You will no doubt have heard that the Charities Commission, which effectively prevented Catholic adoption societies from continuing to operate under a Catholic banner, has been instructed by the Court to review its decision. It seems very likely that our adoption societies will be able to meet the remaining criteria without difficulty.
The key Regulation in the Equality Act reads like this:
18.—(1) Nothing in these Regulations shall make it unlawful for a person to provide benefits only to persons of a particular sexual orientation, if—
(a) he acts in pursuance of a charitable instrument, and
(b) the restriction of benefits to persons of that sexual orientation is imposed by reason of or on the grounds of the provisions of the charitable instrument.
There is an irony here, Apparently the regulation was inserted at the behest of the homosexual lobby to prevent their charities being sued for discrimination by heterosexuals.
Of course schadenfreude is unknown on this blog, but I have to admit that I greeted the news with a cheery smile. Any group of people, which seeks to restrict basic Catholic rights, while enhancing its own, is always likely to slip on its own banana skin.
O O O
It was announced last week that Ed Balls, whom we have discussed much in connection with sex education, has been invited to appear on Any Questions (Radio 4. Friday evening and Saturday lunchtime). If he appears and is asked to speak on such matters it may well be that some of you will have a comment or two to make on this blog. I hope so.
I regret that this good news from the courts might well be short-lived. Again it is all about the will of Parliament and that ‘will’ is to promote homosexual rights, over any other rights, in all areas of public life.
So , it is only a matter of time before a Statutory Instruement comes into force to make it plain that all adoption agencies are forbidden by law to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, no matter what there own rules might say or what is best for the children in need of adoption.
This homosexual bandwagon has been temporarily de-railed but it will be back on the tracks before long.
I hope Claret is being unduly pessimistic – though I accept his analysis.
In hindsight, it is a great pity that it is only one Catholic Adoption agency (Leeds, I think?) which has had the courage (and a clever barrister) to fight on; if the other Agencies had not either closed or – shamefully – accepted the Government’s diktat, the Church might now be in a stronger position to fight her case.
In our own case, the Northampton diocese, the St Francis Children’s Homes, which historically had done excellent work with difficult-to-place older children, chose to accept the Government’s ruling and severed connections with the diocese thereby. They then had the cheek to send out a letter to all former supporters asking for their continued financial support – but without spelling out their changed policy. When I wrote back, asking exactly what their new policy was, as I could only continue to support them if it was in conformity with Church teaching, I got no reply at all. Our parish priest wrote to them saying he would no longer support any fund-raising on their behalf on Church precincts; again, no reply.
I thoroughly support the comments above by Frank.
I too wrote to my Bishop, with the knowledge and support of my Parish Priest, summarising everything that I had been able to discover about the local Adoption Society (whose President is still the Bishop) and concluding:-
“The only reasonable conclusion is that the Trustees of the Society hope that the situation [to recruit and consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents] will never arise. One can see why all concerned are anxious to operate ‘sub rosa’ and appear compliant in order to carry on the undoubtedly excellent work that they are doing for children and families. Nevertheless I would strongly suggest that this is not a proper way to proceed.
There is, of course, no objection to notices on behalf of secular organisations appearing on the Parish noticeboard – for example I see one for the Red Cross – but should we support, advertise and solicit contributions for an organisation which may be committed to act in a way described by Pope Benedict XVI as “gravely immoral”, especially if the fact is not generally known to the ordinary Catholic?”
Unsurprisingly I did not receive a reply!
Quentin, thanks for alerting us to the Court case. I don’t get a daily paper any more (I can no longer stand the opinions of the one I used to take), and if it was on TV, I missed it. But presumably there’ll be an appeal? We tend to lose these cases in the House of Lor… sorry, I mean the Supreme Court.
I haven’t marshalled my thoughts yet on the contributions so far, but I shouldn’t want those reading this blog to think that they represent the views of all Catholics. Self-righteousness should not come so readily to Catholics these days.
Many of us think that almost any risk is worth taking, by experienced and committed people whose Catholicism is in their actions and not just their words, to continue their heroic work in finding good homes for children who, otherwise, will spend the rest of their childhood in care with often damaging consequences.
