San Franciscan Archbishop George Niederauer has only been in office a month but he’s making his presence felt with an anti gay adoption approach.

He wants the social services arm of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to bring it’s adoption programme “fully in sync” with the church’s views while continuing to find homes for hard-to-place children, according to spokesman Maurice Healy.

Niederauer was prompted to speak out following a statement from the Boston Archdiocese that it would be closing it’s adoption services department because Massachusetts law demands that gay couples should be considered as prospective parents.

Similar laws exist in California and seven other states.

Since 2000, 136 adoptions were facilitated by the Catholic Charities of San Francisco, 5 of which were to gay couples. Brian Cahill, the agency’s executive director stressed the difficulty of finding homes for handicapped or troubled children, “Catholic teaching is paramount. Equally paramount are the best interests of the vulnerable children that we serve”.

Though it is thought that gay adoptions in the early stages will be allowed to continue, Healy emphasised that more will not be contemplated. “Under Catholic teaching, a Catholic agency should not be making these kinds of adoptions,” he said, adding that one option for the archdiocese is to work harder to recruit heterosexual Catholics as adoptive parents.

Even if city social services withdrew funding from the programme Healy is confident that the charity’s programme could continue. The agency’s adoption service has an annual budget of about $400,000, he said.

“Our teaching on marriage and family life precludes these kinds of adoptions,” Healy said. “We need to find another way to help this vulnerable population. How, remains to be worked out.”