From a interview with with the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M., the archbishop of Boston talked about the importance adoption plays in the pro-life movement.
In 2012, you were elected the chairman of the USCCB Committee for Pro-life Activities. What are your goals for this critical work of the conference?
When I was young, my generation had friends who were adopted. Now many young people don’t know children who were adopted, and if they do they are foreign-born. It isn’t something Americans do.
In the past, I blithely said, ‘Adoption not abortion.’ Then I read Paul Swope’s 1998 article in First Things, “Abortion: A Failure to Communicate.” Swope pointed to research that showed how women in difficult pregnancies ended up choosing abortion.
They see three options available to them: Keeping the child, having an abortion, or putting their child up for an adoption.
Keeping the child is often interpreted as a personal death. Giving the child up in an adoption is seen as a terrible option — they are a bad mother who is exposing child to abandonment, abuse, and neglect.
And at that moment, they are looking for closure, so giving their child up for adoption drags out the process.
Somehow we have to break through that view of adoption, and help women see that there are many wonderful childless couples who are well-equipped to be loving parents. We need to do more to support adoptive parents.
In Boston, we are preparing catechetical materials for our young people about adoption. And carrying this issue even further, I would like to see more people be generous in adopting older children.
Foster care programs have not been successful, so many children who go through these program go from family to family and end up in prison and on drugs.
The USCCB Pro-life Activities Committee is also promoting post-abortion care, and we proposed the hiring of a full-time staff member at the USCCB to offer resource for dioceses that want to provide support groups and train priests.
So many women have had an abortion. They believe they have committed an unspeakable crime beyond forgiveness, and they live with that guilt. We need to help them find the path to reconciliation, and experience God’s mercy.
That is one of the beautiful things about Pope Francis. He is showing how the Church must be a “field hospital,” reaching out to those who have been devastated by sin.