Catholic World News

British Church leader apologizes for pressuring unwed mothers toward adoption

November 03, 2016

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has apologized, on behalf of the Catholic Church, for pressuring unmarried mothers to give their children up for adoption.

For about thirty years, the Catholic Church—along with the Church of England and the Salvation Army—administered programs through which about 500,000 children were adopted. Unmarried mothers were under heavy pressure to give up their children for adoption. The programs ended in 1976, when a new law gave government officials responsibility for adoption services.

In a television documentary about the adoption programs, which will air next week, Cardinal Nichols says that the programs “reflected the social values at that time and were sometimes lacking in care and sensitivity.”

“The Catholic Church understands the grief and pain caused by the giving up of a child through adoption,” the cardinal says. “We apologize for the hurt caused by agencies acting in the name of the Catholic Church.”


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Nov. 05, 2016 10:30 PM ET USA

    The secular state will become even more emboldened, more aggressive if the Church continues to mimic the US Administration's incessant "apology tours." Cardinal Nichols said, "...reflected the social values at that time..." True as this may be, the more important point is that the mistake was recognized as such and has now been corrected. New-World colonies had slaves, natives were slaughtered and confined, methods of expansion were often immoral. We have recognized this and mostly corrected it.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Nov. 04, 2016 5:35 PM ET USA

    Sorry, but this cardinal is "off the wall" on not only this topic but others. He told his priests not to listen to Cardinal Sarah's suggestion to pray the Mass ad orientem, for one. Edward, you are absolutely right when you write that it is in the best and better interests for the children born to unwed mothers to be adopted by a mother and father who want to raise the child in an intact home. The children usually end up being raised by the grandparents. Often mothers are babies themselves.

  • Posted by: edward.hadas2857 - Nov. 03, 2016 9:21 PM ET USA

    Wait a minute here. Are we only concerned about the welfare of the mothers? What about the children. Was it not (would it still not be) better for them to be raised in intact and competent families than by single mothers?