Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Adoption agencies divide the Roman Catholic Church

As the Prime Minister frantically attempts to lance his latest boil – ‘smeargate’ – and the ugly process captivates the political headlines for a week, it is very easy to forget some of the other governmental outrages which fester on without the attention they merit.

Cranmer has written much on the appalling fate of the Catholic adoption agencies. They are now at the end of a 20-month transition period during which they have been obliged either to close or conform to the 2007 legislation on the provision of goods and services to homosexuals. The issue divided the Cabinet, with Tony Blair and Ruth Kelly desperately trying to carve out some sort of exemption for the agencies. Both, of course, in the here-today-gone-tomorrow manner of politicians, have moved on. They perhaps knew they would not be in government when the religious consequences of their political actions finally hit the fan.

The Catholic adoption agencies find loving families for around 250 children a year, constituting a third of the adoption work of voluntary agencies. Crucially, they specialise in difficult cases such as large sibling groups and children with a high risk of mental illness or with a terminal illness. There is little in society that is a more Christian labour of love for the common good, and they have performed it as the Lord might require – humbly against hardship, without complaint, selflessly and unquestioningly prioritising the needs of the nation’s most vulnerable hearts and minds. They have truly and literally suffered the little children.

But the issue of compliance with the law of Caesar has divided the Roman Catholic Church, with agencies responding in different ways. Some languish in prison, others await their day in court, while still others have sacrificially thrown themselves onto the flames. These have voluntarily and completely severed their links with the Roman Catholic Church in order that they might comply fully with the legislation and place children with homosexual couples. The five largest agencies in the country have cast the Church aside, changed their constitutions and even their names in order to comply with the law. The former Catholic Children’s Society, which serves Arundel, Brighton, Portsmouth and Southwark, has transmogrified to the Cabrini Children’s Society. Under the terms of its agreement with local bishops, donations from churches and other Catholic bodies have to be spent on child welfare projects other than adoption. Other agencies which have cast St Peter aside are St David’s Children’s Society, which serves Wales and Herefordshire, St Francis’ Children’s Society in Northampton, and the Catholic Children’s Society in Nottingham, which is now called Faith in Families.

While the above have been amicable separations, the Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O’Donoghue, is presiding over the most acrimonious divorce. He has forbidden any money raised in his parishes to go to the new agency, Caritas Care, which replaced the region’s Catholic Caring Services. He has also warned that the charity may no longer be permitted to use property owned by the diocese.

But Cranmer also reported that some agencies were not going to just roll over without a fight, if only because of the implications that giving in might have for a whole range of other Catholic charities and agencies. In the hierarchy of competing rights, a battle is being waged for supremacy. Historically, faith-based organisations have enjoyed the right freely to practise their religion and adhere to tradition and orthodoxy. These liberties are now confronted head-on by the rights of homosexuals not to be discriminated against.

Some optimists believe that these apparently mutually exclusive rights can coexist. But Cranmer is not so sure. Being brought up by both a man and a woman, a father and a mother, has been found to be best for the wellbeing of children. The institution was not ordained by God for nothing. But the laws governing religious freedom are now trumped by those on equality and discrimination. It is no longer legally possible theologically to practise: in order to remain true to Church doctrine, one has to break the law.

Cranmer was (and remains) of the opinion that the agencies should do as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor did – take a principled stand and let them bring you to court. The media attention on the loss of religious liberty would cause such outrage that it seems unlikely that things would be left as they are. The Cardinal is supporting the Catholic Children’s Society in Westminster in a tribunal case which it is contesting under charity law. And the Cardinal’s successor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has form on the issue. He led the Church’s fight to gain an opt-out from the regulations. He may have lost that particular battle, but this war is far from over.


Anonymous bugs bunny said...

Aren't there Anglican adoption agencies also? Why aren't they also affected by the SORs? Don't tell me that they're going to give innocent children to gay couples.

14 April 2009 at 11:06  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I was a single parent father, and struggled to bring up my daughter alone. It was difficult for her. I did my best, but I was painfully aware of the need for a female role model. I could pick up on her friends 'curiosity' about the overt maleness of the house. They know, and pick up on things, and it does kind of get to you.

But the idea of a girl being adopted by two gay men, and having to grow through the difficult teen years of puberty and relationships is a painful thought. People are just not thinking this through.

Why do people want to have children? What is it that is being fulfilled? Why does it take two people of the opposite sex to do the job naturally? Growing up is a hellish transition for many kids these days as it is.

Would we ever consider sending babies to Africa for adoption? Why not? Would we ever consider sending babies to any other country? If I grew up and discovered that I was born in the UK, but was adopted by a man and a woman from Switzerland, or some other decent place, and that I narrowly escaped being adopted by a couple of dysfunctional queers from Brighton, I would scream into the sky "THANK YOU OH HOLY GOD, THANK YOU!"

14 April 2009 at 11:22  
Anonymous Ben said...

Given media's track record on reporting all things religion or homosexuality, I'm not sure that the media attention would cause an outrage in the direction you imply.

(See here for religious example: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7996827.stm, if christians get torched out of their houses, it's a "Religous Rift", not persecution)

14 April 2009 at 11:36  
Anonymous North Northwester said...

I can only assume that the secular humanists don't think their body count for the 20th Century was high enough.

Maybe this is the new way - not that the gays are likely to jeopardize their young charges in any direct way.

No; it'll be from eleswhere that the trouble comes when it does.

In my insurance days, this idiocy of the 'child protection authorities' would come under

14 April 2009 at 12:03  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

The reason for concern is that this battle is totally unecessary between reasonable people.

The vast majority of adoption agancies were available for any gay couple wishing to be vetted and assisted accroding to secular laws. Thus they had a considerable choice and prospects of success without going near that minority of agencies that held a faith position.

The heart of this is indeed a desire to exert secular hegemony over the spiritural. There is no other rational explanation.

14 April 2009 at 12:16  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I think Martin Sewell has hit the nail squarely on the head. This is an attack on the Catholic Church, not adoption agencies. The reason why it doesn't affect Anglican adoption agencies is because they meekly rolled over and capitulated yonks ago.

Although I'm not a Catholic I'll be rooting for Vincent Nichols.

14 April 2009 at 12:33  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Thank you for this informative post, Your Grace.

As you pointed out yesterday there are further moves posited to bring everyone into line into a sort of continuous celebration of sexual diversity - and let there be no backsliders please!

If the gay lobbyists the EU and the Govt have their way, those Christians who object (I wonder why it's never Muslims - though their take on this is quite robust, shall we say) will be hounded through the courts threatened with gaol and/or fined. Your Grace has pointed out the example of Sweden; Canada is another example.

Now is the time to stand up and be counted. I wonder whether I should put my house into a trust for my children in order to prevent it being taken in lieu of unpaid fines.

14 April 2009 at 12:44  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Your Grace.
I feel this is the tip of the iceberg, it is an attempt to break the Church into religous followers & scripture believing Christians, one group will do as you state & bale out, the others will stand & fight, the latter need our full support. Of course the innocent children are being used by the originators of this latest plot as quasi hostages.
This wicked NWO is now showing its origins, hedonistic, atheistic & ultimately Satanic, one of it's plans is divide & conquer, I wonder if this originated in that unelected, unwanted rabble in the so called EU Parliament, it certainly has all the hallmarks, or was this a home grown effort by the squalid, sleazy bacteria that haunt our own halls of Westminster? Either way it stinks. If homosexuals wish to pursue a particular lifestyle, thats their choice, one of the negative aspects of same sex relationships is that there are no natural children, this should be taken into considreation before embarking on this course.
Although I'm not homophobic, I agree with the Bible's stance that it is unnatural & totally self centred, it has wrecked many lives & brought disease, suffering & premature death to many more. Thus it is wrong to subject young & impressionable children to this lifestyle as an alternative, normal choice to a hetrosexual relationship. Homosexuality is a sad alternative & the irony is that it is refered to as 'gay'. We have seen that public opinion & opposition in Parliament can reverse bad legislature, for the sake of these children speak out, they at least deserve a right to choose their own paths in life.

