NEWS NOTES: July 16, 2014
Here are some items you might find of interest:
1) Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired archbishop of Westminster (London) criticized England’s Equality Act for forcing Catholic social service agencies to stop adoptions because they were not allowed to discriminate against same-gender couples. The cardinal would like a religious exemption to the law, which would allow church organizations to deny services to lesbian and gay people . Adoption law has become a battleground issue in England and Scotland since marriage equality became legal in those nations.
2) Fired gay teacher Ken Bencomo‘s case against St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, California is moving ahead. A judge ruled against claims by the school that Bencomo could be fired under the so-called “ministerial exemption,” and will allow the lawsuit to proceed. Bencomo was fired when news of his marriage became public last year.
3) Cardinal Nicholas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic criticized gay US Ambassador James Brewster again after Brewster and his husband appeared in a video for June’s Pride celebrations in that Caribbean nation. The cardinal, who previously used an anti-gay slur to describe the ambassador and encouraged anti-LGBT protests, said Brewster should “take his gay pride elsewhere.” You can read more about the cardinal’s comments here.
4) Activists from the group Femen are on trial for a February 2013 protest at the Cathedral of Notre Dame where they banged on church bells in protest of the bishops’ opposition to LGBT rights. Prosecutors are seeking fines of more than $2,000 from each of the nine women on trial. Femen had made headlines because of its members’ topless demonstrations against Catholic leaders.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry
Thanks for this alert on Catholic agencies and adoption, but the emeritus-Cardinal is clearly ‘out of sync’ with the recent Consultation document encouraging Catholic organisations in their implementation of the UK’s Equality Act.
While his own Westminster Catholic Children’s Society firmly resisted such legislation, a number of Catholic child-care agencies were happy to comply. These include the Cabrini Children’s Society which covers Arundel & Brighton, Portsmouth, and Southwark Dioceses, Catholic Caring Services in Lancaster, now Caritas Care; the St David’s Children Society in Wales; the St Francis’ Children’s Society in Northampton; and the Catholic Children’s Society in Nottingham, which now calls its adoption arm Families Are Best.
As one Director said at the time: “We’ve not discriminated for the past 30 years and we’re not going to start now !” As someone who managed Child & Family Social Work in a leading London hospital during the 1980’s and ’90’s, and who supervised children’s placements with lesbian and gay foster-carers and adoptive parents, I know this to be true. These agencies continue to be supported by Catholic parishes throughout England & Wales, including many Bishops.