Boston’s Catholic Charities to stop adoption service over same-sex law
BOSTON, Mass. (Catholic Online) – Catholic Charities in Boston announced March 10 that it is getting out of the adoption business, over Massachusetts state law requiring that that the agency place children with same-sex couples.
Father J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities, and newly appointed chair of the agency, Jeffrey Kaneb, saw no alternative but to pull out of the business altogether, according to a March 10 statement from the agency.
"The world was very different when (Catholic) Charities began this ministry at the threshold of the 20th-century. The world changed often and we adapted the ministry to meet changing times and needs. At all times we sought to place the welfare of children at the heart of our work," Father Hehir and Kaneb said in their statement.
"But now, we have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve. In spite of much effort and analysis, Catholic Charities of Boston finds that it cannot reconcile the teaching of the church, which guides our work, and the statutes and regulations of the commonwealth. The issue is adoption to same-sex couples, and we realize that for many it is a sensitive, deeply felt issue of conscience."
In a March 10 statement, Cardinal-designate Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, pointed to the history of Catholic Charities in the United States as an agency “exercising constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom” that “stepped forward to provide placement for orphaned children.”
“Sadly,” he said, “we have come to a moment when Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Boston must withdraw from the work of adoptions, in order to exercise (that) religious freedom.”
He noted said that Catholic Charities will “fulfill its contract obligations to the state” while it prepares to withdraw from adoption services.
Catholic Charities, he added, “will always hold the interests of the children to be paramount.”
The Boston Globe reported that a $1.2 million grant from the United Way may be lost because of the decision to not permit children to be adopted by same sex couples.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), considered a possible candidate for president, lamented the situation, saying it is a sad day for neglected and abandoned children, according to a March 10 Associated Press report.
Romney said that he is disturbed that the rights of adults are placed over the needs of children, according to the AP.
A Romney spokesperson says that the governor plans to file a bill next week that allows religious agencies an exemption to the Massachusetts law if it conflicts with beliefs.
The issue has been a hotly contested one for sometime here causing eight members of the agency's board of directors to resign on Ash Wednesday, March 1, in protest over a decision by the Massachusetts bishops to seek an exemption from state licensing requirements that Catholic agencies must facilitate adoptions by same-sex couples.
The bishops of the four Catholic dioceses in Massachusetts said in a Feb. 28 statement that if Catholic agencies were required to help same-sex couples adopt children in violation of church teaching prohibiting the practice it would present "a serious pastoral problem" and threaten religious freedom.
"We are asking the commonwealth to respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and allow the Catholic Church to continue serving children in need of adoption without violating the tenets of our faith," the bishops said.
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Father Robert J. Carr is a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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