The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, has asked Catholics in his diocese to write to their MPs expressing their views about two underlying issues in the government's Sexual Orientation Regulations Bill. The Archbishop said in a statement: "Firstly, in considering adoption, these Regulations appear to enshrine the view that same-sex partnership and heterosexual couples are equally suited to meeting the needs of children and no distinction may be made between them on this basis. "In this way the Regulations imply an understanding of the needs of children and of the shape of the family in which the claims of same-sex couples are placed above the firmly held beliefs of all major religions and long established custom. "Secondly, the Regulations also imply that voluntary bodies seeking publicly funded cooperation with statutory bodies are expected to deliver Government policy even in sensitive matters of considerable moral significance. This marks a significant change in the pattern of cooperation in the public sector between Christian Churches or charities, and public authorities. "A serious debate is needed to safeguard and promote the tradition of mutually respectful cooperation, for the common good." Archbishop Nichols stressed that: "All involved in the work of the Catholic Adoption Agencies are now exploring ways which will permit the continuation of their work, in ways consistent with our Catholic vision. In this they will also work with the independent review to be set up by the Government. In the meantime, the Agencies continue to provide their services." The Archbishop of Birmingham added: "These Catholic Agencies carry out work of exceptional quality particularly with the most vulnerable of children, inspired by the best interest of the child and by the highest motivations of Christian care and compassion. This precious service to children, and its faith-inspired direction and drive, must not be lost."
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