The Globe's Etymology Lesson

Boston is once more embroiled in controversy over the Catholic Church. And the Boston Globe is once again pontificating about matters Catholic.

In its editorial of March 14th, "Romney's Retreat," the Globe takes Governor Romney to task for proposing to file legislation exempting Catholic Charities from State discrimination laws regarding adoptions by same-sex couples. The editorial urges Romney not to lobby the Legislature for an exemption, but, rather, to lobby the Bishops for a reconsideration of their decision to discontinue handling adoptions.

In the event this does not succeed, the Globe advises the Governor to explore with others the creation of an "arm's-length organization that would handle adoptions with same-sex couples in close association with Catholic Charities, but with enough distance from it to avoid a Church veto."

Should both the above stratagems fail, the ever-resourceful Globe advocates the formation of "a new group ... outside the Church to take over Catholic Charities adoption work."

With their creativity now at full throttle, the editors even devise a name for the proposed entity. "Perhaps it could even be called catholic charities, with a small 'c,' restoring the root meaning of the word as 'general, universal, or inclusive in human affairs.'"

Since they are into etymology, the Globe editors might also check the Greek root of another word that seems to be lurking in the background of their mischievous flight of fancy: "schismatic."

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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