IN THE PAPER THIS WEEK
WE ASKED YOU IF THE CHURCH SHOULD PULL OUT OF STATE EDUCATION. POLL RESULT ON PAGE 9
CHESTERTON THE SAINT?
WILLIAM ODDIE MAKES THE CASE FOR THE HOLINESS OF GKC PAGE 8
Judgment seals fate of adoption agencies
BY SIMON CALDWELL
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in England and Wales has lost the legal battle to retain its remaining few adoption agencies.
The Charity Tribunal ruled on Monday that the Catholic Care adoption agency of the Diocese of Leeds could not continue as an adoption agency unless it assessed same-sex couples as potential adopters and foster parents.
The agency, which finds new families for about 20 children each year, wanted to continue to serve the Church as a diocesan charity.
It had applied to the Charity Commission to change its charitable objects so that it could appeal for an exemption under Regulation 18 of the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), which ban discrimination against homosexuals in the provision of goods and services.
The regulation allows limited discrimination “in pursuance of a charitable instrument” or if “the restriction of benefits to persons of that sexual orientation is imposed by reason of, or on the grounds of, the provision of a charitable instrument”. But the Charity Tribunal ruled that it would be “unlawful” to allow Regulation 18 to be used as a defence by Catholic Care, saying that the proposed alteration of the objects “arose substantially out a desire to maintain a principled stance rather than being specifically designed to advance the... charitable purpose of the support, relief and care of children and young people without families to care for them”.
The decision leaves Catholic Care with the option of appealing against the decision at the High
Court. The agency could also either close down or break from the Church and become an independent, secular adoption agency, a policy already adopted by at least eight Catholic adoption agencies.
The decision also represents a blow to the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) which from New Year’s Day, the date from which the SORs applied to the Catholic agencies, suspended its adoption assessment services pending the outcome of the case. The future is also uncertain for the Father Hudson’s Society, the adoption agency of the Archdiocese of Birmingham which had lodged a joint appeal with Catholic Care against the original Charity Commission judgment but which last month withdrew ahead of the final ruling.
A Leeds diocese spokesman said: “It seems likely that the charities will need to close their adoption services and a flagship service will be lost. We are concerned about the possible impact this will have on potential adoptive parents and children.”
So far none of the 11 Catholic adoption agencies of England and Wales, which together found families for about 250 children a year, has been able to survive the SORs.
However, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator allowed St Margaret’s Adoption and Child Care of the Archdiocese of Glasgow to change its charitable objects to continue its policy of assessing only heterosexual married couples and single people as adopters.
Neil Addison, an expert on religious discrimination law, who was not consulted in the case, said he found the tribunal’s ruling “highly questionable”.
www.catholicherald.co.uk June 5 2009 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
‘I don’t know why God chose me,’ Pope tells children
Eamon Duffy The truth about Mary Tudorʼs war on heresy P9
Pope Benedict talks to a child during an audience with 7,000 children at the Vatican last Saturday
AP Photo / Sandro Pace
BY SARAH DELANEY
POPE BENEDICT XVI offered a rare glimpse into his private feelings last week, telling a group of children that as a boy he never dreamed of becoming Pope and that he still sometimes worries he is not up to the job.
The Pope answered questions and described growing up in a small German village during an audience with 7,000 children from the Holy Childhood Association, a group affiliated with the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
The meeting gave the Pope an opportunity to speak more openly about himself, prompted by the children’s personal questions. When asked whether as a boy he had ever thought he might one day be Pope, he admitted that it had not been one of his youthful plans. “To
tell the truth, I never would have thought I might become Pope... I was a pretty ingenuous boy in a small village far from the city,” he said. “We were happy to be in the country and didn’t think about much else.”
Even today, he said, “it’s difficult for me to understand how the Lord could have thought of me, to choose me for this ministry. But I accept it from his hands, even if it is very surprising and seems very much beyond my means.”
“But the Lord helps me,” he added.
He said that for him and his friends, Pope Pius XI, the pontiff at the time, “was loved and venerated, but for us he was unreachable, almost of another world”.
The young Joseph Ratzinger spent his childhood in the Bavarian village of Traunstein. The Pope told the children about growing up
there with children of different socioeconomic circumstances, but said it did not cause problems because “we all collaborated, everyone helped each other and we went on our paths together. We were all Catholic, and this was a great help.”
