UK bishops’ charity will keep pro-abortion “Catholic” as theological advisor

UK bishops’ charity will keep pro-abortion “Catholic” as theological advisor

Claire Chretien

LONDON, June 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The UK bishops’ overseas charitable arm confirmed it will not remove from its Theological Advisory Group a theologian who recently backed a pro-abortion effort urging Polish bishops to withdraw their support of a proposed pro-life law.

Dissident Catholic theologian Tina Beattie was a prominent voice behind a campaign asking Catholic bishops in Poland to cease their support of a proposed law that would ban abortion in cases of rape, risk to the life of the mother, and if the unborn child has a disability. Polish law currently allows for abortion in those cases.

The campaign featured a letter signed by a few theologians and a number of others in unrelated professions. Beattie’s involvement has caused the letter to be referred to as the “Beattie petition.”

Beattie, who has a history of loudly dissenting from Catholic teaching on moral issues like contraception and divorce, sits on the Theological Advisory Group to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD). She also advises the National Board of Catholic Women on bioethics. Beattie teaches Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton, where she is the director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing.

“Recently, an open letter to the Polish Bishops’ Conference from Concerned Catholics on proposed changes to Poland’s Abortion Laws, was signed by a theologian, Tina Beattie, who is also a member of CAFOD’s Theological Reference Group,” Chris Bain, the Director of CAFOD, said in a statement. “The opinions and views expressed in the letter do not represent nor reflect CAFOD’s policies.”

Bain says the statement was written on behalf of himself, Salford Bishop John Arnold, and Westminster Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington. Arnold serves as chairman of CAFOD’s Board of Trustees, and Sherrington is a member of the Board of Trustees.

The statement reiterated CAFOD’s previous declarations that it operates in line with the teachings of the Church it officially represents despite the scandal presented by Beattie’s pro-abortion advocacy. In its previous statement, CAFOD did not mention Beattie by name.

“CAFOD is an agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales,” Bain’s statement said. “We take this responsibility very seriously. As such, our policies and practice adhere to Church Teaching, including protecting the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”

“CAFOD appreciates the opportunity to dialogue with many external specialists in all areas of our work who offer their services on a voluntary basis,” Bain continued. “CAFOD then makes its own decisions on policy and practice, all of which are agreed by its Board…CAFOD naturally values our on-going dialogue with academic theologians, who freely offer their time to share their ideas and reflections on theological issues of relevance to CAFOD’s work. It includes academic theologians who carry out research and teaching in different universities across England and Wales. The Group, however, is not a policy or decision-making body.”

Bain said CAFOD is revising its management and governance strategies, a process that will “[clarify] the role, status and membership expectations of all our advisory and reference groups, which includes the Theological Reference Group. We will begin the next phase of this process following our next Board meeting in July.”

In 2014, Beattie’s frequent questioning of Catholic doctrine caused Archbishop Leo Cushley to ban her from speaking on Church property in the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

Beattie has previously compared Catholic Mass to homosexual sex and equated pregnancy with war to justify abortion.

CAFOD has defended the importance of having “access to a wide range of theological opinion on issues of relevance to international development.”

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One comment on “UK bishops’ charity will keep pro-abortion “Catholic” as theological advisor

  1. [Not the first time that the Brit hierarchy has been involved with scandal and immorality in one form or another concerning CAFOD]

    UK Catholic Aid Agency Promotes Condoms for AIDS

    September 28, 2004 (LifeSiteNews) – Now that the homosexual crisis in the Catholic Church has become public, it is becoming apparent that it has affected not only parishes and dioceses but organizations that control Catholic charitable efforts as well. In the UK, the official aid agency associated with the Catholic bishops’ conference, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), has come under scrutiny for its endorsement of the use of condoms, in contravention of Catholic moral teaching, for the prevention of AIDS.

    In a long editorial article, an abridged version of a paper presented at an AIDS conference in Bangkok, and published in the liberal Catholic paper, The Tablet, on September 25th, CAFOD calls the Catholic teaching on sexuality ‘over-simplistic solutions for an idealized world.”

    The article, which is posted on CAFOD’s website on their policy page, goes on to propose “a third, middle-ground approach known as ‘ABC’- ‘abstain, be faithful, use a condom.’” The article claims that this ‘third way’ is supported by Catholic moral theology and makes an oblique reference to the principle of double effect. “Traditional moral theology allows for an approach in which individuals subscribe to clearly identified ideals but sometimes have to make choices that fall short of these.”

    However, none of this will be surprising to those who attended a Mass to celebrate “25 years of friendship and commitment to justice,” for two prominent ‘Catholic’ homosexuals, Martin Pendergast, a former Carmelite priest and current head of the Roman Catholic Lesbian and Gay Caucus and Julian Filochowski, a director of CAFOD.

    The mass was originally to be celebrated by Bishop John Crowley of Middlesbrough, the former chairman of CAFOD, but after it was featured in a story in the Daily Telegraph he bowed out of the event while protesting that in no way was it meant to repudiate Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Instead, the Mass was eventually celebrated by Father Jim O’Keefe, former president of Ushaw, a seminary in the north of England. Among the attendees was the current chairman of CAFOD, Bishop John Rawsthorne.

    Catholics all over England contribute to CAFOD through diocesan collections. When Filochowski stepped down as director of CAFOD, he was thanked by England’s top Catholic prelate, Cormac Murphy O’Connor. The Cardinal wrote, “For what you have achieved in your 20 years as Director of CAFOD you have the grateful thanks and appreciation of the Catholic community in England and Wales.”

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