EDINBURGH, Scotland (Zenit): As a matter of conscience, and with great sadness, Cardinal Keith O’Brien announced his intention to resign from Amnesty International in protest of the organisation’s policy supporting abortion.
The archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh announced his decision on August 27 in a letter sent to the director of human rights organisation in Scotland.
In the statement he said, “The recent decision by the International Council of Amnesty International to ‘support the decriminalisation of abortion and to defend women’s access to abortion’ has forced me to reconsider my membership of this noble organisation.”
Having first joined as a student and supported it over many decades,” the 69-year-old cardinal wrote, “as a matter of conscience and with great sadness I have decided to resign from Amnesty International.”
Along with the bishops of Scotland in 2001 in guidance ahead of the Scottish elections we stressed the commitment of the Catholic Church to life, but we wanted to be clear what that meant.
And we said then that: ‘We believe in a consistent ethic of life. We are pro-life in the fullest sense of that term’.”
Cardinal O’Brien said that “with regard to abortion I have now had to examine my own conscience, realising that Amnesty International was approving proposals in support of abortion”.
The cardinal encouraged those who withdraw membership from Amnesty International to offer contributions previously destined for that group to other organisations “that do indeed support the right to life of each and every human being wherever conceived and in whatsoever part of the world, and to help women who have suffered violence at the hands of others, particularly those who have endured rape”.