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Boston Catholic Charities at odds with bishops?

Mar. 02, 2006 (CWNews.com) - Seven members of the board of Catholic Charities in Boston have resigned to protest a move by the Catholic bishops to stop Catholic adoption agencies from placing children in the homes of homosexual couples.

The Massachusetts bishops announced February 28 that they would seek an exemption from state policies that require adoption agencies to provide equal treatment for homosexual couples. Citing Church teaching, that characterizes same-sex adoptions as a form of violence against children, the bishops said that the policy makes it impossible for Catholic Charities to comply with state standards while maintaining its Catholic identity.

Last December it came to light that the Boston office of Catholic Charities had been following the state policies, and had arrange the adoption of at least 13 children by homosexual couples during the past decade. The board of Catholic Charities has reportedly voted overwhelmingly to continue promoting same-sex adoptions, despite the bishops' opposition. On March 1 seven directors of the agency, including former board chairman Peter Meade, resigned their posts, announcing that the bishops' effort to end the same-sex adoptions 'threatens the very essence of our Christian mission."

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney met on March 1 with Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley to discuss the bishops' plea for exemption from the existing policies. Romney, who had initially said that he lacked the authority to grant such an exemption, expressed some sympathy for the bishops' religious-freedom argument. "Ultimately legislation may need to be filed to provide an exemption based on religious principles," he said.

Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty, the chairman of a joint committee on judicial affairs, has already stated that the state legislature would not be likely to entertain a plea for exemption from the Catholic Church. That might force the Massachusetts bishops to choose among three options: challenging the state policies in court, withdrawing from the adoption services that Catholic Charities have provided for generations, or continuing a policy that clashes with Church teaching.

 

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