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Catholic Loss of Innocents

Posted by Jim Lopata  January 4, 2012 12:20 PM

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Detail from The Massacre of the Innocents at Bethlehem, by Matteo di Giovanni.

Roman Catholic Bishops and the Loss of Innocents

By James A. Lopata

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

FEAST OF THE MASSACRE OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS — On the date commemorating King Herod’s ruthless slaughter of young children who he felt threatened his authority, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops were defending the closing of foster care agencies in a New York Times article.

The prelates claimed that forcing Catholic Charities to consider the possibility that poor, marginalized children may find loving, healthy homes in households headed by same-sex couples threatens their religious freedom.

“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki.

Poor, marginalized bishops. But what about the children?

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Several years ago, two siblings were born into a New England home consisting of one father and one mother. The children were eventually removed from the household after social service agencies found their parents unfit to raise them.

For the next few years the siblings, who had understandably acquired emotional and behavioral problems, had to be separated. Shuffling the youth from foster parent to foster parent, social workers attempted to secure stable, loving families for them. Professionals doubted the two would ever settle into even divided permanent homes, and thought it nigh on impossible they could be raised together. The situation seemed hopeless.

Enter a gay couple who, over the course of a few years, demonstrated a patient and persistent love toward the children. They showed up for the kids at their school events. They marked their birthdays and celebrated holidays with them. This couple slowly built a strong level of trust with these young people — and between them. Adoption papers were signed. Today, the children are being brought up, side-by-side in a home where, ironically, one of the parents is a devout, practicing Roman Catholic.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

Today’s Roman Catholic bishops wield great authority — influential and institutionalized. That these self-proclaimed Servants of God choose to shutter foster care agencies rather than examine even a remote chance that a gay couple might offer a safe, nurturing haven for impoverished youth, shouts hypocrisy. Like Herod, bishops are interested in power, not children.

No, closing foster care agencies is not akin to the magnitude of Herod’s bloody slaughter of infants. Antiquity’s massacre of innocents is today’s loss of innocents. The screams of Herod’s tiny victims echo through the ages.

“The Lord hears the cry of the poor,” says the psalm. Apparently bishops do not.

That woe is me, poor child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!

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