The attempt by the Vatican to get ordinary Catholics to stop supporting Amnesty International because it will not back a total ban on abortion - even in cases of rape and incest - is causing hurt, disappointment and anger among many people.
I have had a number of emails today from Catholic friends. They speak of their "shame" at the statement from Cardinal Martino - see http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5359 .
"It is clear that Amnesty is largely staying out of the abortion row, but it feels it has to speak up for abused women", writes one. "I know faithful Catholic priests and religious who sympathise with this view - but who feel intimidated against speaking out by the hierarchy. This is disgraceful."
She goes on: "I suppose I could be said to have a conservative view on abortion overall, but the way the Church is conducting itself is like a playground bully. It is showing contempt for women and for the wisdom of the laity. I can see little of the grace of the Gospel in this. Amnesty does vital work, and trying to thwart it is in my view sinful. The church has a right to its own policy, but it should seek to persuade others towards a comprehensive ethic of life through life-giving means, not like this."
I could not a agree more. Ekklesia is pleased to have an affiliate deal with Amnesty International. Click on the link at the bottom of our pages to find out how to show your continued support.
(c) Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.