There are plenty of gay Catholics, I would not assume they, personally, are against us – if they are it is because they see us as rejecting them.
Just to clear things up. I have nothing against homosexual individuals.
I have known and numbered many amongst my friends.
What I am complaining about is the recourse to duplicity and secrecy -the same tendencies which have given rise to the child abuse scandals that are threatening the credibility of the church.
I am not sure why Superview uses the word ‘self-righteous’. I assume he/she might be referring to the comments of Horace and myself?
Surely the point is clear: the Church, in her official adoption agencies, cannot support adoption by homosexuals.
This has nothing to do with ‘homophobia’ or the recognition that homosexuals can have good parenting skills, like everyone else.
The Church must insist that the best upbringing for children is in a loving household where their parents are married. Only heterosexuals can marry (and this is not a ‘homophobic’ statement).
There are a very large number of secular agencies that can cater for homosexual couples’ wish to adopt. To insist that the Christian (and Muslim/Jewish) faiths comply with this law is simply a witchhunt against believers.
Those who listened to Ed Balls on Any Questions this weekend will have been disappointed not to hear him on the subject of sex education. But no need to worry. In the latest edition of the CH (just a few hours after I wrote to you) the following appeared:
“Catholic Herald March 19 2010, p5
On Tuesday House of Lords Schools Minister Baroness Morgan said that faith schools would not be forced to provide children with details of abortion clinics. Answering a question by crossbencher Lord Alton, She said: “Schools will have to teach their pupils where and how to obtain health information. They will also be encouraged to teach their pupils how to access information about contraception and sexual health as part of their delivery of SRE, but whether or how they do that will be at their discretion.”
It would be silly of me to pretend that I was surprised; I was of course familar with the wording of the Bill, which is more than can be said for some of my external critics.
I am not as pessimistic as Claret about the outcome of the new ruling on the Adoption Act. In fact I had been mystified, since the Act became law, at the Charities Commission’s interpretation. And at the pusillanimity of the Catholic adoption charities. But we shall see.
In cse you should think that I am growing soft in my old age, may I express the opinion that I would far prefer a child to be raised in a homosexual home than to remain in an adoption home or caught in a sequence of interrupted fostering.
I thought that the CCS Adoption Agency or any other Agency
only placed children with Married couples, who are Christian.
I must be living behind the times!
Don’t we as Catholics have a duty to bring our children up in the Faith. Not saying that I am homophobic, but they are not living the faith, so how can they teach children that homosexuality is wrong when practiced.Would they carry out all the devotions that catholics families do in the home.
Do we have many catholic children needing adoption or fostering? Ought we not be conscious of situations like this in our Parish work.Many years ago our parish worked very closely with the CCS as a laity and helped a lot of children in difficult times .
But I suppose- with the Child Protection now that would not be allowed! We seem to be losing all our trust in people ,I suppose it is necessary but very sad.
Baroness Morgan said to Lord Alton that “schools will have to teach their pupils where and how to obtain health information.”
With respect, Quentin, we who are protesting against this Bill, have been following the wording as closely as you have. We also know that ‘health information’ is a euphemism for information as to where and how to obtain contraceptives and abortions. When the UN (or our Government) talks about ‘sexual health’ they do not mean telling young people that the best way to avoid STDs, chlamydia and other sexual health hazards is to avoid intercourse; they mean access to clinics where they can be given free contraceptives and condoms and where to obtain abortions.
How can Catholic schools teach this ‘health information’ in good faith?
To respond to Quentin’s remark ‘in case you think I am growing soft in my old age…’, I am not sure what he means by it. Surely neither ‘soft’ or its opposite ‘hard (line?)’ come into this matter? No-one wants to see children languishing in care homes – at least in the UK. I understand that in Germany, care homes are run differently: by highly qualified people who give their charges a great deal of loving care; the result is that (I quote from memory) over 70% of young people from care homes in Germany go on to higher education. In the UK is it 6% or less.
But describing the options in this emotive way is like saying ‘If you knew that a pregant woman was going to die in childbirth, would you still deny her an abortion?’ I can just imagine the headlines in The Sun newspaper: “Nasty Catholic adoption agency wants to leave children with alcoholic, abusive parents rather than allow them to be adopted by caring, good, kind, gay couple!’
