.- Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham spoke publicly today for the first time since Tony Blair announced that Roman Catholic adoption agencies would not be exempt from a new law requiring agencies to place children with homosexual couples. The archbishop said he still holds out hope that an agreement can be reached that would keep Catholic agencies open in the United Kingdom.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday evening that there would be no exemptions to new “anti-discrimination” legislation that would grant to homosexual couples the right to seek an adopted child at any facility in the U.K. Blair granted Catholic institutions nearly two years to adapt to the new law, or face closure.
Archbishop Nichols told the Birmingham Mail today that he is hopeful that a “common sense decision,” regarding continued functioning of Catholic adoption agencies could be reached within the two year window.
"Obviously we are disappointed that the Government refused to grant to Catholic adoption agencies an amendment that would allow them to continue to serve the needs of children with good conscience,” the archbishop said. "But nevertheless, we welcome the two-year review and hope to use this time to explore any way that the Catholic agencies can secure their work in the future.”
"It gives us the opportunity to look at different practical arrangements; such as with Catholic doctors who can work with NHS clinics but it's recognized they can't play any part in abortions. I would hope that the same principle can be achieved."
Archbishop Nichols emphasized that for the time being Catholic adoption agencies remain open and continue to refer homosexual couples to other venues.
Nichols noted that while the Church is not working to ban all adoptions by homosexual couples, “there is a common sense decision that children do well with a father and a mother, and I think the majority of people would accept that.”
"I don't think for a minute that a same-sex couple would produce a gay child, but they would not be as complementary as having a mum and dad,” the archbishop added.
"What we fear is that exceptions granted under the law for same-sex couples to have the right to adopt should somehow become a new norm, a new moral law, and that, I believe, is not broadly accepted in our society.”
According to the Birmingham Mail, the Catholic Church operates seven Diocesan adoption agencies in England and Wales, including Father Hudson's in Coleshill, near Sutton Coldfield.
In an article written prior to Prime Minister Blair’s decision, the archbishop noted that in addition to the good work Catholic adoption agencies do, Catholics are also more likely to adopt children. Although Catholics only make up ten percent of the British population, Nichols pointed out, they are responsible for adopting one-quarter of the children. “Surely such a considerable proportion of adopters have a right of access to an agency that will understand, respect and support their Catholic faith and culture,” the archbishop said.