CATHOLIC HERALD REPORTER CONTRIBUTIONS to Oxfam, the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, from known Catholic sources will automatically be assigned to other than family planning services.
This assurance was given by Mr. H. Leslie Kirkley, director of Oxfam, in an interview with the CATHOLIC HERALD this week. All advertisements in Catholic periodicals, he said, will mention a special address and gifts sent to this address will be earmarked for work to which Catholic contributors could raise no objections.
His assurance followed the announcement by Oxfam that in future a proportion of its funds would be allocated to family planning projects. It was too early to know how Catholics generally had reacted fib the announcement, he said, but there was no evidence to suggest that there would be a large-scale -wilhdrawa1tof Catholic support.
Mgr. Bruce Kent, secretary to Archbishop Heenan of Westminster, had earlier described the Oxfam leaflet announcing its new policy as "reasonable". 'the leaflet presented two points of view from experts on the whole question of birth control as an answer to economic difficulties, he said, and the director of Oxfam had pointed out that donors might specify the purpose for which gifts could be used.
"Obviously anyone who believes in the Catholic Church's teachings would not donate towards any immoral methods of reducing world population," Mgr. Kent added. It would be against his conscience."
Putting the Oxfam viewpoint, Mr. Kirklcy said that while he fully respected the feelings of those who had moral objections to "artificial" methods of birth control, he had to take into account the fact that many Oxfam supporters were non Catholics who saw family planning as an essential part of the war on want.
Fr. T. Corbishley, Si., an Oxfam committee member who abstained on the voting, said that though family planning might be against Catholic views we could not stand in the way of people who believed in it giving their support.
A spokesman for the appeal told me that in the current year funds allocated to family planning work would not "represent 1 per cent" of the f2,250,000 budget.
Last year more than £300,000 was given by Oxfam to Catholic agencies, and the work of these agencies would "continue to receive the fullest possible support".
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