by Cathal Barry
June 16, 2016
Bishop Phonsie Cullinan has said he is “totally opposed” to Amnesty International speaking in Catholic schools given the organisation’s support for a liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion laws, which he described as “bizarre”.
As a former supporter of Amnesty’s work, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore said he was “saddened by the direction in which the organisation is moving in the last few years”.
“I was a supporter of Amnesty myself in the past when it was campaigning for prisoners unjustly jailed in foreign countries. Now Amnesty is lobbying here in Ireland for the destruction of unborn human life which it considers not worthy of life. To say the least this is bizarre,” he told The Irish Catholic.
Bishop Cullinan warned that given Amnesty International’s stance on the Eighth (Life Equality) Amendment “it would not be at all appropriate for them to speak in a Catholic school and I am totally opposed to their doing so”.
“To the best of my knowledge no presentations on behalf of Amnesty International have been made in this diocese.
“All guest presentations in primary and voluntary post-primary schools in the Waterford and Lismore diocese must comply with the Catholic ethos,” he said.
This newspaper also understands that Bishop Ray Browne wrote to priests of the Kerry diocese last December instructing them to be “prudent” regarding Amnesty’s access to Church-run schools.
“Given the current situation it would seem prudent that they not gain widespread access to Church schools,” he wrote in an instruction to priests seen by The Irish Catholic.
Meanwhile, the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has accused the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) of becoming “a de facto lobby group for abortion”.
Cora Sherlock of the PLC said last week’s comments by the HRC on Ireland’s abortion law is further proof that the committee “is one hundred percent partisan in favour of abortion and never takes account of the hugely damaging effects of abortion on both mother and baby”.
“Every few months they castigate Ireland’s abortion laws but are totally silent when it comes to investigating abuses in the abortion industry.
“It is unbelievable how one-sided they have become and they need to be called out on it,” she said.