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Vatican opposition to LGBT adoption prompts Newsom to nix Rome trip

Mayor foregoes Levada installation as Cardinal
Terms LGBT adoption doctrine 'patently offensive'

By Pat Murphy and Luke Thomas

Copyright fogcityjournal.com 2006

March 13, 2006

Mayor Gavin Newsom will not attend Vatican ceremonies creating Archbishop William Levada a Cardinal, Newsom told the Sentinel today, due to "patently offensive" reiteration of Vatican opposition to LGBT adoption.

As of Saturday morning the mayor was preparing to attend the event although rescheduling other commitments was still problematic.

He changed his mind after reading Saturday news accounts of the Vatican statement. The Vatican released its opposition to LGBT adoption in 2003 and chose this weekend to refocus world attention.

"I was ready to go, but it was that (statement) and a combination of a few other commitments that I was trying to balance and frankly I was on the fence anyway," Newsom said following an 8:30 a.m. University of San Francisco conference on disaster preparedness.

A practicing Roman Catholic, Newsom termed the policy divisive and wrong-headed.

"It's divisive. It's wrong-headed," Newsom stated.

"The idea, the principle that two loving parents of the same sex can't be great parents and that this church is now going to start attacking gay adoptions in this country and around the world was really disconcerting.

"I was just flabbergasted by a statement coming on the eve of this Ascension. I was just so disappointed."

San Francisco Catholic Charities place adoptions in LGBT homes and is concerned by Rome's aggressive teaching, Newsom pointed out.

"It's a cause of some serious concern in San Francisco through Catholic Charities which has placed a lot of children into really very, very loving homes and the notion that they should be precluded from doing that is beyond me.

"If we're supposed to be encouraging adoption, if we're supposed to be discouraging abortion which is principled - I absolutely believe that - then we also have to be encouraging placement in loving households.

"Somehow inherently that two people of the same sex can't be loving parents to me is patently offensive because it belies fact and it belies any sense of sensitivity or capacity of understanding.

"Some of the greatest people I know, bar none, are same sex couples - my chief of staff (Steve Kawa), Rachel Gordon, and others are doing incredible jobs raising their children. We should all be so lucky.

"And the notion that a man and woman are going to be better parents... doesn't mean that necessarily it's going to be better for the child and I just think that is wrong."

A number of Catholic teachings challenge Newsom's acceptance, he continued.

"I'm coming to grips with my position on almost every big issue which the church says. It's not like it's some new alarming thing for me - obviously on gay marriage, on stem cells, on issues of choice.

"Obviously we have a difference on birth control so there are a lot areas on which we don't agree and I just thought that this is an unnecessary place for the church to go.

"Particularly when the church has demonstrated success in adopting a strategy where they helped, as conduits, through Catholic Charities of San Francisco alone established great foundations for future child development through adoptions by same sex partners.

Newsom suggested the Vatican should move beyond "stale and questionable documents."

"This is just corroding and divisive," Newsom told the Sentinel.

"If the church is going to evolve in recognition that it can expand its reach, then it should expand its capacity of understanding and not limit it to some real stale doctrines... I think never had a good context, and now really are questionable."

"This is hardly the first time I've disagreed.

"I always respectfully disagree and it doesn't demean the message of the church which is to me fundamental and profound - the morality that is teached in the church and that is the reason I continue to be a proud Catholic but I just thought the timing wasn't right.

"I'm concerned because I think the practical application of that in San Francisco is going to be very damaging.

"What does it say to all those children who were placed by Catholic Charities in those families?

"What does it say to those parents? What does it say those families. I think it's pretty damaging to those existing families so I just hope there's some sensitivity to that," Newsom reflected.

Roman Catholic belief requires the faithful to give "serious and reflective" consideration to doctrinal proclamations but leaves assent to individual conscience and relationship with God -- except in formal invocation of ex-cathedra teachings.

Vatican teaching against LGBT adoption was not issued as an ex-catheda proclamation.

Ex-catheda is Latin reference to "from the chair" of Peter on whom Catholics believe Christ conferred"The Keys to the Kingdom" which promised Peter infallibility of "whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven."

The last time infallibility was formally invoked by a Pope through ex-catheda proclamation was in 1950. The proclamation requires Catholics to believe that Mary was bodily taken to heaven at the close of her earthly life.

San Francisco Police Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese leads the San Francisco delegation to the March 24 elevation of past San Francisco Archbishop William Levada to Cardinal.

Levada also will be formally installed as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formally headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict XVI.

Sentinel publisher and photographer Luke Thomas will accompany the San Francisco delegation filing daily reports and and photos.




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