Planning Association's decision to send 100 teenage volunteers to youth centres in Islington, London, to talk about contraception and pregnancy testing met sharp Catholic criticism this week.
Fr. Harold Winstone, parish priest of St. Thomas More, Manor House, London, N.4, said : "This well-meaning but hopelessly misguided policy may indeed solve a few immediate problems, but at what cost in terms of human personalities involved?
"It is more calculated to teach young people the crippling art of self-centred lust than to help them develop the ability to love truly and to build up a stable relationship."
The Islington Deanery Council headed by Fr. Winstone, formed a working party to discuss the F.P.A. move and recommend action.
The F.P.A.'s first idea had been to open a centre in Islington to reach young people with sexual problems who would not come to borough
clinics. But planning permission for a house in Junction Road was refused because "the proposal would result in
the loss of residential premises."
Fr. Winstone said: "Islington has a promiscuity problem. One sees a red light in quite a lot of windows around here, and the number of abortions locally is frightening." Much of the problem arose from 'unattached girls who came to live in the area knowing few people.
Marriage guidance counsellors, a doctor, 'teachers and parents are to discuss what action the 12 parishes who form the deanery may take, and will report back to the deanery council.
The F.P.A. said it was pleased to learn of the deanery's interest do its plan. No attempt would 'be made to change Catholics' beliefs.
One social worker believes there might be room for Catholic co-operation with the F.P.A., helping solve a problem both recognise.
Fr. Winstone, director of Islington's Thomas More Pastoral Centre, which has pithfished booklets on pastoral care of homosexuals, unmarried mothers, immigrants and other groups, said the F.P.A. had shown up a gap.
"The solution could well become the subject of another booklet."
Cardinal Wright arrives today
CARDINAL John Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will arrive at London airport at 3.30 this afternoon, when he will be met by Archbishop Cowderoy of Southwark.
At 8 p.m. he will address catechists at Bishop Thomas Grant School, Streatham, S.W. London, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday will speak in Liverpool Cathedral.
Before leaving Rome he said: "In a way this is a home corning for me. After my ordination I worked as a parish priest at St. Michael's, Sheerness, in Southwark Diocese."