Catholic Church blows it in Chicago

Since this is a religious topic, I s’pose this belongs in GD, but I’d much rather have put it in the Pit, since it’s made be more than a little angry.

NPR reported yesterday that Planned Parenthood in Chicago is partnering with The Cradle, and adoption agency/facilitator, to provide adoption information and support services within abortion clinics in the Chicago area.

According to the report, The Cradle provides, from a morally neutral standpoint, factual information about what is involved in adoption, dispelling myths and providing pregnant women the ability to make an informed choice. In addition, they provide financial assistance with the pregnancy and delivery, help with all the legalities and paperwork involved in setting up the adoption, and even provide grief counseling for the mother after giving up her baby.

Most organizations on either side of the abortion debate have come out in favor of the partnership.

But not the Catholic Church.

No, the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese has come out strongly against the partnership. According to their spokeperson, adoption clinics should not be willing to be associated in any way with abortion clinics, because by doing so they indicate that saving the life of the child is morally equivalent to having an abortion. (I am NOT making this up, or twisting the language around. You can hear the spokesperson herself right here.)

Now, I understand the CC’s concerns, but I find their behavior and logic to be reactionary and unChristian. In fact, I find their willful further politicization of the issue to be morally bankrupt. (I am astonished and disheartened to have to say that. I was raised Catholic, but am increasingly ashamed to be associated with this organization.)

It seems to me that the partnership can do no harm whatsoever to the Church’s stance on abortion or its rationale for it (Unless the Church really thinks that the actions of adoption agencies and not the word of Christ should be the arbiter of morality!)

Meanwhile there is the possibility that by dispelling myths that may make women unconfortable with adoption, as well as easing the path to doing so, the number of abortions may fall.

Odd for an organization based on spreading the word of a man who hung around with prostitutes to be splitting hairs like this. I have a message for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago:

I don’t know what this has to do with Charity?

But, yeah, the Archdioceses does seem a little off its rocker on this one.

From the very page you linked (emphasis mine):

There’s plenty more, but maybe that clears it up a bit?

In the KJ version the word is “charity”. In more modern translations, the word used is “love”.

My interpretation: love of your fellow man, which can, in turn lead to what we know as charity… Or did the word charity originally mean love of your fellow man, and eventually come to describe the ensuing handouts?

Originally I thought that there’s really two questions here, the one having to do with the origin of the words themselves, the other having to do with which applies best to the original (what, Aramaic? Hebrew?) translated into English.

Interestingly, an etymological search turns up the following on “charity”:

So it seems that charity originally was directly associated with the Christian meaning of the word “love” and later came to be “associated with the handouts”.

Since the word has diverged from its original association with “love”, it seems many Bibles have gone back to that word. I think you still get the sense from the context, though.

Anymore the Catholic church is pissing me off. I mean, I want to remain a Catholic, because I still believe in my RELIGION. But the CHURCH gets on my nerves.

Can one do that? Believe in a religion, but not in the church?


I find their behavior and logic to be totally consistent with their philosophy. According to them abortion is murder. To present adoption and abortion as two equally valid choices is not consistent with their philosophy. So I completely understand why the Church is speaking out against this program. Not that I agree with them.

Do you still attend a Catholic church? And if so are you a cafeteria Catholic?


There’s always Episcopalian, also known as “Catholic Lite.”

Yer pal,

Six months, two weeks, four days, 2 hours, 43 minutes and 18 seconds.
8044 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,005.57.
Extra time with Drain Bead: 3 weeks, 6 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes.

Religion + Asshole = FUNDIE!*


Not to be too nit-picky, but while you are not “making it up,” you are “twisting the language around.”

The woman’s statement was not that “saving” a child is the equivalent of having an abortion. Her (and probably the archbishop’s) position is that offering the competing services in the same location means that choosing either one is morally neutral and that impression given is that either choice is acceptable. (“Look, the RCC has an adoption counsellor over at Planned Parenthood. They must approve of what PP is doing.”)

That is not the same thing as saying that saving the child is the same as abortion.

That position can certainly be challenged from a number of perspectives, but have the courtesy to challenge what they said, not what you’d like them to have said.

OK, I do follow you there. The visible Church would probably insist it does not rely on its own way but God’s way. Charity does not countermand righteousness.

It does seem to be a lousy position, but a 20 second sound bite from their side might not do things justice. I’ll have to see it Chi has a web site with more info. Maybe it makes more sense than NPR is giving it credit for. I doubt it though.

