By John-Henry Westen

BOSTON, March 10, 2006 ( – The board of directors of Catholic Charities today announced that Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston, will not seek a renewal of its contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide adoption services. Catholic Charities will work with the Department of Social Services and other appropriate agencies to make this transition as smoothly as possible.

Late last year, the Pope’s representative to the United States asked the Boston Archbishop, now Cardinal, Sean O’Malley to end the practice of allowing homosexual adoptions. (coverage: )Â Catholic Charities admitted last October that it was involved in theÂpractice, which according to Catholic teaching is an abuse of children. (coverage: )

When Archbishop O’Malley and the other Massachusetts bishops asked Catholic Charities to follow the Church teaching on the matter, the 42-member board of Catholic Charities voted unanimously toÂrefuse the bishops’ suggestion toÂstopÂincluding homosexual partners as adoptive parents. The decision was based partly on the fact that the state government insisted there could be no discrimination against homosexuals on adoption.ÂHowever, when Archbishop O’Malley went with Catholic Charities of Boston President Rev. Brian H. Hehir to seek an exemption from the state law from the Governor, seven Catholic Charities board members resigned in disgust.”(We) cannot participate in an effort to pursue legal permission to discriminate against Massachusetts citizens who want to play their part in building strong families,” they said showing themselves to beÂopposed toÂCatholic teaching. (coverage: )

In comments on the current situationÂsent to LifeSiteNews.comÂCardinal O’Malley said: “Most Catholic Charities in the United States had their beginnings in providing adoption services for children from Catholic working class families who had lost their parents. Prior to Catholic Charities providing adoption services, the state might have placed these children in non-Catholic homes. Excercising constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom, Catholic Charities stepped forward to provide placement for orphaned children in a manner that was in accord with the faith and religious practice of the children´s parents. Over time, Catholic Charities expanded its adoption services so as to provide placement services for children of many faiths and circumstances, always seeking to care for the children. Sadly, we have come to a moment when Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Boston must withdraw from the work of adoptions, in order to exercise the religious freedom that was the prompting for having begun adoptions many years ago.”

Speaking on the decision to get out of the adoption service, a service which the Catholic Church in the diocese has been involved in for 100 years, Hehir and Jeffrey Kaneb, chair of the board of trustees issued a joint statement saying, “We have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve. In spite of much effort and analysis, Catholic Charities finds that it cannot reconcile the teaching of the Church, which guides our work and the statutes and regulations of the Commonwealth.”

At a meeting held earlier today, the board voted to end its adoption program.

“Catholic Charities has notified us of their decision, and we will work closely with the agency to ensure these services for children and families transition smoothly,” said Mary Gambon, assistant commissioner of adoption, foster care and adolescent services for the Department of Social Services.

“This is a difficult and sad day for Catholic Charities,” Hehir said. “We have been doing adoptions for more than 100 years.”

A press release from Catholic Charities notes that “Over the past two decades Catholic Charities has placed 720 children in permanent homes through adoption. Of those 720, 13 children were placed with same-sex families.” The release also states: “In fiscal year 2005, Catholic Charities received approximately $1 million in reimbursements for its adoption-related work from the Department of Social Services.”