By John-Henry Westen

CORNWALL, ON, October 22, 2007 ( – The Catholic Bishops of Canada met for their annual Plenary Assembly last week and the five day meeting concluded Friday.  In his opening address, outgoing Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) President, André Gaumond, the Archbishop of Sherbrooke, noted that one of the issues the Bishops would be discussing at the meeting was Amnesty International in light of its newly adopted abortion advocacy.

“As you know, during the year Amnesty International adopted a policy on access to abortion,” Gaumond told his brother bishops.  “This is a movement that defends the rights of the oppressed as well as freedom of conscience and expression. What a paradox that the smallest of human beings – unborn children – are now being put at risk by those who should be their defenders.”

  Gaumond revealed that the CCCB had attempted unsuccessfully to have Amnesty leaders reverse their stance.  “There have been conversations with its Canadian leadership, but their position, at least until now, remains unchanged.”

“Since many Catholics have supported this movement, we are being invited to discuss this question in view of clarifying our position,” he said indicating an agenda item for the plenary session.

  A press release issued at the conclusion of the conference late Friday indicates that the bishops have not yet decided on any action regarding Amnesty but have referred the issue to the CCCB Permanent Council “to decide how the Conference should deal with this question.”

  Amnesty International has not only decided to advocate abortion, they have commenced abortion advocacy internationally.  Last week Amnesty urged the Dominican Republic to legalize abortion.  (see coverage: )

  Catholic leaders around the world have for some time now been calling for Catholics to end ties with Amnesty since it now advocates against the right to life of the smallest and most defenseless human beings. 

  The  head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace warned in mid-June, just prior to Amnesty’s final decision to support abortion, that if they did so Catholics and Catholic organizations would be obliged to halt support. Cardinal Renato Martino warned, “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.” (see: )

  Last month, all 328 Catholic schools in the Australian archdiocese of Melbourne were told to withdraw all aid to Amnesty and close their school sponsored Amnesty support groups. Assistant Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Care for the diocese, Maria Kirkwood explained the decision saying, “[T]his particular issue 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.” (see: )

  Also last month, Ireland’s bishops advised Catholic schools to terminate their Amnesty International support groups due to the organization’s new pro-abortion policy.  (see: )

  Amnesty has also recently become involved in defending homosexuality. On Sept 19 LifesiteNews reported that Amnesty International through its affiliates orchestrated international protests outside Nicaraguan embassies and consulates in Germany, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Mexico, Paraguay, Sweden and Taiwan, demanding the repeal of Nicaragua’s sodomy ban.

  A decision from the CCCB Plenary Council on the matter is expected in late November.

  Cartoon Courtesy of John Francis Borra (all rights reserved)