Some UK Catholics say they are concerned that their diocese has been collecting funds through annual parish and diocesan-run school initiatives for an adoption agency that severed ties with the Church in 2008 after it began openly facilitating adoptions to homosexual couples.
“Most ordinary Catholics in Clifton parishes have no idea they are donating to an organization that is not a bona-fide Catholic adoption agency,” one Catholic parishioner from the Diocese of Clifton told LifeSiteNews, under condition of anonymity.
The Clifton diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Declan Lang, lists CCS Adoption in its online directory as a “caring” organization to “promote the welfare of children and young people” that is “guided by the values of the Catholic Church.”
In April, the diocese organized its annual appeal for the adoption agency. Announcements for a special collection appeared in local parish bulletins.
“Clifton Children’s Society’s Annual Appeal takes place today,” stated an April 27 bulletin from Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Parish in Bath. “Please give generously to the collection. … They need to find many more adoptive families.”
‘Gay is not a factor’ in adoptions
In 2007, Britain’s Labour government passed sexual orientation regulations prohibiting religious groups or individuals from refusing to provide goods and services to homosexuals. Catholic adoption agencies were forced to choose between compromising their faith convictions, contravening the law or closing their doors.
CCS Adoption opted for the first option, changing its name from Catholic Children’s Society (CCS) to Clifton’s Children Society (CCS) in 2008. However, since the acronym is the same, only those who are aware of the formal name change would be aware that the agency is no longer Catholic.
On its website, CCS Adoption states that “whether you are heterosexual, lesbian, or gay is not a factor” in beginning the adoption assessment process.
On its Facebook page, CCS explicitly encourages homosexuals to adopt through its promotion of the “LGBT Adoption and Fostering week” that includes “information evenings” for gays and lesbians. It also promotes on its Facebook page an LGBT network called “New Family Social.”
“Sexuality isn’t a barrier when it comes to making a difference to vulnerable children and young people,” CCS Adoption states in a February 6 Facebook post promoting an LGBT information night.
A 2010 government report of CCS Adoption gave the organization its highest “outstanding” rating for promoting “equality and diversity.”
“The managers, trustees and staff were united in wishing to provide a service to gay and lesbian couples,” the report stated. “Two same-sex couples are in the process of making applications, which is very positive,” stated the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) report.
Bishop: I ‘admire their work’
Bishop Lang, who has headed the diocese since 2001, told LifeSiteNews that to his knowledge CCS Adoption does “not facilitate adoptions of children to homosexual couples.”
“This [is] a separate Trust with its own board of Trustees. I am not a Trustee of the Society nor is it part of the Diocesan Trust,” he said. In order for the adoption agency to “continue its good work in supporting families,” he explained, “their Trustees decided to operate an open policy and abide according to the law of the land.”
The bishop said he has “come to admire their work over the years in which I have been acquainted with the Society.”
“They are inspired by their Christian and Catholic faith and their primary concern is for the good of the children who are to be adopted,” he said.
“If you have any further concerns regarding Clifton Children’s Society, I suggest you write to their Chair of Trustees,” he added.
LifeSiteNews submitted evidence to Bishop Lang that CCS Adoption does in fact facilitate adoption of children to homosexual couples and asked for further comment, but received no response.
Agency guided ‘by the values of the Catholic Church’
In its Statement of Purpose, CCS Agency says that it is “conscious” of its role within the diocese and its “debt to the Catholic community who support its work financially.”
“Therefore, good relationships with parishes, priests, schools, volunteers and supporters throughout the Diocesan area are essential in order to promote interest in and awareness of our work,” it states.
The agency also states that in working for the “welfare of children” it will be “guided by respect and love for all people and by the values of the Catholic Church.”
LifeSiteNews asked the agency how it can claim to be "guided by the values of the Catholic Church" while promoting homosexual adoption and placing children with homosexual couples, but they declined to comment.
Vatican: Same-sex adoption means ‘doing violence’ to children
The Catechism of the Catholic Church urges the faithful to accept those with same-sex attraction “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” adding that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
However, the Catholic Church also affirms the need for ‘just’ discrimination when it comes to same-sex unions or same-sex adoption.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2003, wrote that experience shows “the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons.”
“They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood,” the congregation continued. “Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.
“This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.”
‘We must obey God rather than men’
Anthony Ozimic of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children called Bishop Lang’s response to LifeSiteNews a “contradictory mess of convenient platitudes.”
“If CCS’ ‘primary concern is for the good of the children who are to be adopted,’ then why is CCS encouraging homosexual adoption, which the Catholic Church teaches clearly is contrary to the good of children?” he asked.
The diocese’s “free pass” to CCS “endangers the children who will be adopted by homosexuals via CCS,” he said. The diocese is not only “letting these children down, but even bankrolling the violation of their right to a mother and a father.”
“Bishop Lang says that CCS decided to ‘abide according to the law of the land.’ Both His Lordship and the CCS seem to have forgotten that the Apostles taught that ‘We must obey God rather than men,’” he said.
While it remains unclear how many dioceses across the UK continue to financially support secularized agencies formerly under their jurisdiction that facilitate adoptions of children to homosexual couples, it is clear that the practice is not uncommon.
For instance, the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in southern England fundraises for Cabrini Children's Society which, in response to the government’s Sexual Orientation Regulations, switched the word “Cabrini” with “Catholic” in its name in 2008. The agency states on its website that it is “interested in families from all backgrounds” including “heterosexual or homosexual” ones.
The diocese continues to list the agency on its website under its “Catholic Societies and Organisations” tab and has listed fundraising events for the agency in a 2010 newsletter and a 2011 Catholic Schools Service bulletin.
The Catholic parishioner from the Diocese of Clifton told LifeSiteNews that there should be more oversight regarding the kind of organizations funded through parish collections.
"It seems to me that the Bishop of Clifton has a responsibility to be vigilant in ensuring that official collections taken in parishes in his diocese are not used to fund organizations that are acting in a way that is seriously contrary to the Church's teaching,” the source said.