Catholic Group Attacks Amnesty International

Image: A woman with a cross painted over her mouth attends a protest against a government plan to limit abortions in Madrid February 1, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Image: A woman with a cross painted over her mouth attends a protest against a government plan to limit abortions in Madrid February 1, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

According to the Cardinal Newman Society, a group that promotes “faithful Catholic education,” 20 Catholic colleges and six law schools retain relationships with the non-profit group Amnesty International. The Society is advising those schools to end that relationship.

Amnesty International is best known for their global humanitarian work, focused on human rights, for which they are well respected. The problem stems from the fact that, in 2007, Amnesty International reversed their views on abortion, and since then have been fighting for abortion access worldwide. This doesn’t sit well with the Cardinal Newman Society, who also takes issue with the group’s promotion of gay marriage.

The group maintains the hardline Catholic anti-abortion stance, and in their report on Amnesty International’s campus presence, has resorted to some rather significant leaps in logic to do so. For example, they claim that AI has “directly attacked” the Catholic Church on multiple occasions. They cite a 2011 report that that the Vatican didn’t do enough to protect children, amidst years of scandal about priestly child abuse. They also cite AI’s involvement in a pro-choice campaign in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Catholic country with strict anti-abortion laws.

Presumably, AI hasn’t done anything worse to the Catholic Church, if these are the only attacks that the Newman Society can come up with, neither of which are particularly heinous. The real issue here seems to be power, something which conservatives, Catholic or otherwise, are afraid of losing. The Catholic Church supports education throughout the world, and has a long history of doing so, with numerous highly regarded schools, colleges, and universities associated with it. The key to a proper education though, is teaching students about the multitude of opinions, philosophies, and other differences that make human culture interesting and varied. University students should be allowed to think for themselves, and if that means letting them associate with a group that promotes human rights across the board, even if they are pro-choice, that’s something Catholic schools should be doing.

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