Being a Bishop is a pretty ghastly job: being an effective loving father to one's clergy is pretty tough, some of us are not that lovable. Spending hours stuck behind a desk answering letters to clergy let alone the faithful would drive me screaming into the local lunatic asylum. Teaching the Catholic faith to people whose hearts have grown hard, or who have just developed their own theology can be like swimming in custard.
Bishop O'Donahue seems to have have the worst job of all. He has a diocese with huge Victorian churches that no longer have congregations to fill them or clergy to serve them. He took over a diocese that was almost bankrupted by his predecessor who set up a diocesan structure of lay department heads who were vastly overpaid and seemed be self generating, they became a diocese within a diocese.
Next year he retires, Rome has already appointed a coadjutor with the right of succession, which is unusual if the bishop is not ill or mad.
Now it appears he is making his last stand by taking on his diocesan "Catholic Caring Services", which seems to be far from Catholic. He is fighting for the soul of this organisation, he has made public a letter he sent the Trustees.
I repeat what I said in my letter of 26 May 2008 that I find it incredibly difficult to write letters such as this but it’s good to know that you understand my position while not agreeing with it.
The Trustees have voted for a second time for an Open Policy (8.2, 6.1) to accept homosexual and lesbian partnerships in the adoption of children.
At present Catholic Caring Services operates as an agency working in the name of the Catholic Church and as such its practice is to assess only married couples (and in very exceptional cases single parents) and to approve those whom it judges suitable to act as adoptive parents. It is the Local Authority which places children for adoption. In approving a married couple there is an explicit and official approval of their union. This is because we seek a married couple who love each other and will remain faithful to their vows. Thus, approval of parenting ability and approval of the marriage are inextricably entwined.
From January 2009, the Government expects Catholic Caring Services to treat same-sex applicants in an identical manner to married couples, thus giving explicit approval of homosexual and lesbian partnerships. Catholic Caring Services would no longer be able to promote the Church’s moral teaching that a marital setting is better for children rather than being placed with a same-sex couple. However, the paramountcy of the child requires that it be placed with a mother and a father.
Church Teaching on Marriage and the Family
In the light of your rejection of Church teaching it is my duty as your bishop, pastor and fellow trustee to explain further:
The redoubtable Jackie Parkes carries the whole letter.
If only PO'D was fifteen years younger what splendid Archbishop he would have made, thank God for his backbone!