The National Catholic Register reports that the president of the apparently ironically named Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, is telling Catholics they should withdraw all support from Amnesty International. Three guesses why and you won’t need the last two.
Abortion has driven a wedge between the Catholic Church and an organization that began as an ally.
Amnesty International (AI) was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a British convert to Catholicism. But today, as a result of Amnesty International’s recent decision to promote abortion rights, Church leaders say that Catholics should withdraw all financial support from the London-based human-rights organization.
“I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission,” Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said in an e-mail interview.
Sadly, a man I used to greatly respect for his dedication to justice for all has caved in to his church’s primeval stance.
The abortion policy has already cost Amnesty International the support of one long-time Catholic backer: Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan.
Said Father Berrigan, “One cannot support an organization financially or even individually that is contravening something very serious in our ethic.”
This was a man who fought for the right of Catholic Americans to divorce, who supported Bill Baird when he was illegally passing out condoms in public, and who supported Roe v Wade because he had seen the results of too many back-alley abortions. After being beaten about the head and shoulders with the blunt instrument of ultra-conservative Catholicism for 40 years, he has apparently had enough. Perhaps Benedict threatened to ex-communicate him if he didn’t publicly renounce AI, I don’t know.