Critics misguided about Centacare: welfare leader

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Suggestions that Centacare should be excluded from involvement in providing pregnancy counselling are misguided and could ironically lead to an "anti-choice" outcome, Catholic Social Services Chairman Fr Joe Caddy says.

Writing in this week's Eureka Street Extra, Fr Caddy says that to suggest that Centacare Sydney should not be involved in pregnancy counselling "is to misunderstand the practice of non-directive counselling, mistake the purpose of the helpline, and mistrust the well-established professionalism of Centacare".

The Melbourne priest was commenting on reaction to the Federal Government's recently announced decision to award the Pregnancy Telephone Helpline tender to McKesson Asia Pacific, a private company that intends to subcontract the Centacare Sydney to help develop an information manual.

Fr Caddy, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Centacare Catholic Family Services in Melbourne, says that he hope criticisms of Centacare's role in the helpline will not women from using the service, "an outcome which would, ironically, be 'anti choice'".

He says number of public commentators "were unrestrained in attacking Catholic social welfare services, and aired the ill-informed view that such services are incapable of providing professional pregnancy counselling, given the Church's moral and ethical stance regarding abortion.

"While the Catholic Church has a clear moral position on abortion, this does not limit its ability to work with those people suffering grief and loss resulting from an earlier abortion," he said.

"The Church's opposition to crime does not limit its capacity to support prisoners," Fr Caddy explained.

He added that the Church's "disapproval of divorce does not limit its capacity to support men, women and children going through the pain of separation" and "its opposition to the abuse of drugs and alcohol does not limit its desire to accompany and support those caught in the traps of addiction."

"Catholic agencies can provide counselling which is client-centred and non-directive, and which aims to help an individual come to a decision.

"This is done by providing emotional support, time and space, so that a woman can make a considered decision that is not motivated by panic."

Other Catholic services also provide information about the availability of emotional and other forms of support, Fr Caddy concluded.


SOURCE
Catholic Social Services have a role to play in pregnancy counselling (Eureka Street Extra, 15/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
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16 Jan 2007

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