A Roman Catholic Bishop says he will demand the return of funds and expel one of its adoption agencies because the agency has changed its policy on gay adoption.
The trustees of Catholic Caring Services recently decided that they would break with Roman Catholic teaching and place children with homosexual couples in order to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations.
But Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster warned the Catholic Caring Services that he would begin legal action to recover thousands of pounds left by Catholics in legacies and wills if it did not reverse its decision.
In a letter to trustees the Bishop said: “I find it unthinkable, indeed heart-breaking, that Catholic Caring Services, so linked to the Catholic Church since its inception, would abandon its position and capitulate to recent same-sex adoption legislation.”
He added: “As your bishop I cannot give permission to an agency of the Catholic Church to act in opposition to her teaching and her long and rich experience of the placement of children with adoptive parents.”
Earlier this week Neil Addison, Barrister and Director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, wrote to the Catholic Herald about the legal implications of adoption agencies breaking with the Roman Catholic Church.
He wrote: “The Catholic Agencies are Catholic Charities, established with Catholic money which was provided “on trust” ie, on the basis that the Trustees would use it in accordance with Catholic teaching, money is given in wills on the same assumption; are the Trustees of the Agencies planning to return the Church money and Catholic legacies they have received?”
“It is worth noting,” he added, “that most advances for ‘gay rights’ were won because homosexual organisations were prepared to defend their corner and argue it out in court. It would be appalling if Catholic organisations lack the moral courage to do the same.”
Catholic Caring Services is the latest in a series of adoption agencies that have broken with Roman Catholic teaching and opted to allow adoption by homosexual couples.
However, the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society says that it will continue to operate its policy of placing children only with married couples. It is prepared, if necessary, to defend its stance in court.
In Scotland, the First Minister Alex Salmond says his Government will seek to find a lifeline so that Roman Catholic adoption agencies are not forced out of the system.
Scotland has two Roman Catholic adoption agencies. Together they account for almost 20 per cent of all adoptions in the country.