14 April 2009 at 12:47  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

On the day that Deborah and Barak defeat Jabin’s army (commanded by Sisera – see Judges 5) they sing a song unashamedly boasting their God-given victory; a song that spells out the details of how Jael hammered a tent-peg through Sisera’s head.

Dear heavenly Father, I look forward to the singing, and my tent pegs await the service of the Lord in my garden shed.

14 April 2009 at 13:29  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Cui bono, as Cissero exclaimed a while ago, and I am at a loss to answer it. Do these people get up in the morning and think which bit of Christian dogma can I trample today? Are they cowards under the thrall of the pink mafia, do they honestly believe that secular humanism holds values that trump the historic Christian heritage of these lands. Is it a hedonists dream, drunk on power that feeds on causing maximum offence to those whose values they hold in contempt and are hell bent on destroying? Is this example the opium of their hatred. Jesus knew this, he knew the world and what it was capable of

John 15
18 If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.
19 If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

14 April 2009 at 14:28  
Blogger Dave H said...

"Although I'm not homophobic, I agree with the Bible's stance that it is unnatural & totally self centred, it has wrecked many lives & brought disease, suffering & premature death to many more."

I'm not sure you're acquainted the definition of homophobia.

Mind you, it is a piss-poor word. It should be homosexualophobia.

(WV=loaming. Somewhere between Kenneth McKeller and Geoffrey Smith?)

14 April 2009 at 14:29  
Blogger Young Mr. Brown said...

"I can only assume that the secular humanists don't think their body count for the 20th Century was high enough."

Well said, North Nortwester! Very well said!

Permit me now to turn to Your Grace's most excellent post. You wrote: "But the laws governing religious freedom are now trumped by those on equality and discrimination."

Your Grace, the laws governing all freedom are now trumped by those on equality and discrimination.

That is the philosophical position of the modern Labour Party. It is, as far as I can see, also the position of the LibDems. It is, I fear, even the position of the Conservative Party.

If I may be so bold, permit me to say that there is, however, a party that loves freedom, and where equality and discrimination will never trump it.

14 April 2009 at 14:45  
Anonymous Joshua said...

The church has failed miserably on all fronts. Its time for disease, plague, war, death and tent pegs.

14 April 2009 at 15:13  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr Dave H,

Psychologist George Weinberg invented the word "homophobia" in his book "Society and the Healthy Individual," published in 1972 or 1975 (sources differ). He defined it as "the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals."

So it is a recent addition to the lexicon of common usage, coincidental (if you believe in coincidences) with the time, 1973 that homosexual activists in the USA managed to get homosexuality deleted as a psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (That’s an interesting story if anyone cares to research it). Today the term homophobic holds a more pejorative meaning to indicate one who hates and is out of step with ‘modern’ thinking. I personally don't have a dread or fear of homosexuality, but I am repulsed by a certain act that is connected with it. That's why I think a better word would be Homotaedet - One disgusted by active homosexuality. Note ‘Active’, I have a lot of sympathy for those stricken with ssa and admire those who choose a celibate lifestyle for the sake of their beliefs.

14 April 2009 at 15:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

It appears to me that God is bringing a separation between the sheep and the goats within the Church. How many of our church leadership would go to the stake rather than deny Jesus the risen Lord.
It will not be long before Christians are being imprisoned because they hold to the truth of the scripture.
It is becoming impossible to be a Christian without falling foul of the law. Prison beckons.

