Each month the Vatican publishes the Pope’s special prayer intentions. Usually both a “general” and “mission” intention are provided.
For August, Benedict’s general prayer intention is: “That orphans may not lack the care necessary for their human and Christian formation.”
While I understand the motivation behind Benedict’s intention (probably actually written by some low-level curial Vaticrat), I presume that he would want even non-Christian orphans to be cared for and loved.
For this intention to be anything more than a “noisy gong,” we must look to the ways in which societies the world over concretely care for those countless children who, for whatever reason, no longer have their natural parents. While some children who lose their parents are lucky enough to be cared for aunts and uncles, grandparents or even adult siblings, it is adoptive and foster parents who most often provide the care that the orphan so desparately needs. Given this, one would think that the Church would do all it could to support these folks who simply want to love and care for a child to whom life has dealt such a harsh blow.
Qualified adoptive and foster parents — men and women, young and old, married and single, straight and gay — should all be embraced by societies for their willingness to provide for the truly weakest among us.
Even as we join our voice with Benedict’s for his August prayer intention, let us also pray for Benedict, Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley, and other Church leaders who would do violence to children by not allowing them to be cared for by loving gay men and women seeking to put their own faith into practice!