Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catholic Adoption Agencies at Risk in Britain

The health care vote has been pushed back to October. That fact alone suffices as a celebratory post.

Fortunately, I will not attempt to elaborate on the chaos tearing apart Congress. Rather, I'd like to comment on the recent closing of the Catholic adoption agency of the Archdiocese of Westminster in Britain. According to an article in the National Catholic Register, Britain's Sexual Orientation Regulations require adoption agencies to service any couple who applies. Rather than dissociate from the Church in order to continue functioning, as many Catholic adoption agencies in Britain have done, the Catholic Children's Society of Westminster has ceased its services to new couples. It will, however, continue to assist those children and families it previously brought together.

In an admirable statement, the agency declared, "[If] we were to continue,...we would be forced to assess same-sex couples...This would not meet our existing criterion that couples coming forward must be married as man and wife. The trustees are convinced that what is best for children is that they be brought up by married couples. This is shown by research, but it is also consonant with the teaching of the Church. In the unanimous view of the trustees, it would be totally unacceptable for our Catholic agency to act in a way that is at odds with the teaching of the Church."

Ann Widdecome, a Catholic and a member of the Conservative Party of Parliament, said of the effects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, "We knew right from the start that the adoption agencies would close down...They cannot go against the teachings of the Church. For the sake of political intolerance, they can now longer operate."

I'd like to draw attention to that last sentence. "For the sake of political intolerance, they can no longer operate." The statement brings to mind the state of affairs in countries faced with an ever-growing protest among gay rights activists against those institutions which promote marriage as the union of man and woman. The closing of the Catholic Children's Society provides a perfect example of relativism's double standard. While the Sexual Orientation Regulations give same-sex couples the freedom to seek any adoption agency of their choice, Catholic adoption agencies are no longer at liberty to act according to conscience in servicing families. Same-sex couples are allowed to live according to their own moral code at the expense of adoption agencies seeking to practice in accord with their own beliefs.

Times like these call for continued witness to the Catholic faith. As St. Thomas More once said, "The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them."

Reference: CNS. "Adoption Agency Shut Down." National Catholic Register, pg. 4. July 12, 2009.

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