14 April 2009 at 16:52  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Psychiatry is a fascist shill. Psychiatrists with their spurious invented illnesses were behind the holocaust.

14 April 2009 at 17:34  
Blogger ZZMike said...

recusant: "Do these people get up in the morning and think which bit of Christian dogma can I trample today?"

That would certainly explain a lot of things. We have a similar problem over here. Our main engine of antiChristianity is the ACLU (officially, American Civil Liberties Union, but more often referred to as the Anti Christian Litigation Union).

A year or so ago, a Catholic adoption agency in Boston, Massachusetts was ordered to adopt to homosexuals. They could not, and so they closed. It was a Hobson's choice: violate your principles or get out of town. One could say, they could do no other.

Dave H: "I'm not sure you're acquainted the definition of homophobia.
Mind you, it is a piss-poor word. It should be homosexualophobia."

That doesn't work either. There's no fear (="phobia") involved. And certainly no fear of men (=Latin "homo"). Some will say it comes from the Latin "homo" meaning "the same", as in "homogenized milk", but that word is really "homogenous" (or "homogeneous", for those who take up arms against despoilers of the language).

In either case, there is no fear involved.

recusant again: "That's why I think a better word would be Homotaedet."

"tedium" indeed. I was trying for a Greek word, finding "antipathos" (="dislike"). But then, it's probably uncivil to mix your roots.

Along that line, I would invite anyone who's still undecided about the proposition to attend any of the "Gay Pride" parades held in any of our big cities (San Francisco or Berkeley would be a good start). I don't know if they're held over there.

14 April 2009 at 18:46  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Mr ZZMike

We do have gay parade days in the UK, usually in cities and sponsored by the more progressive councils with local services involvement mandatory [police, fire brigade etc]. In 2006 ten Glasgow fire fighters refused to participate in a gay parade and faced disciplinary action, their superior officers reported the men for disobeying orders. One man, a watch manger, was demoted and lost £5000 in wages, the others received written warnings and were ordered to attend ‘diversity training’.
Fireman John Mitchell, a Catholic who disobeyed orders to attend the march has recently accepted an out-of-court settlement after he took his employer to court. I see your four San Diego fire fighters were awarded $34,300 for being forced by lesbian fire Chief Tracy Jarman to participate in a 2007 gay parade.
I suppose the nearest thing we have to your ACLU is a small bunch of disgruntled but vocal and militant atheists under the self styled banner of ‘National Secular Society’, National that’s a laugh, in 2007 they just managed to scrape together about 7,000 members, they won’t tell anyone their latest figures,. You may be aware they recently paid to have the slogan “There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Probably, there’s affirmative action for you!

14 April 2009 at 21:19  
Anonymous Rodney said...

Wiktor Boniecki, who was the chairman of the local praesidium of the National Council in Poland at the time (1959) when they were still under communism wrote accusing the new auxiliary bishop of seditious behaviour for encouraging the clergy to violate the teachings of the textbooks promoting the secular humanist communist ideoalogy: "Organising such occasions introduces an artificial division between believers and non-believers, violating at the same time the social and political unity of local society.' It continues: 'such activities deepen the divisions of citizens employed by state institutions into believers and non-believers... It distorts society's views ....' etc etc. The Bishop in question was Karol Wojtyla. The parallels are so stark they hardly require further illumination, unless one is completely blind. A comment was made by a biographer (Edward Stourton) of John Paul II that again reflected this parallel that would be repeated 50 years later as we see atheistic democracies trying to rid themselves of all vestiges of God: 'East Europeans like Karol Wojtyla saw the principle of religious freedom as an essential line of defence against the encroachment of aggressive, state-sponsored atheism." He could have been writing about 2009.

14 April 2009 at 22:55  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

I wonder if the same people who secretly funded the feminist Movement also fund the Gay Lobby as another divide and conqeur Policy.

the Purpose of the Feminist Movement

15 April 2009 at 08:42  

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