Cardinal Sean O’Malley at the March for Life in Washington.

At a Mass today being held in conjunction with the March for Life in Washington, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston urged worshippers to champion adoption as an alternative for pregnant women considering abortion. From Catholic News Service:

Cardinal O’Malley then focused on the direction in which he believes the pro-life movement should be headed by calling upon Catholics to work to change society’s negative perception of adoption so that it is seen as a better option than abortion for women, especially those facing a crisis pregnancy.

He said the Year of Faith, which runs through November, “is a call to a deeper conversion so we can become effective apostles of the Gospel of life in the new evangelization.”

Citing the Gospel reading for the Mass — Luke 1:39-45, Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth — Cardinal O’Malley said the “the Gospel of life is imperative to Christ’s disciples.”

“God is urging us to be defenders of life in the midst of the culture of death,” he said in urging widespread efforts to change the perception that adoption is a bad choice for women.

People on all sides of the abortion issue would agree that reducing the obstacles and stigma that surround adoption is a worthy goal.

It is worth noting, however, that the Catholic Charities agency in the Cardinal’s Archdiocese voluntarily stopped its adoption program in 2006 after claiming that it could not reconcile its Catholic identity with the state’s mandate that all adoption agencies be open to placing children with same-sex couples. The Archdiocese of Washington, too, suspended its foster-care and public adoption programs, citing similar reasons after the District of Columbia passed a same-sex marriage law in 2010.

I asked earlier this week how churches would operate in the public square on other issues as support for same-sex marriage becomes mainstream. Is the contrast of adoption advocacy with the shuttering of placement programs a symptom of the church’s inability to react quickly enough to a new reality?

Categories: Beliefs

Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O’Loughlin writes about religion and politics from Washington, D.C., paying close attention to the role of the Catholic Church in public life. His writing has appeared in Religion & Politics, the Jesuit magazine America, on, and in Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership.

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