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what this means, but the choice of adoption over abortion is not, from the Church’s perspective, a “morally neutral standpoint.” Isn’t it possible if a sanctioned alliance implies otherwise–that all options are valid–that abortions could have a net increase? IOW, yes, more people might pusue adoption, but even MORE will now pursue abortion by virtue of this partnership and what it implies. If that is likely, the Church is obligated to take the position it does. To do otherwise would be “unChristian.”

I’m not trying to turn this into an “abortion is evil” debate, only to show that this stance is neither inconsistent, un-charitable or closed-minded if you believe abortion is not a virtuous choice and that this alliance will–in the aggregate–lead to a greater number of abortions. I guess I’m just not understanding all the shock and outrage over what seems to be a consistent Church position (which, of course, everyone is free to disagree with–it just isn’t inconsistent or terribly surprising to me).

I don’t know for sure that an increase in abortions would be the outcome, but if the reaction here is that the Church is, in the name of misguided righteousness, pursuing a path that actually contradicts God’s mission (as the Church sees it), that’s yet to be shown. I don’t see anything inherently unreasonable in the Church’s position, at least not in the context of what’s been offered so far. Or am I misunderstanding?

I totally respect your religious choices, but I don’t understand. (If you’re curious, I am agnostic.) I hear a lot of Catholics say this all the time and it really confuses me. Would switching to a Protestant denomination mean the abandonment of your religion? Did Martin Luther abandon his religion? He didn’t seem to think so.

I have no personal interest in any of this. I don’t understand the Christian denominations. My knowledge of the whole thing pretty much stops at the Treaty of Westfalia. What I can’t understand is why Catholics remain Catholic without a willingness to take orders from the Catholic heirarchy. Isn’t Christian who doesn’t take orders from the Catholic heirarchy a Protestant? If the church heirarchy says that anyone who doesn’t take orders from them is going to Hell, that strikes me as just another reason to ignore them.

Some people cite wanting to stick with Catholic culture as a reason to remain in the church, but I don’t know what Catholic culture is. For my mother, it apparently means a deep belief that everything she or anything else does is wrong, but I don’t think it means the same thing to everyone.

Well, I posted this on Thusday and then was out of town all weekend. So there’s a lot to catch up on.

Going for the low-hanging fruit first:

What I said they said:

What Nora Callahan actually says (I am quoting directly here):

I did in fact “have the courtesy” to respond to what they actually said. In addition to which, having replayed the sound clip repeatedly to make sure I got it right, I don’t feel I’m taking it out of context in the least. Respectfully, tomndeb, I believe you are putting more of an interpretation on their words than I am.

On to some other points:

MGibson, this presupposes that having adoption information in the same place as the clinic actually frames abortion as being the moral equivalent choice. I submit that this is a politicization of the issue, and not at all Christ-like. To refer back to my OP, Christ hung out with prostitutes. Prositution is also wrong. He was very clear that he wasn’t sending a message of moral equivalency or trying to politicize things, but rather to be compassionate. He didn’t compromise his principals, and yet did not turn away from acting in a manner that might help those around him to make better moral choices, even when it meant behaving in ways that led others to question his own moral choices.

I don’t see how this could be any clearer. Perhaps I should take the CC argument to absurdity: Isn’t attending religious conferences with other religious leaders of different faiths also wrong, because by being in proximity to other faiths, it sends the message that they are morally equivalent? Isn’t it wrong to have Catholic churches in the same city with synagogues, because it sends a message, by proximity, that they are morally equivalent? Should we not be “in proximity” to those who have had an abortion because they “committed murder”?

Bob Cos, what does this parnership imply, and according to whom? You presuppose that the actions of The Cradle in choosing to parter with Planned Parenthood are meant to send a moral message, which they emphasize themselves they are not.

There is a big difference between saying “we are not here to send a moral message” and saying “both these options are morally equivalent”. The latter case is actually making a moral statement and it is not morally neutral. The first statement implies that it is the client’s own choice as to which is the more moral choice, and that The Cradle will not interfere or attempt to sway that choice.

To put it more bluntly (again paraphrasing myself), if abortions increase, that is the result of the failure of people to either understand or accept the Curch’s message, it is not the fault of the adoption agency, because they are not trying to influence that decision.

This parnership is NOT meant to imply anything. That is an assumption that I believe the Church unfairly makes. And I believe that assumption to be most unChristian.

