RC Church forced to drop adoption work in Wales

The Roman Catholic Church has severed links with its adoption agencies in every one of its Welsh dioceses because of the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs).

The St David’s Children’s Society, which covers the three Welsh dioceses of Cardiff, Menevia and Wrexham, was founded by the Church in 1947.

The Society is the third largest of the 13 Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales and finds new families for about 35 children a year – about 14 per cent of all cases in Wales.

The adoption agencies follow the Roman Catholic teaching on marriage, and only allow joint adoptions for married couples.

But the SORs mean that adoption groups risk being sued unless they comply with a ‘gay rights’ agenda.

This is the latest in a series of cases where Roman Catholic adoption agencies have faced problems because of the new SORs, which make it unlawful to discriminate in the provision of goods, facilities or services to someone because of their sexual orientation.

When the SORs were brought in, there were strong calls for an exemption to be allowed for agencies with religious objections to placing children with same-sex couples. However, then Prime Minister Tony Blair opted for a compromise in which the agencies were given until the end of 2008 to comply.

Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, told the Catholic Herald that the new law made it “inevitable” that the agencies would find themselves in crisis.

She said: “It is ludicrous. No one is benefiting from this law. Homosexual couples could already adopt, they just couldn’t adopt through Fr O’Flaherty.

“The very difficult placements the Catholic Church was so good at are at risk of being lost and it will be those children who depend most upon this service who are going to suffer.”