The fact is that Catholic adoption agencies have had an excellent record in the past in placing difficult children with married Catholic adoptive parents. Why does this have to change? Almost all children needing adoption are in the hands of state-run agencies where homosexual couples are as free to adopt them as anyone else. They might even be at the head of the queue, for reasons of political correctness.
Frank, you do make it a little difficult to get these matters clear when you appear to misread explicit information. The points I make briefly here have all been made before, but I will repeat them just once more.
I. What matters is in the Act, which will then be interpreted in the Courts. No government minister’s view , which is not expressed within the Act, can be enforced.
2. The Bill contains in the relevant place “(a) is appropriate to the ages of the pupils concerned and to their religious and cultural backgrounds”. It is likely that members of the Government have a different approach from us. Which is why the CES negotiated the right for Catholic schools to follow their beliefs.
3. If you seek further reassurance you have Lady Morgan’s words, clearly designed to correct the false impression given by Ed Balls: “They will also be encouraged to teach their pupils how to access information about contraception and sexual health as part of their delivery of SRE, but whether or how they do that will be at their discretion.” (My italics)
Please say what more you think the legislation should specify in order to protect Catholic interests.
Please don’t think me harsh, but I believe it to be dangerous for us to become vexatious in matters where we have already achieved the fundaments of what we need. What, some may ask, is the good of listening to the Catholic lobby when they will continue to be dissatisfied no matter what we do?
On the matter of lesbian adoption, my suggestion would not of course have satisfied our opponents since it would not have put lesbian parents on par but only faute de mieux, But for the record there is solid evidence that children placed with lesbian parents at birth do as well on average as those placed with heterosexual parents. The latest study which I have seen is dated 28 January 2010; which I think must be taken as reasonably up to date. The research findings over a number of years have led the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, and American Psychological Association to issue official policy statements supporting equal treatment of families headed by lesbian and gay parents. Admittedly there has not been time to follow a large enough sample into pubescence, or to track their ultimate sexual maturity – and research results are always provisional. Meanwhile I do not have the luxury of following my fancy, I must follow the best facts available,
If Baroness Morgan’s remarks, which are not part of the Act itself, cannot be enforced, I cannot see why Quentin, you quoted them. I simpled quoted part of them because you had. What Baroness Morgan says is contradictory; yet she is a Government spokeswoman on this Act. It does not give me confidence about the interpretation fo the Act in the courts when a senior Government official replies thus to Lord Alton. He would also have picked up on her contradictions.
As another post also pointed out, judges are swayed by their own prejudices – like the euthanasia case cited.
Without going back and forth over our different views on the Act, Government policy, the failure of the CES – on which we will never agree – I see a deeper problem behind this particular debate: how, in a pluralist society, where everyone has equal ‘rights’ and where all moral questions are relative (you have your opinions, I have mine) can a Christian/Catholic faith ever state anything as unequivocally wrong – without being wrong-footed?
I see this possible school PSHE scenario: Teacher: ‘Our Faith teaches us that abortion is the deliberate killing of innocent pre-born life’. Pupil: ‘I know people who have had abortions; they don’t believe it is killing; they say the foetus is a clump of cells.’ Teacher: ‘Then they are wrong’. Pupil: ‘They are entitled to their views just as you are. I’m telling my Mum what you said.’ Teacher, fearing Mum will report her to the Head or to the police, backtracks: ‘I didn’t mean they were wrong; I simply meant that we believe this and they believe that.’
As to lesbian or homosexual adoption, they are sidetracking from the subject of Quentin’s initial post re. the Leeds Adoption Society. Lesbians may make wonderful, indeed (future) saintly parents. The question is simply: Should Catholic Adoption Agencies, funded by Catholics and run under the auspices of the Diocese, be involved in same-sex adoption? The answer must be ‘No’.
Using phrases like ‘luxury of following my fancy’ are not worthy of you, Quentin! I am not following my ‘fancy’ and no ‘luxury’ is involved here. Nor is self-righteousness as was implied in another post. I am a Catholic layperson. For 25 years I have donated money to the St Francis Children’s Society. When the question of same-sex adoption came up, I felt I should put my mouth where my money was, and ask the Society what their policy was. (Normally I never write Letters like this, being too lazy and cowardly.) I got no reply. This was at the very least, unprofessional on their part.
