THE TIDAL WAVE of schools dropping Amnesty International following the organisation's decision to adopt a pro-abortion policy continues unabated with the news that 328 Australian Catholic schools will quit AI.
The director of the Catholic Education Office in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Stephen Elder, said his office had made repeated attempts to contact Amnesty over the issue to raise its "serious concerns about the policy". However, he said efforts to discuss the stance had proved fruitless. This is unsurprising as Amnesty International refused to respond to many members' queries on the issue over the last couple of years, and some sectors went as far as misleading their members (see previous posts). Now all of the archdiocese's schools will cut their links with AI in favor of other human rights groups.
Maria Kirkwood, assistant director of religious education and pastoral care in the Melbourne archdiocese, added that a significant number of schools had supported Amnesty programs over many years.
"It's an organisation we would encourage schools to support, which is why this is so disappointing," she told the Age newspaper in Australia. "But this particular issue [abortion] is a very significant one for the Catholic Church and it is impossible for the Catholic Church to continue to support Amnesty with a policy of this nature in place."
A spokesperson for Amnesty International Australia confirmed to the newspaper that a number of schools had already written to the organisation to withdraw membership. As mentioned in a posting yesterday, the organisation faces a potential long-term crisis in supporters; many adult members became involved with Amnesty through their school or church - the establishments that AI's policy has now rejected.