.- Bishops of the Archdiocese of Boston, who for years have been all but powerless in controlling of the local branch of Catholic Charities, may finally regain their practical authority over the controversial Massachusetts organization. Earlier today, seven board members opted to resign their posts.
The dissenting board members decided to resign due to disagreement with the Massachusetts Roman Catholic bishops' request that Catholic social service agencies be exempted from a law requiring them to place adoptive children with homosexual couples.
The seven board members issued a statement saying that they were "deeply troubled" by the bishops' request, adding that it "undermines our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.â
The statement also said that the members could not âparticipate in an effort to pursue legal permission to discriminate against Massachusetts citizens who want to play a part in building strong families."
"The course the Bishops have chartedâ, they added, âthreatens the very essence of our Christian mission. For the sake of the poor we serve, we pray they will reconsider."
The 7 resigning board members are Geri Denterlein, president of Denterlein Worldwide Public Affairs and a supporter if homosexual âmarriageâ; Donna Gittens, chief executive officer of Causemedia; Paul LaCamera, general manager of the WBUR radio group; Brian Leary, partner of Gadsby Hannah; Peter Meade, executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Colette Phillips, president and CEO of Colette Phillips Communications and Micho Spring, chairman of Weber Shandwick New England.
On Tuesday, the state's four bishops said that state law compromised their religious freedom by requiring them to consider gays as acceptable adoptive parents.
"Because of the Church's teaching,â they said, âCatholic agencies may not provide adoptions to same sex couples. Hence we intend to seek relief from the regulatory requirements of the Commonwealth on this issue."
Since 1985, Catholic Charities has placed 13 children in same-sex households. In fact, the process started even before same sex unions were legal in the state.
Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, Catholic Charitiesâ president, released a statement saying that the organization was "saddened" that the board members felt compelled to step down.
Edward Saunders of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference said he had no comment on the resignations.
The resignation of the seven board members marks the latest and perhaps most volatile chapter in the stand-off between the stateâs bishops and Catholic Charities.
Last year, Cardinal-designate Sean OâMalley explicitly asked Catholic Charityâs board to stop allowing homosexual couples to adopt through the agency.
In response, the 42-member board voted unanimously to continue the practice.
In light of todayâs resignations, the remaining board members will have to make a decision: whether they will collectively resign their own posts or abide by the bishopsâ new rules.