( Incidentally,I have about 3 tiny shares in Santander, amounting to a few hundred pounds. I must be their least profitable investor; yet Santander always informs me of their policy, inviting me to vote and to come to board meetings; that is professional behaviour.)
I am not ‘Self-righteous of Tunbridge Wells’. I am ‘Sad of Northampton’. Sad that the Government under Tony Balir, forced Catholic Adoption agencies out of business; sad that some Agencies caved in; sad that my Letter should be necessary; sad that society has come to this.
However, merely being sad is not a commendable Christian stance; I should try to imitate St Thomas More and be a little braver in future.
Sorry Frank, won’t do. I repeated Lady Morgan’s statement because you had omitted the exact phrase which stood in the way of the case you were making. – whether you believe her assurances or not. It is often necessary to shorten a quote for the sake of space, but on this blog I will not allow people to be misquoted in matters of substance. No doubt it was inadvertance on your part, but we owe the truth to everyone.
I copy the quote from Hansard sources below. I have emphasised the phrase you omitted.
Written Question & Answer 11 March 2010
Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Children, Schools and Families Bill will place a requirement on Catholic, Jewish, Anglican and Muslim voluntary aided schools to provide children with details of abortion clinics and abortion referral agencies.
o o o
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Children, Young People and Families), Department for Children, Schools and Families; Labour)
It will not. Schools will have to teach their pupils where and how to obtain health information. They will also be encouraged to teach their pupils how to access information about contraception and sexual health as part of their delivery of SRE, but WHETHER AND HOW THEY DO THAT WILL BE AT THEIR DISCRETION.”
Surely it is Lady Morgan’s statements which ‘won’t do’? By only quoting the first half of her statement I did not mean to distort what she said; only to emphasise that it is internally contradictory.
On the one hand she says ‘Schools will have to teach their pupils where and how to obtain health information’; on the other she adds, ‘They will also be encouraged to teach their pupils how to access information about contraception and sexual health as part of their delivery of SRE, but whether and how they do that will be at their discretion.’
‘health information’ is not defined but we can assume it does not mean washing hands after going to the bathroom, especially as she immediately follows it up by putting together the two concepts of ‘contraception and sexual health’. She says ‘have to’ – not ‘may, at their discretion’. This is what is worrying.
So to conclude: on the one hand Catholic schools ‘will have to’ teach where and how to obtain information about sexual health; on the other it ‘will be left to their discretion’.
If there is no contradiction here I am a Chinaman (no Sino-phobia intended).
To put the case for Lady Morgan’s defence, so that Quentin will not think I am being unfair to her: I don’t think she sees any contradiction at all in her words. But Catholics, who perhaps have greater clarity of thought on moral matters, must be alarmed at such a muddled statement.
Of course, as Quentin has pointed out in other postings, it is the wording of the Bill that matters, rather than statements by Ed Balls or Lady Morgan. But when Government ministers can be so vague and contradictory, it does not give me, at any rate, much confidence in the Bill itself or how it will be interpreted in the courts when test cases, as they surely will, come up.
Is it going to make a great deal of difference what the government says or not says.
Catholic schools have for years been teaching what the Bill is saying we have to do!
A very brave lady Mrs Daphne Mcleod has been speaking out for years on the teachings of the faith or should I say the lack of it- also the sex education in our schools.Go to the web Proclessia and look on the Archives of the past years of The Flock. Also The Association of Catholic Women another organisation trying to uphold the Faith. They also have a web site.
One could get no more explicit than what the Catholic’Guidelines for Sex Eucation for our Roman Catholic Children-Prepared by Bishop David Konstant and his Catholic Education Service in 1994.-‘Knowing you Knowing Me’ and ‘Taught Not Caught’. Thankfully they were withdrawn but damage had already been done.Just to point out one of the not so explicit guidelines which was,’ A section requiring the children to “design the perfect contraceptive” The objective of this exercise is to help them identify the factors to consider “when choosing a method of contraception” The next section for 13-16 year old children to entitled “using the contraceptive kit is intended to enable the children to “see and handle contraceptive devices. It gets worse.
