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Vatican to Boston archdiocese: stop gay adoptions December 07, 2005

The Boston archdiocese has received instructions to stop arranging adoptions for homosexual couples, the Boston Herald reports today.

The Herald, citing an anonymous Church source, said that Archbishop Sean O'Malley has received a letter from the papal nuncio in Washington, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, saying that Catholic Charities must discontinue its current practice of helping same-sex couples adopt children.

The Boston archdiocese declined to comment on the Herald report, saying that communications between the archbishop and the Pope's representative are confidential. However, a spokesman indicated that the policies of Catholic Charities are under review.

The Boston arm of Catholic Charities came under fire in October when it was revealed that the office was actively helping homosexual couples to adopt children, despite Church teaching that such adoptions are "gravely immoral" and "would actually mean doing violence to those children."

Father J. Bryan Hehir, the head of Catholic Charities in Boston, explained that the Church agency assisted in homosexual adoptions in order to qualify for state funding that underwrites other adoption services. "If we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't," he said; "We have to balance various goods."

The archdiocesan office of Catholic Charities has faced a separate set of public protests this week, because the agency is holding a fundraising dinner that will honor Boston Mayor Tom Menino, a proponent of legal abortion and same-sex marriage. After pro-life groups vowed to picket the Catholic Charities fundraiser, Archbishop O'Malley announced that he would not attend the event. But the archbishop stopped short of ordering Catholic Charities to withdraw the honor for Mayor Menino.

Protestors in Boston could draw some encouragement from the similar situation in Melbourne, Australia, where Archbishop Denis Hart announced the cancellation of an annual public lecture sponsored by an archdiocesan agency, which would have been delivered by a prominent politician who favors legal abortion. Archbishop Hart announced his decision just two days before the scheduled event. In Boston, the Catholic Charities fundraising dinner is scheduled for Friday, December 9.

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