Czech Bishop Speaks Out Against LGB Parents, Needs of Czech Orphans Overlooked

By Glen Bradley, New Ways Ministry, September 17, 2016

In response to the Czech Republic’s court decision to affirm the adoption rights of an individual in a same-gender partnership, Bishop Vaclav Maly—chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Czech Bishops’ Conference—stated:

Bishop Vaclav Maly

“The model of the family, constituted by a man and a woman, has been proved over thousands of years and shown by numerous expert studies to serve a child’s physical and psychological needs best,” according to an article in The Tablet.

According to NBC News, in June 2016 the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic struck down a law which kept people in legally recognized same-gender partnerships from adopting children. The Czech Republic is a mostly agnostic nation, but Catholicism is the largest denomination. The nation has seen little change from their landmark decision in 2006 to create a “registered partnership” class for same-gender couples. Registered partnerships are similar to marriages but with fewer rights, such as–until recently–not having the right to adopt children. The previous law, however, did allow single LGB people or same-gender couples not in a “registered partnership” to adopt as it only restricted those in “registered partnerships.” The court’s June 2016 decision allows one member of a registered partnership to adopt but still does not yet allow both partners to hold joint custody.

In his statement, Bishop Maly said recent increases in child abuse and neglect require increased dialogue on the country’s adoption system. But while Maly’s observations are accurate, research shows LGB adoptive parenting may, in fact, be part of the solution to this problem.

According to SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest charity working with orphaned and abandoned children, the Czech Republic relies on institutionalized care (e.g., orphanages) for orphaned and disadvantaged youth instead of foster care systems. Institutionalized care, according to Dr. Victor Groza, the Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, causes problems with developmental, physical, psychological, social and brain health. Dr. Groza stated, “The regimentation and ritualization of institutional life do not provide children with the quality of life, or the experiences they need to be healthy, happy, fully functioning adults.” They are also unable to form strong and lasting relationships with adults, leading to severe problems with socialization, primarily building trust and lasting relationships amongst adults and children alike.

Not only is the Czech system inherently harmful to children because it is institutionalized, but, as SOS Children’s Villages claims, Czech institutions also fail to meet the children’s basic needs because the facilities are too large, not adapted to individualized care, do not allow children to make any choices of their own, and provide only minimal to contact with the outside world, including their siblings.

Dr. Petra Vrtbovska from the Prague Institute for Foster Care provided a descriptive diagnosis of Czech child-support services:

“In the Czech Republic children’s homes still look very, very old-fashioned. There are still thirty, forty or fifty children in one big building… They are moved from one section to another, from one institution to another and combined with the original trauma this type of life-style leads to future disasters. Most of these young people are seriously disturbed. They have got clothes and they are not hungry but emotionally and socially these young people are not able to function which creates an enormous ongoing trauma in them.”

Apart from the emotional damage Czech institutional care inflicts on children, the system also has a wider impact on Czech society as a whole, says Vrtbovska:

“It is also very difficult for society because these people end up in the streets, on drugs, in psychiatric clinics, prisons… so it creates very big problems on both sides. But I always tend to pity those poor young people more because they suffer enormously and society should do something about it when they are young. It is very difficult to do something about it when they are twenty-five.”

SOS Children’s Villages adds, “when the children leave these institutions, they are not ready to live independently… 41% end up committing a crime.”

Vrtbovska also found that many children are overlooked by adults seeking to adopt. She explained, “there are a lot of couples here who want to adopt children but these people usually want healthy, white, newborn babies… Roma children account for 60% of all residents in care facilities.” Children with disabilities or from migrant or Roma backgrounds go overlooked.

Vrtbovska attributes this discrepancy to:

“a hidden prejudice against Romany kids – the racist belief that every Roma kid will steal, every Roma kid is lazy. So there is prejudice…. Romany children [who] end up in an orphanage have little chance of ever finding a new family.” this Czech childcare crisis, Bishop Maly insisted heterosexual parents are the only safe option for children who would supposedly be endangered by same-gender parents. However no such proof is found in the Czech Republic’s system, a system hampered by prejudices based on race and physical ability from both caretakers and prospective adoptive parents alike. Heterosexual couples applying for children have yet to supply a sufficient number of homes for these children. Same-gender couples could offer the needed homes.

According to the What We Know Project, the Columbia Law School’s Public Policy Research Portal, “research forms an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children.” While four studies concluded opposite-gender parenting is better than same-gender parenting, the What We Know Project discredited these as, “so misleading as to be inaccurate,” since they did not establish key controlled variables between opposite-gender parents and same-gender parents.

On the other hand, the What We Know Project found 74 studies showing no significant differences in child development, educational outcomes or health between same-gender and opposite-gender parents. CNN reported that the most recent study—which was released in April of 2016 in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics—concluded, “children of same-sex parents are just as healthy emotionally and physically as the children of different-sex parents.”