As children, he said, “sometimes we argued, but then we made up and forgot about what had happened. This is important... the art of reconciliation, forgiveness, starting over without bitterness of the spirit.”
The Pope said that he became an altar boy when he was about eight or nine years old. “At that time there were no altar girls, but the girls read better than we did so they would read from the liturgy,” he said. Reminiscing about his early religious education, he said: “We learned all together to know the Bible... We learned the catechism
together, we learned to pray together and together we prepared for our First Communion – that was a splendid day.”
He said that as children and teenagers “we weren’t saints and we had our arguments, but there was a beautiful communion between us, and the distinction between rich and poor, intelligent and less intelligent, didn’t count”.
The Pope said nothing about the difficult circumstances of his childhood with the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War Two. Pope Benedict has written several times that he had been obliged to take part in the Hitler Youth and that he was drafted into an anti-aircraft unit in the last months of the war.
The Pope told the children: “You all are missionaries, messengers for the missionary work of the Church,” and reminded them to pray often.
tells the amazing story of the Papal Zouaves P15
Edward Pentin meets the Vaticanʼs top astronomer P7
FEATURES 6-9 COMMENT 12-13
Scholars to meet in Oxford to discuss Cause of Chesterton
BY ED WEST
G K CHESTERTON ’S reputation for holiness will be boosted next month when leading scholars meet in Oxford to discuss his Cause.
In this week’s paper former Catholic Herald editor and Chesterton biographer William Oddie writes: “It is becoming clear that serious attention needs to be paid in the country of his birth to the question of Chesterton’s holiness.”
Dr Oddie will take part in a one-day conference on July 4 in Oxford where the speakers will include Dr Ian Ker, Fr John Saward, Fr Aidan Nichols OP and Dr Sheridan Gilley.
He said: “I have thought it possible for a long time, although when I wrote my book it wasn’t something I particularly thought of him. But there was a time when no one thought Newman was particularly holy, just a badtempered, anti-Anglican
polemicist. That’s the way we think of Chesterton, as a polemicist.
“It’ll be a long time before anything gets under way. The purpose of the conference is to make it thinkable.”
Dr Oddie was surprised to find support for his Cause after delivering a paper at the American Chesterton Conference last year.
“I was asked what stage the Cause towards Chesterton’s beatification had reached. When I said there
was no Cause, the audience showed incredulity,” he said.
Dr Oddie added that Chesterton had particular spiritual resonance in today’s troubled climate. “As a social prophet he’s coming into his own. First Communism collapsed, now monopoly capitalism has collapsed – what we’re coming into now is the idea of small economic units, something clearly based in Catholic teaching.”
William Oddie: Page 8
Vatican raises age of retirement to 67
Catholic ‘comic in a frock’ dies aged 81
BY STAFF REPORTER
THE VATICAN is to raise its staff retirement age by two years to cope with the economic crisis.
From January next year newly hired lay staff will retire at 67, while newly hired religious and priests below the rank of bishop will remain working until they are 72. Bishops and cardinals will continue to retire at 75.
Fr Ciro Benedettini, deputy
director of the Vatican press office, said: “Even the Vatican is feeling the crisis and we need to be careful about spending, like everyone these days. Austerity budgets are required to survive.”
But he said that next year the Vatican would contribute more to employees’ pensions.
After three years in the black the Vatican slid into the red in 2007 with expenses of £235m and income of £227m, mainly caused by the fall in the value of the dollar.
Most of the Vatican’s donations are in dollars and its expenses are in euros.
BY DAVID V BARRETT
FEMALE impersonator Danny La Rue – or “comic in a frock”, as he preferred to be called – died on Sunday aged 81.
Born Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork and raised in London, Danny La Rue first donned a dress, wig and false eyelashes at a concert party in the Royal Navy. He became famous for his
impersonations of Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor, and for songs like “On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep”.
He was also a devout Catholic who saw no con
tradiction between that
and his homosexuality. The comic star devoted much of his
time to visiting hospitals and hospices and raising money for
He was awarded an OBE in
DON’T MISS: PEERS IN NEW PUSH FOR ASSISTED SUICIDE PAGE 3
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