.- Friends of the St. Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society gathered at Glasgow’s cathedral on June 9 to commemorate its years of service and to support the society’s adoption agency against the threat of forced closure.
Ronnie Convery, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Scotland, said there was “a mood of celebration” at the annual Mass and reception at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
“Of course this year there is a storm cloud on the horizon, namely the threat from secularists to try to have the agency closed down,” Convery told CNA June 11.
“That galvanizes people, they feel bad that the service they have enjoyed from St. Margaret’s – and which they know to be professional, caring and supportive – may be threatened.”
Hundreds of people, including many children, gathered at the cathedral June 9. The society has placed hundreds of babies and children with adoptive families since its founding in 1955.
Convery said the annual event has become “a real celebration for families who have adopted children through St. Margaret’s.”
“The word which comes to mind is ‘family’ – what we see each year at this Mass is the ‘St. Margaret’s family’ coming together to thank God and to enjoy each other’s company at the follow up buffet.”
However, this year’s celebration came at a time when the society’s future is uncertain.
In March, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator affirmed a previous decision that the society cannot follow its policy of placing children only with a married mother and father, in accord with Catholic teaching. The regulator said this policy has a negative impact on cohabiting and same-sex couples.
Almost all religious adoption agencies in the U.K. have already been forced to shut down or disaffiliate from their church sponsors due to anti-discrimination laws.
Convery said attendees at the Sunday celebration were determined “to do all possible to save St. Margaret’s from going the way of other Catholic agencies in this country.”
Brian McGuigan, a member of the society’s board, said the society’s managing council is “intent on fighting this at every available opportunity.
“Saint Margaret’s origins and identity are inseparable from the Catholic Church and her values and moral teaching in respect to marriage and the family,” he said in a June 7 statement.
“The ultimate irony is that apparently in the name of tolerance, societies such as Saint Margaret’s are no longer to be tolerated. The reality is that the issue is not one about equality or diversity, but about freedom of religion and belief,” he said.
The society has said that it will seek to overturn the charity regulator’s ruling.
St. Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society is still continuing with plans to move to a new home in Glasgow’s Newton Place to open a new family center and offer more family services.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow praised the society as “a treasure of the Church in Scotland.”
“It does nothing but good work for children and families of all faiths and none,” he said on June 7. “The whole Church is united in support for its work and we hope that common sense will prevail, and it will be allowed to continue to serve children in Scotland who need loving families.”