British Church apologizes for persuading unwed women to give children up for adoption

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The British Catholic Church apologizes to many women, who in the decades following World War II, were advised by Catholic religious to give their children up for adoption.

Rector, Venerable English College
'When people have suffered some kind of wrong of that kind, which maybe was decades ago, the wound is there and it's never going to be possible to achieve complete healing. But it is important for one to show that one is willing to do whatever possible to help comfort and console and express regret and apology for what happened in the past.�

These adoptions were arranged through not only Catholic churches, but Anglican and Salvation Army churches as well, who genuinely thought it would benefit the children to be raised within a 'stable family setting� rather than alone by the teenage mothers. As a result, thousands of children were given up for adoption, with numbers peaking in 1968, with 16,000 babies born to unmarried women were offered in adoption.

Rector, Venerable English College
'We can only ever make decisions in the light of our understanding and I'm sure there are all sorts of blind spots in our understanding now. We can't be judgmental about the past, we probably make all sorts of mistakes too. We just hope that we don't do too much damage and if we do, then in the future, there will be people who will be able to reach out in this way and make amends.�

The apology was issued by the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who said in a documentary called 'Britain's Adoption Scandal: Breaking the Silence� on ITV, 'We apologize for the hurt caused by agencies acting in the name of the Catholic church.�

This documentary presents a handful of the affected women, many of whom are telling their story for the first time to the public. 

'If anybody had told me at the age of 17, if you part with your baby now, this is something that is going to affect the whole of the rest of your life. Are you actually aware of that?�

Rector, Venerable English College
'It's always good to draw attention to something that has perhaps been mishandled in the past, so that for one thing, it avoids the risk of it happening again in the future. It makes people more sensitive, more understanding perhaps of the hurt people have felt.�

The hope is this apology will inspire more compassion and less judgment into the future, especially about situations that one has not personally experienced themselves.


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