Other studies have shown same-gender adoptive parents tend to be more involved in parenting, adopt more disadvantaged children and allow open relationships with birth parents. In a Live Science interview, Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University, Massachusetts, who researches same-gender couple parenting, said:

“Gay parents ‘tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents… Gay parents, rarely become parents by accident, compared with an almost 50% accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals.”

In the same Live Science article, Brian Powell—Co-Director of the Preparing Future Faculty program at the Indiana University Bloomington’s Department of Sociology—there is one disadvantage:

“If same-sex marriage does disadvantage kids in any way, it has nothing to do with their parent’s gender and everything to do with society’s reaction toward the families.”

Bishop Maly’s statement, while intending to support Czech children needing adoptive parents, ignores the enormous potential same-gender couples offer. The bishop suggested a “deeper understanding of humanity” is needed by society. Maly should reflect on his own words before speaking on topics he has yet to fully research or understand. Perhaps this situation is an opportunity for our hierarchy to discover that prioritizing outdated family models over the needs of our flock can only lead to one end: separation of church and reality.

11 replies
  1. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    “The model of the family, constituted by a man and a woman, has been proved over thousands of years and shown by numerous expert studies to serve a child’s physical and psychological needs best…” Start with a false premise, and you get faulty reasoning and faulty policies.

    • Loretta
      Loretta says:

      I would add that the man/woman model certainly has value and advantage, but the Church often defers to a both/and model rather than an either/or in many matters of faith and morals. But gender is only one aspect of rearing a family. Look at the increase of not only single parents but single grandparents raising the children. The list of factors that contribute to a child’s well being is plentiful. The quality of the marital relationship is at the top of the list. Better to be raised in a loving, responsible and nurturing home than one of infidelity, abuse in all of its forms, poverty, when the child has to fend for himself/herself, etc. if family life were that simple, i.e., just having a mom and dad. It takes a village. If a single dad or mom, grandparent(s), or foster parents, gay parents or traditional model can provide a healthy, nurturing home then so be it.

  2. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    The bishop said dialogue is needed, but that is a two way street. The Church’s position is inflexible.
    I believe that the staunch anti homosexual fervor evident in the Catholic hierarchy today is an over correction of sorts, secondary to their own sexual abuse of minors. Painting themselves as the moral absolute is perpetuating harm.

  3. cherylr774
    cherylr774 says:

    OMG the discrimination, full of conditions continue to be rampant IN the CHURCH………WWJS?????????
    Where is the LOVE we so often hear about from the Church?? The entitlement of ‘hetersexualism’ is the model to be followed? Look at the facts in this article for one. The high divorce rate in straight couples, Church going couples make for healthy kids????? Come on…………..again WWJS??????????? Let us as a church stop this one day I will say this and the next day if it deals with the LBGT community I will say thus and so???? Church leaders are contributing to the breakdown of the family, also the Church family and we become NOT to be believed and considered not to be THEE church to be gotten into but to be made a laughing stock for other peoples of Christian and other faiths/no faith…..again WWJS???? Shame on YOU!

  4. poolgirl2
    poolgirl2 says:

    Shame in Bishop Maly for his narrow-mindedness and lack of communication N passion. How can he not realize and verbalized that same sex couples are not responsible for most of the orphans, that heterosexual are! Love is love, everyone needs and wants it.

  5. Raph Martin
    Raph Martin says:

    Another well-intentioned but misguided ecclesiastic! I wonder if the Bishop or people advising him ever sat down with a same sex couple and asked them their opinion on adopting a child. After all if they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of a child’s need for love, caring,,and affection, they should be consulted. Once again the Church pushes legality before love and teachings before compassion. Where’s the Gospel in the Bishop’s position?

  6. Rick Garcia
    Rick Garcia says:

    When in the name G-D and His Blessed Mother are we going to be rid of these Ratzinger appointments? Oh, JP 11, did these appointments under the direction of Ratzinger.
    Criticize, spread calumny against loving people AND at the same time be a pedophile protecting prelate. These Ratzinger bishops continue to do an injustice to the Church and the people of G-d.

  7. miriamtf
    miriamtf says:

    You may have just changed my mind. I thought I had just written the final letter of many to the diocese and Roman Rota to defend the validity of my marriage. We were married 30 years as Catholic Christians when she divorced me. She could no longer handle the degree of my transness. (I am mtf and went public when she moved 1000 miles away.) The diocesan judge wrote people like me are narcissistic. That priest has no clue as to the sacrifices I’ve made in love for my wife. Neither does he see gender variation as possible, beyond the strict binary. Neither does my wife, so very sadly. I bring up my case here to show the parallel to the Church allowing same-sex couples to adopt. I still hold prayerful hope that Rome upholds the validity of our marriage. Should I use some of your ideas and add to the ream of paper I’ve already sent, not just for my sake but for every person’s?


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