A Roman Catholic adoption agency in Lancaster will go ahead with same-sex placements in spite of warnings that it risks losing diocesan funding.
Bosses at the agency, Catholic Caring Services, claim they will continue to be a Roman Catholic organisation while allowing homosexual partners to adopt.
The charity “will remain a Catholic charity, operating the same services, with the same staff, same values and same ethos”, said Chief Executive Jim Cullen.
But local bishop Patrick O’Donohue recently warned the trustees that they were betraying the values on which the charity was first set up.
He warned that if they went ahead with plans to break with official teaching on same-sex adoption, the church would begin legal action to recover funds left to the charity on the basis of its Roman Catholic foundations.
He 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.”
Roman Catholic adoption agencies were not granted any exemption from the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which require them to place children with same-sex couples.
Several have already had to cut significant links with their local dioceses, while others have vowed to fight the issue in court.
Barrister Neil Addison recently wrote about the legal situation for Roman Catholic agencies in a letter to The Catholic Herald newspaper:
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.”