Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor also said that granting adoptions to gays would conflict with Catholic belief, the International Herald Tribune reports.
"We believe it would be unreasonable, unnecessary and unjust discrimination against Catholics for the government to insist that if they wish to continue to work with local authorities, Catholic adoption agencies must act against the teaching of the church and their own consciences by being obliged in law to provide such a service," the Cardinal said in a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, which was released on Tuesday.
But the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, said the government was unlikely to bow to the church's protest although he did not wish to see the Catholic agencies close.
"But if we take the view as a society that we should not discriminate against people who are homosexual, you cannot give exclusions to people on the grounds that their religion or their race says 'we don't agree with that,'" Falconer said in an interview with BBC Radio.
English Catholics say ban on gay discrimination could force adoption services to close
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Life Office, Archdiocese of Sydney
Family institution under attack, says Vatican document (CathNews, 6/6/06)
Pell prepares for fight on gay adoption (CathNews 1/5/06)
Scottish Catholics seek opt-out on adoption laws (CathNews 18/1/06)
Church concerned for adopted children of same-sex couples (CathNews 25/7/05)
24 Jan 2007