIVERED:
Subject: Re: Your letter to the Editor - October 6, 2006

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