In a letter faxed today to Prime Minster Tony Blair, Archbishop Mario Conti on behalf of Scotland's Catholic Bishops has urged him to amend the proposed sexual orientation regulations so that Catholic adoption agencies will not be compelled to place children with same sex couples.
The Scottish Bishops' intervention follows a similar letter sent to the Prime Minster by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor the President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
In addition to the letter to Tony Blair, Archbishop Conti will write to First Minister Jack McConnell asking him to uphold assurances given to the Church by the Scottish executive that they would not expect Catholic agencies to act contrary to their beliefs and that the Scottish Executive would bring the concerns of the Catholic church in Scotland to the attention of their Westminster colleagues.
In his letter Archbishop Mario Conti the Vice President of the Bishops' Conference, states;
"the Catholic Bishops of Scotland express their support for the position taken by Cardinal Murphy-O Connor.... regarding the proposed Regulations on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services."
It adds, "the Catholic Church in Scotland also provides adoption and fostering services and the proposed regulations put in jeopardy the ability of these agencies to retain the discretion they have always exercised in favour of the children entrusted to them, which discretion is informed by the moral and social teaching of the Catholic Church."
The letter concludes; "What gives the Bishops Conference of Scotland added cause for concern is the fact that when legislation concerning the provision of adoption services was recently making its way through the Scottish Parliament, Ministers gave assurances that the services provided by the Catholic Adoption agencies was valued by the Executive and that every effort would be made to protect the position of Catholic agencies. Implementation of the proposed Regulations would be regarded as a betrayal of this commitment which was accepted in good faith by the Catholic community in Scotland. "
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Notes to editors:
There are two catholic adoption agencies in Scotland, St. Andrew's Children's Society in Edinburgh and St. Margaret's Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow.