Debra J. Saunders

The last time the Roman Catholic Church and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors squared off on same-sex marriage, the Special City's thought police essentially forced Catholic Charities to renounce Catholic doctrine in order to continue receiving city funds it needs to care for the sick. With a similar battle looming, will city solons again be as intolerant as the Vatican it deplores?

 Here's the situation: Catholic Charities has placed 136 such children in good homes in the last five years, including five children with same-sex couples. As Catholic Charities Executive Director Brian Cahill explained, the previous S.F. archbishop, William Levada, exercised "pastoral flexibility" -- in looking beyond the Vatican's opposition to same-sex marriage so that the charity could provide loving homes for children who sorely need them.

 As Cahill explained, at any given time California has some 700 foster children who are "difficult to place." They have multiple handicaps, or they've been traumatized by neglect or abuse. Maybe they're older. Odds are better than even that it will take more than two years for agencies to find those children a permanent home, and those children are not best off in the foster-care system.

 "God bless any parents who are willing to come forward and take care of these kids," said Cahill. "Regardless of their sexual orientation, they are doing God's work, and we should commend them for taking care of kids that no one else wanted."

 Alas, after the same Levada donned his cardinal's red hat in Rome, he sent an e-mail to Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco that said, "Catholic agencies should not place children for adoption in homosexual households."

 Catholic Charities in Boston announced it will get out of the adoption business rather than violate state laws that forbid discrimination against gays and lesbians. Gay advocates won a political victory -- and unwanted children will pay the price.

 In the San Francisco Bay Area, Catholic Charities has announced no such change in its policy. The group sent out a statement that said it "will continue to serve the best interests of vulnerable children who need loving homes -- either the way we have been -- or in a new creative way."

 Beware: "creative" is Church Latin for "cave." Cahill hopes the church will not try to force Catholic Charities in San Francisco to stop these adoptions. I agree that the Vatican should put the children's best interests first.

Debra J. Saunders

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