The Catholic Church has been blowing it in more places than Chicago. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools, and as an adult find more and more of their decisions borderline unchristian and lacking in any kind of rational thought. Why would the church have any complaint with an organization reminding people of adoption as an alternative to abortion? If I hadn’t already decided to belong to a different religious organization this would have pushed me to the “other side”.

Well, except that

(where “they” seems to indicate an adoption service), appears to be saying that the RCC or adoption services are equating abortion and saving a child.

In fact, the complaint of the RCC is that Planned Parenthood is setting that exact equation. The RCC is not saying the choices are morally equivalent; the RCc is saying that putting the two sources in the same office

Do you disagree? Do you think that putting abortion and adoption services side-by-side makes one option appear to be morally superior? The RCC clearly holds that the two options are not equivalent and objects to putting them in a context where they appear equal. I can find no way to construe Ms. Callahan’s comments as making the two choices morally equal. She objects that Planned Parenthood does see them as equivalent.

I don’t know SP – maybe I’m not the most rational beast walking the earth, but almost all of their teachings (the official ones out of Rome, not just what some lady who answers the phone in Chicago has to say) seem perfectly rational to me, starting from the expected axioms. They beat they heck out of Protestants, especially those who base their whole religion on a letter to some people they know nothing about regarding circumcision – now that is irrational.

I really think this is a coin flip.

The fact of the matter is, Jesus was accused of hanging out with sinners by the Pharisees. It was the pharisees, aka the bad guys, who said this. As such, it might be construed that they were in fact idiots. Jesus’s defense, “I have come not to save the [self-]righteous, but sinners” mocks their position, IMHO. Probably most of his companions were somewhat repentant.

Jesus specifically ordered the apostles not to stay in communities where his gospel was not accepted by anyone in that community, and that they should kick the dirt from their sandles and move on to the next town.

So by that measure, someone who truly believes abortion to be wrong should not be hanging out with abortionists unless they are trying to convert them to the cause.

But I’m undecided if the means-ends test really comes in here. If it comes to saving lives – you would have a steady stream of new people coming in you could council against sin. But, somehow I don’t think Planned P. would appreciate such people hanging out in whatever guise, and would see to it morally lax people were working in their office instead.

It is a tough call, ren, the more I think about it.

Get real. The RCC does not consider protestant churches or Jewish synagogues to be “immoral”.

The RCC IS consistent in the “mixed message” dept in that it certainly DOES state that attending a protestant service does not meet a Sunday mass obligation…and also states that non-Catholics may not receive communion for similar reasons…

BTW JC did not hang around hookers to support their chosen profession or remain neutral on the subject…

The RCC (and other churches) do much to promote adoptions, (in Chicago, they especially support the adoption of minority children through the One Church One Child campaign)…in this particular case… a reasonable argument can be made that abortion and adoption are presented as morally equivalent (by the absense of anything to the contrary). Part of the RCCs mission is to teach/evangelize their beliefs…which dont include being neutral on the subject of abortion.

This notion of “moral neutrality” can be a heinous idea in some situations.

tomndeb, we don’t seem to be communicating very well.

Uh huh. Exactly. I think the argument is that putting them in the same place is trying to make that equation.

First off, you’re unneccesarily splitting hairs about the distinction between “is equivalent” and “makes it appear equivalent”. I never said the CC believes they are equivalent, nor is the actual moral equivalence/non-equivalence at issue here.

As for “giving the impression”:

I don’t but the CC does. I consider that unChristian. See latter part of previous post. What am I leaving unclear?

Neither can I. Where did I say they were, or that she said they actually were equivalent? Is this thread about the CC deciding that adoption and abortion are equivalent? No. Why are you at pains to make this distinction?


Now, neither PP or The Cradle have made any sort of statement or behaved in any way so as to indicate that the two options are morally equivalant, or (to split the same hair as you) that the two options should be seen as morally equivalent. In fact, The Cradle is at pains itself to point out that it is NOT ATTEMPTING TO MAKE ANY MORAL JUDGEMENTS ON THE ISSUE. Sorry for shouting but you keep missing this:


Please re-read the second part of my previous post re: the difference between “We make no moral judgement” and “we consider things morally neutral”. By conflating the two the Church is further politicizing the issue, starting a non-existent argument over morality (i.e., PP and The Cradle are NOT attempting to engage in a moral argument of any kind), objecting to actions which may help alleviate the suffering of others and actually reduce abortions, and in general acting in a self-righteous and unChristian manner. In my view. Again, what part of this am I not making clear?