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Catholic Church in turmoil over adoption issue

Catholic Church in turmoil over adoption issue

Resignations follow bishops' request to be exempt from antidiscrimination law regarding adoptions by gays.

In protest of the Massachusetts Roman Catholic bishops' recent request to not place adoptive children with gay parents, seven members of the Catholic Charities Board resigned their positions Wednesday.

"The course the bishops have charted threatens the very essence of our Christian mission," the seven board members wrote in a statement. "For the sake of the poor we serve, we pray they will reconsider."

The seven board members described being "deeply troubled" by the bishops' request, which asks that Catholic Charities be exempt from a state law preventing groups from refusing to place adoptive children with gay parents; the request is supported by the state's ultraconservative governor, Mitt Romney.

Romney met with church leaders on Wednesday, saying religious beliefs should trump antidiscrimination laws, though he admitted that state law would have to be changed to fulfill that wish. "Ultimately, legislation may need to be filed to provide an exemption based on religious principles," Romney said in a statement.

The chairman and president of the Catholic Charities Board, Jeff Kaneb and the Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, released a statement saying they were "saddened" by the board members' decision to step down.

The Vatican's labeling of adoptions by gays as "gravely immoral" led the Massachusetts bishops on Tuesday to declare that state law compromised their religious beliefs by requiring them to include gays as potential adoptive parents. (

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