The Atheist Foundation of Australia applauds the long overdue government reform initiatives for Mental Health in Australia. Some reservations must be expressed however, in relation to the appointment of Monsignor Cappo to oversee these reforms.
Monsignor Cappo is a representative of the Catholic Church, a church which still condones a belief in demonic possession of individuals and the practice of exorcism reminiscent of medieval times. This is hardly congruent with the ideological and dogma free approach required to address mental health issues today across all segments of a multi-faith and no-faith society.
We would like Monsignor Cappo to articulate his beliefs in relation to his Church’s long held, and in some areas continuing beliefs, that mental illness relates to the divine and the demonic. Current Vatican Policy claims exorcists regularly consult with psychologists and psychiatrists to differentiate legitimate mental disorders from bona fide demonic possession. This does not inspire confidence.
As he is representing all sectors and not just the members of his faith in his new role as chairman of the National Mental Health Commission, we feel all Australians are entitled to hear Monsignor Cappo’s public views on these matters, and whether he is capable of separating church and state in his understandings, interpretations and advice relating to mental health treatment and prevention for all Australians.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
Maitland SA 5573
Phone: (08) 8835 2269