In October, Bishop O'Donoghue wrote to the Catholic Caring Services, pleading with them not to capitulate to the Government's legislation on same-sex adoption but to seek an exemption under Human Rights & Religious Freedom Legislation, or failing that, attempt a legal challenge.
The bishop has now written to say:
Thursday 11 December 2008 will forever be etched in my memory, because it was on that day that the relationship between the Diocese of Lancaster and Catholic Caring Services suffered an irretrievable breakdown.Bishop O'Donoghue has resigned from the board and spelt out the consequences of the decision of the charity to drop "Catholic" from its title and go along with the Government legislation. Among other points, the Bishop says:
With deep sadness I must declare that all churches, parishes, schools and other Catholic organisations or societies are to have no formal associations with Catholic Caring Services and the new charity is no longer entitled to have access to Diocesan Collections - The Good Shepherd (Bishop’s Fund), or the Christmas Crib collections.The diocese will also review the terms of the leases on properties currently occupied by the charity.
Bishop O'Donoghue also says:
Though Catholic Caring Services are involved in a whole range of valuable work with the disabled, the disadvantaged and the marginalised, how can I allow the Catholic Church to be associated with a body that has chosen a path that co-operates with actions that are against the explicit moral teaching of the Church?A new diocesan agency will support adoption and fostering by encouraging married couples to take on this great work of love. diocesan collection will support this initiative.
The Bishop candidly acknowledges that these have been some of the most difficult months of his episcopacy and thanks all those who have supported him. Please continue to support him, especially with your prayers and penances. I am sure that the good Lord will reward his courageous stand both here and hereafter.
See the full text of Bishop O'Donoghue's letter.