Hopefully now schools will have learned the lesson from the past
and stick by the teachings of The Catechism of The Catholic Church.
I appreciate what Quentin is saying ,and I understand what Frank is saying .I do agree with Frank that it will be open to interpretation. What we need is good catholic teachers.and that is what we have not had in the past. Those who were
in most cases were criticized.
I noticed in one of our Deanery parish bulletins the Bishop of Clifton last week was holding a talk for catholic teachers who were teaching in non-catholic schools . Bringing them home .Would that be because of the Bishops visit to Rome.,or the Holy Father’s visit here. I wonder.
Let us pray that we have some of Daphne Mcleods vigour and stand up for our faith.
A good catholic will know what to teach.If they don’t then our bishops ought to,if they believe in what the Catechism teaches.
I dont want to sound too critical towards our Bishops but neverthless they are supposed to be our leaders.
P,S. The web mentioned above is Pro Ecclesia
Bad spelling ,Sorry!
I’ve only just read all these comments. I’d like to add that I think this Government diktat to teach children about sex/ sexual health/ undefined “health information”/contraception and so on according to the “discretion” of religious schools is probably pie in the sky, simply because it’s not possible.
The government idea is almost to groom children for sex. I speak as a teacher who once had to sit in on a PSHE class in a non-denominational school in the 1980’s, before it had become so explicit. However, it was explicit enough for me and for the 13 year old boy who I was monitoring, who said to me as a condom was being put on a courgette, “Ooh Miss, I feel funny”.
I’ll leave the meaning of that to your imaginations.
What I suspect will happen is that some school inspectors will monitor how things are taught but not agree with religious beliefs and say we are not “balanced”, which of course we won’t be in their secular opinion.
A further, minor point. These lessons are labelled SRE. Doesn’t this muddy the waters of RE? Have these initials been dreamt up on purpose? Or am I being paranoid?
And yes, I’m a fan of Daphne McLeod’s; I’ve always admired her clear-thinking courage. And I can see where Frank is coming from.
I think that perhaps Quentin is being a bit naive and trusting in the good will of Ed Balls.
The old saying ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune, ‘ comes to my mind when we compare what a Government says to what it does in the field of education. Catholic Faith schools in the state sector are funded by taxation. viz. the Government, viz. the piper. Hence , as has already been pointed out, some Catholic schools seem only too ready to jump into the wrong bed when its financially beneficial to do so and those that don’t are soon put inder pressure to do so.
What is the purpose of this Bill? Where are the current shortcomings in sex aducation that demand such a wide ranging Bill? Are our childen going to be better served by it? These are the questions, and many more like it, that come to my mind but it seems that parents are superflous to what their children are to be taught.
On the subject of Catholic adoption agencies I find myself in a somewhat strange situation in that my own limited experience of them is that they are not wholly Catholic and are quite prepared to put a child into a loving home, that is not even Christian.
What of that child’s immortal soul? Does a Catholic adoption agency , under the authority of the local Bishop , not have to give an adopted child the chance of growing up in a Christian envirmonment? From what I know of it this is not an essential requirement. (Perhaps someone on here can tell me that I am misinformed on this point.) Indeed I read of one single parent
(female) who was able to adopt through a catholic adoption agency when she was not a catholic, not even a Christian of any description , had no intention of becoming one, and I assume no thought was given by the the aqdoption agency as to what any future ‘partner’ of this lady might be.
Unlike Quentin I am not swayed by the faith he has in lesbian relationships when it comes to parenting. It may be different research that so convinces him to that which I have read but the research that said the same things about the equal value of lesbian ‘parents’ of adopted children made no such claims for male homosexuals. It would be safe to assume that different results were found and therefore best left unsaid. As with all research one questions the motives of the researchers! And , may I add, the motives of those who beleive it. (Incidentally research of a ‘few years’ is hardly conclusive. It will no doubt take a ‘few years’ for a baby to grow old enough to notice that it has two parents of the same sex which may even be different to their own.)
Furthermore are we really saying that a girl reaching puberty, having periods, establishing her sexuality,etc. is going to be comfortable being parented by two men?
