A couple have been barred from adopting their foster children because of their “concerning” views about same-sex parenting.
The couple decided to try to adopt their two foster children themselves after finding out that a gay couple were prospective parents.
The unnamed Christian couple from the Midlands told social services that children need both a mother and a father. Social services said that this point of view could be detrimental “to the long-term needs of the children.”
The couple have appealed the decision made by social services in a letter to their local council.
The pair argued that they had “not expressed homophobic views, unless Christian beliefs are, by definition, homophobic.”
They wrote: “We are Christians and we expressed the view that a child needs a mother and a father. We expressed our views in modest, temperate terms based on our Christian convictions. We love everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, and we love the children and believe that they would benefit from the foundation offered by a mother and a father. The decision … appears discriminatory to us and not related to the children’s needs.
“The children love us; we love them. All the reports show that we are a loving, caring and stable family. What more could a child need?”
The foster parents had been taking care of the children since the start of 2016. A social worker told the Sunday Times that despite the couple being praised for their “lovely care and warmth”, the pair found the idea of two men adopting the children “very challenging” and were shocked at the decision.
The husband told the Sunday Times: “We don’t want to fight or make ideological arguments. We are normal people.”
Bishops use Instagram to help faithful face death
Bishops in England and Wales have turned to the Instagram social networking site as part of a project to educate Catholics about the “art of dying well”.
A website and Instagram page were launched last week to offer advice on “helping people to die in peace” and to share resources on “death, dying and eternity”.
The emphasis is on accepting death and bereavement as parts of life that are not necessarily depressing.
The Art of Dying Well Instagram account will host a “Remember Them” virtual memorial wall. People are invited to post pictures and memories on the wall of a loved one who has died or is dying.
By tagging @artofdyingwell on Instagram, these names and photos will then be shared with five convents and abbeys throughout England, which will offer prayers for the dead and dying people.
The account will be complemented by an Art of Dying Well website which, according to the bishops’ conference, aims to help those “grappling with issues around death and dying”.
“Based in the Catholic tradition but open to all, it features real-life stories about the highs and lows of dealing with the final journey,” a press release said.
So far the account has 81 followers.
November 1 was chosen as the launch date because November is the month dedicated to praying for the dead. The website, artofdyingwell.org, includes a guide to the rites available for Catholics as they prepare for death.
Such rites, along with prayers for the dying, are explained using an animated story about a family facing death and bereavement. It is narrated by the actress Vanessa Redgrave.
Dr Kathryn Mannix, a consultant in palliative medicine in the north of England who has witnessed thousands of deaths, said that dying should not necessarily be a depressing event.
“Most dying people are not depressed, and in my clinic many people have lived to enjoy the last weeks and months of their lives,” said Dr Mannix, one of the doctors consulted about the content of the website. “It’s wonderful to see them regain their enjoyment of life again, when they simply expected to remain miserable until they died.”
The Art of Dying Well was formally launched by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, at Westminster Cathedral during a Mass for the feast of All Saints.
In his homily Cardinal Nichols said the resources offered “so much for us to learn, from each other, from doctors and nurses who tend the dying, from the teaching of the Church, from those willing to tell their story even as they are making this last journey. Here we learn that dying is essentially a journey of trust, of waiting for the call of the Lord, of handing oneself over to his will. This is the mystery of death, the final vocation – not the product of self-determination in euthanasia.”
He recalled how his predecessor, Cardinal Basil Hume, showed him what it meant to die well when he succumbed to liver cancer in June 1999.
“He was not self-absorbed,” said Cardinal Nichols. “Even in his last days he was thinking of others, identifying himself with them and ready to recognise that we all were sharing the same path. We were just at different stages of it.”
Italian prince killed in collision
An italian aristocrat and indirect descendant of a pope died after a collision with a lorry while riding his bicycle in central London.
The family of 21-year-old Filippo Corsini confirmed his death. The Corsinis trace their roots back to the 1100s.
The family website lists Pope Clement XII (1730-40), who began the construction of the Trevi fountain, as a member.
A note left at the scene said: “I never knew a person so full of energy, always smiling.”