For almost 10 years as the executive director of San Francisco Catholic Charities, I was directly involved in efforts to manage the tension between what our church teaches in the area of sexuality, and how we carried out our mission to serve the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.He describes how that policy of working with gay and lesbian couples changed over the years, and then concludes as follows:
We dealt with many challenges, but the most complex, significant and painful issue was same-sex adoption.
Catholic Charities provides a broad range of services to all in need regardless of their faith. Following the 1906 earthquake, finding adoptive homes for orphans was our first program.
For the last 40 years the focus of the Catholic Charities adoption program had been finding suitable placements for foster care children. In recent years we averaged 25 adoptions per year. Few same-sex couples applied, but when they did, we were pleased to work with them if they met the criteria.
We knew that of the 80,000 children in the California foster care system, half were waiting to be adopted. We also knew that the largest cohort of potential adoptive parents for these children were committed same-sex couples who wanted to create family. In the last five years of the program we had placed 136 children, 5 of them in the homes of gay and lesbian couples.
As the recession hit, the Catholic Charities budget deficit forced some painful choices. I retired at the end of 2008, the collaboration with Family Builders ended in 2009, and based on a poorly conceived, disrespectful and harshly written Roman policy, San Francisco Catholic Charities joined Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington and other dioceses abandoning a hundred-year tradition and thousands of needy children.
In a speech at the National Catholic Social Workers Conference, Archbishop Charles Chaput pushed the party line on Catholic identity, urging that Catholic social services must be "explicitly Catholic." I believe Catholic Charities manifests its Catholicism far better by using Mathew 25 as a guide rather than a destructive, irresponsible and un-Christ like Vatican promulgation.