Claret just a point of fact. The study to which I referred was carried out both on double male and double female parents. It concluded: “The family type that is best for children is one that has responsible, committed, stable parenting. Two parents are, on average, better than one, but one really good parent is better than two not-so-good ones. The gender of parents only matters in ways that don’t matter.”
Now I would reserve my judgment until enough of these children are grown up and married to yield reliable long term figures. I would also want to know the average longevity of same sex partners. However, if I were obliged to make my decision today, I would place a child in a stable single sex partnership rather than leave it in a children’s home, or for serial adoption – because the evidence currently available supports that decision.
Interestingly there is a row going on in a parish in the USA where a couple who are lesbian have their child at a Catholic school because they deliberately wish it to be brought up as a Catholic. The child has been told by the pp that it is not allowed to stay at a Catholic school,
Juliana, I don’t trust politicians, I don’t trust police, I don’t trust priests, I don’t trust the Holy Office. I even have to look very carefully at my own motives before I allow myself, even provisionally, to trust me. But this is not a debate about trust, but about legislation. And I give greater, but not absolute, trust to the judges rather than to any other executive class.
What St Joseph and Juliana have pointed out, reinforced by what others have told me, leads me to the inescapable conclusion that our debate on this current Bill is shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic viz. for years children in all kinds of schools have been systematically and subtly corrupted by what they have beent taught in PSHE and now SRE lessons.
Thank you, Claret, for your post, with which I concur. I am reminded of the struggle of the late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban, after the infamous Bantu Laws were brought in by the Verwoerd government, to prevent the excellent Catholic mission schools from having to practise segregation. He knew the Government would withdraw funding if the mission schools did not obey the Bantu Laws; thus the diocese bravely took on the financing of these schools – a huge financial burden. It meant asking the teachers if they would take a 25% cut in their salaries; this was followed by a 50% cut. Eventually almost all the schools caved in and segregation triumphed.
As to adoption; Mrs Lynette Burrows, a Catholic journalist, speaking on the Moral Maze programme, mildly stated that in her opinion it was not a wise decision to give young boys into the care of two homosexuals; someone objected to this and she was visited by the police.
Quentin; interesting statement :- “The gender of parents only matters in ways that don’t matter.”
CONSIDERATIONS . . . Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003 Section 7 para 3
Mind you, as I was raised in the India of the British Raj at a time when it was normal for a child to be looked after by a nanny and to meet his/her parents for about half an hour between the end of Drawing room tea and the start of Nursery supper, I am inevitably somewhat cynical about today’s ideas of ‘parenting’.
The question Quentin is not what you would prefer (viz. a child brought up by same sex parents in a stable relationship- research incidentally shows such relationships to be less prolonged than married ones- rather than not be adopted at all,) but what the Church feels it can morally allow itself to be a part of.
I still though question whether it is right for the Church to place a child in an environment that is loving but totally non- Christian and thereby give no thought whatever to the child’s immortal soul.
A possible subject for this ‘blog’ under the heading of ‘moral dilemma?’
Incidentally Quentin I find your opening post on this topic which brought you a ‘cheery smile’ at a legal victory for Catholic adoption agencies somewhat contradictory to your then professed confidence in adoption by couples in ‘same sex ‘ relationships. Is this not what the case was about? That the Church should not have to legally place children with same sex couples?
Ah, Claret, perhaps you have me here. My defence is that I am concerned that Catholic bodies should not be obliged by the State to act against their consciences except when a serious public good is imperilled. Of course, all other things being equal, I would prefer a child to be brought up in a good, practising Catholic family. Such a preference was held, it would now seem incorrectly, to be against the law.
With one bound our hero was free!
Houdini has acheived the biggest escape trick of all. He is back, alive and well, and working for the Catholic Herald
Indeed, Claret…couldn’t agree with you more.
Thank you, St Joseph for your contribution of 23rd March.
I can’t help thinking that the Bishop of Clifton might have done better had he interviewed the many Catholic Heads of schools who do their best NOT to employ, good Catholic teachers (i,e., those who are loyal to the Holy See); I think that is partly where the problem lies. From what I have heard, it
seems to me that many Catholic Head teachers rarely take an applicant’s Catholic credentials seriously, though, of course, they may pretend to.