Catholic church advises Belfast school to disband Amnesty branch

The rift between the Catholic church and Amnesty International over the organisation’s new policy on sexual and reproductive rights appears to be growing, and it’s taking on a local dimension too. Henry McDonald reports in the Guardian, and Patsy McGarry confirms in the Irish Times [subs req], that a Belfast grammar school in the Down and Connor diocese has been advised by the church to disband its Amnesty group. The issue appears to be due for discussion at next month’s general meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. From the Guardian report

In relation to the banning of school Amnesty groups, a church spokesman told the Guardian: “An inquiry did come from a school principal, on behalf of the teacher who is in charge of the school Amnesty group, asking for guidance on the future of the Amnesty group in the school. The advice to the school is that it would be inappropriate for the school branch to continue in existence in the context of Amnesty International’s new position regarding abortion.”

Adds While there’s no confirmation of which school is referred to in the reports, here’s an example of a well established and active Amnesty International Group within a voluntary grammar school in the diocese, in the Catholic Maintained Schools sector, which could be affected by any general directive from the Irish Bishops’ Conference.