A Joint Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Hallam, Leeds & Middlesbrough, God bless them!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
You will realize that during the course of the last few years Catholic Care has been making strenuous efforts to secure its rights as an adoption agency in order to continue to supply a beneficial service to the three Dioceses of Hallam, Leeds and Middlesbrough. Since 1963, this agency has assisted placing of some of the most vulnerable children to the care of loving families in our region.
However, in 2006 the passing of the Equality Act affected this good work. This new law asks us to operate our adoption agency with disregard to the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life. It has been designed to widen the pool of people who are able to legally adopt which includes same-sex couples. Despite the fact that Catholic Care has been able to find caring families for a vast number of needy children we are being invited either to stop our adoption work or stop being a Catholic charity altogether. This has had the effect that most Catholic adoption agencies, depending on their circumstances, have either closed or transferred their adoption activity to other charities. Neither of these options is acceptable to us or to the Trustees of Catholic Care. Indeed, our position has been widely supported not only within the Catholic Church but also from very many others outside.
Since 2007 Catholic Care has been involved in a legal battle to stay open as a Catholic adoption agency and to operate according to our beliefs in marriage and family life. Precisely because we wish to do everything possible to remain open the next stage in this legal process will take place in the High Court this week. Our position is that it is in the interests of children to continue our work. We are not judging other agencies that accept same sex couples for adoption, but feel strongly that we should not be forced to do so, nor is there a necessity for this to happen. We believe that this is a legally justifiable position to take and that it is a reasonable response to a legitimate end.
Our adoption service has been at the heart of the local community for over 100 years. It has been praised and widely appreciated by local authorities and social services, as well as the children who have benefited from this work and the couples who have sought to adopt them. Children have a right to a family life. There are too many children awaiting adoption and Catholic Care has a vital and a special role in helping very vulnerable children by finding loving families for them. If Catholic Care is forced to close its adoption service it is children who will lose an effective and well respected resource in the Yorkshire region.
As we write to you today, we wish to thank you for your generous support of Catholic Care and for your shared concern with us over this state of affairs. Above all, we seek your prayers especially as the High Court case begins on Wednesday. May Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, patroness of our three dioceses, intercede for us to the Lord that the good work Catholic Care has undertaken for so long may continue.
+ Rawsthorne +Roche +Drainey
Thanks for posting that Fr - I thought it deserved some coverage on a much-read blog!
At last, thank God for them indeed :)
Well, yes, thanks be to God for the stand these Bishops have taken. I applaud them. But an opportunity has been missed. The CSF Bill could have been used to draw attention to the fact that there is a culture in the UK which does not accept Catholics as citizens with equal rights. What we have is a situation in which it is fine for homosexuals to live by their beliefs and abortionists to live by their beliefs, but not fine for Catholics to live by their beliefs. We are a persecuted people, and the UK Government must be shown, whether they know it or not (and I suspect they do) to be actively engaging in this persecution.
At last, indeed. The legal means are there to be used by all. Let's pray that the bishops' challenge is successful at this level. I don't think they'd get much change out of the "Supreme" Court.
The deprivation suffered by children is as nothing in the face of those who would ram their morally bankrupt ideology through.
My prayers will be for the bishops and their lawyers today at Mass and through the week.
God bless their efforts.
Yes, good news indeed. Thank you and well done your Graces!
The road ahead is long and hard but even a 1000 mile journey starts with one step!
Perhaps other Bishops will now join this initiative and finally show a 'United Catholic Front' in E & W against the onslaught of secularism and culture of amoral relativism.
Prayers assured and God Bless.
Well done those good and faithful Bishops. Let us all pray hard for their success.
Good to see these 3 Bishops standing up for the Catholicity of Adoption services. The next fight is with Ed Balls and Co. and the CES. Will we have to pull out of schools in the same way that some have pulled out of adoption - because we cannot call them "Catholic" anymore. I agree with Fr. Aidan Nicholls' article in "The Catholic Heald". Spare a thought for those caught in the crossfire - the people employed in these agencies - This issue involves people's livlihoods.
Those of us who live in diocese whose Bishops have not publicly supported this action should write to them and ask them to do so.
We must keep the momentum up on this otherwise it will just slip away as so often happens.
Thank God for bishops who are prepared to 'stand up and be counted'. Well done! Praying for a successul outcome.
Maybe others will follow suit with regard to the CSF Bill.
Very encouraging news Father whether we win or lose. Precisely the response the Holy Father asked for. A great shame that my diocese decide to cave in without a fight and then dissentfully support it directly with mandated collections in every parish with the full and heartful support of the bishop!
Fr. Ray, have you seen the comments from James Preece, who has stated that this is probably more to do with the lay people involved than the actualy Bishops? Your thoughts Father?
It's a stance, but I dare say it is improbable that it will succeed. A judge’s role is not to make law, but to uphold and apply the laws made by Parliament. I can't see how a Judge could possibily rule against the unambiguos decision of parliament in this matter.
The problem is that many bishops and priests are rendered powerless by the liberal laity they employ. If James is right about this, so much the better, so many diocesan employees value their jobs more than the Gospel.
Their Lordships should be commended on their staff.
HOORAY !!!!! THE FIGHTBACK STARTS !!!
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