I wonder if there are any Islamic adoption agencies in the U.K. I suspect they would take the same postion and the R.C. and C. of E. bishops. But there may not be any.
In today’s Guardian (here in the UK) a gay C of E clergyman who fosters a boy with severe behavioural difficulties is quoted as saying:”The Catholic Church has allowed it elsewhere. Cardinal Levada, who’s become the Vatican’s doctrinal enforcer, when he was Archbishop of San Francisco allowed at least three children from Catholic agencies to be placed with gay couples”. So the San Francisco connection is being made. See the full story at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1998059,00.html
This story is front page news here – despite Catholic adoption agencies only accounting for 4% of UK adoptions. Its a reflection of the obsession with what is going on within the UK cabinet as we move towards the transition from Tony Blair to a new Prime Minster. Blair is seen as Catholic in all but name and the communities secretary – sympathetic to a Catholic opt out on this – is reckoned to be a member of Opus Dei. I suspect that at other times this story would have been a smallish item on the inside pages of the paper.
I guess the two questions are:
1. Will the government give the Catholics an exemption tto the anti-=discrimination law.
2. Will the Church, if it doesn’t get an exemption, pull out, in accordance with the Cardinals’s threat, or will they discern that the framework governing cooperation with evil allow cooperation with gay adoptions in these circumstances.
2. is a notoriously complicated analysis; lots will depend on who the Cardinal’s advisors are.
Once you pull out, you pull out. You’ve ceded any influence you have over the mainstream process, and you’ve become a countercultural witness. Maybe that’s the best the Church in Engalnd can hope for anyway, given it’s small numbers. But you’re on the ground Joan, what do you think.
Lovely to be asked for an opinion! As a stay at home mother I’m not used to that!
There is no way I can see that the Church can win on this one. Its two main supporters in the cabinet – the prime minister and the minister for communities are both in weakened positions. Blair is weakened because he’s soon to go. Ruth Kelly is an interesting case. I’ve often found myself defending her because she gets a lot of criticism which I suspect wouldn’t come her way if she wasn’t a clever woman and a Catholic. But in the last few weeks its come to light that she has removed her eldest child (she has four) from his state Catholic primary school to a specialist Anglican fee paying school in order to give him support for his dyslexia. While lots of people feel great sympathy for her in putting her child’s needs before her political ones the problem is that as education secretary she was responsible for a policy in which large numbers of state special schools have been closed in favour of including children with special needs in mainstream schools. It looks very much as if she has bought her way out of a problem that is partly of her making, and that most parents don’t have her option.
Added to that the Church was responsible for the government’s humiliating defeat on education just a few months back. The government was planning to introduce a quota into faith schools – insisting that a quarter of pupils were of a different faith from the denomination of the school. This was all to do with encouraging multicultural mixing at schools and was seen as largely aimed at Islamic schools, particularly as the rules would apply to new schools rather than existing ones. The Catholic Church was very vociferous in opposing these plans and the government was forced to do an embarrassing u turn. That’s not going to happen this time round.
The decision now will be about transition. How long the Catholic adoption agencies will have to adjust to the new realities of the anti-discrimination laws. This should be resolved in the next week. We’ll have to wait and see.
Today’s Tablet has a very moving article by Martin Reynolds the C of E clergyman quoted in my earlier post. He tells of how his Catholic partner has stopped going to mass because of feeling so rejected by his Church . He concludes “In the end, of course, it all comes down to money. The Catholic Church might continue to discriminate against lesbian and gay couples if the Church found the millions of pounds it costs annually to run its adoptions societies. In the current system most of the money comes from the Government and it will find it hard, if not impossible, to give the exemptions the Church asks for”. In the same issue The Tablet editorial suggests that the Catholic adoption agencies will close down if an exemption is not given.
It must be admitted that the Catholic Church does not have a very salubrious reputation on handling adult relationships with children.This topic has surfaced in UK because of the legalisation of same-sex civil partnerships. The Church has taken a lurid line in opposition to these legal relationships, which may or may not involve genital sexual activity. Who is to say? Certainly all the folk I’ve asked about the topic do not see same-sex civil partnerships as any threat to hetero-sexual marriage. The two scarcely impinge.
As a matter of interest, my classmates 60 years ago included two girls each of whom had been adopted by “couples” of two working spinsters (unmarried schoolteachers). Unlikely to be gay. But no longer considered “suitable adopters.” My friends didn’t suffer any discenible adverse consequences.
I do suspect that the “gay lobby” is using this issue as a stick with which to beat the Church. Effectively!