Archbishop George Niederauer has said placing children with same-sex couples conflicts with Catholic teaching and has asked his local Catholic Charities to bring its adoption program fully in line with the Church's views. However, with the recent hiring of an openly gay adoptive parent as the organization’s director of programs, many smell a massive conflict of interests.

According to an Associated Press report, an archdiocesan spokesperson announced the archbishop’s stance yesterday.

“We realize that there are people in our community, some of whom work side by side with us to serve the needy in society, who do not share our beliefs, and we recognize and respect that fact," Archbishop Niederauer said in a written statement a week ago.

Since 2000, five of the 136 adoptions facilitated by Catholic Charities of San Francisco have been to gay couples, according to Brian Cahill, the agency's executive director. He told the AP Monday that he interpreted the archbishop's remarks as a guideline, not a ban.

"Catholic teaching is paramount. Equally paramount are the best interests of the vulnerable children that we serve," Cahill was quoted as saying.

Ignatius Insight’s Valerie Schmalz reported yesterday however, that Cahill recently hired Glenn Motola--an openly gay man who has an adopted son together with his partner--as Catholic Charities’ director of programs.

Archdiocesan spokesman Maurice Healy said Catholic Charities might be able to complete any adoptions by gay couples already in the works, but he was less sure whether the archbishop’s position offered any leeway.

City supervisors have threatened to withdraw funding from Catholic Charities if the archdiocese decides not to place children in same-sex households. However, Healy said such a move would not force the program, which has an annual $400,000 budget, to close.