Giving Catholics a contract for sensitive counselling of possibly vulnerable people is like putting a lunatic in charge of the asylum, a paedo in charge of the nursery, a klepto in charge of the shop.
But Richmond Council in England has done just that, and the gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust is not a little dischuffed about it.
The silly councillors think the Catholic Children’s Society will handle it better than a secular organisation, Off the Record, which has been providing the service for the past two decades.*
Let’s just clear one thing up: secular doesn’t mean atheist, and a secular organisation will very likely contain religious people as well as atheists and agnostics. But a religious organisation is going to peddle a position, and would you want a gay kid, say, being advised by an active Catholic?
Oh, it’ll be all right, son, you’ll grow out of it; Jesus will help; pray to God; it’s a phase; God meant you to love a woman (et cetera, et cetera, reversing the genders as necessary).
George Broadhead, secretary of the PTT – which is this blog’s parent body – said, “The issues on which counselling service will be provided to teenagers include contraception, unwanted pregnancy and homophobic bullying.
“Given the dogmatic and reactionary stance taken by the Catholic Church on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, which will clearly be strictly adhered to by the CCS, the decision of the Council is outrageous and beggars belief. I hope that young people will be well enough informed about the Church’s stance to give the CCS a very wide berth indeed.”
We have to entertain the possibility that there were other reasons why Off the Record was not chosen this time. That’s something between OTR and the council. But choosing an organisation whose ethos is so anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-contraception to counsel vulnerable people whose problems may well concern these things seems unwise in the extreme.
* Corrected from my original “two years”. Mea culpa. Thanks, George (see comments).