In recent days, a number of US Bishops have publicly denounced the latest efforts of Catholics for Choice, an organization that rejects Catholic teaching on abortion and a number of other issues, along with the fundamental, personalist values and understanding of human dignity that underpin Catholic moral and social thought. The organization’s latest campaign is to promote taxpayer-funded abortion.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference has released an excellent, comprehensive response:
A recent full-page advertisement in the Star Tribune, paid for by a national group calling themselves “Catholics for Choice,” woefully misrepresents the noble Catholic social justice tradition. By calling for public funding of abortion, “Catholics for Choice” disregards the need to defend vulnerable human life in all its stages—a principle at the core of authentic social justice.
If there is a desire to help a woman in need who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, the solution as a society is to provide her with the resources and support she needs to care for her child—not help her dispose of it. Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned such a mentality as part of the throwaway culture that attacks the dignity of the weak and vulnerable because they seem inconvenient and make a claim upon our care and resources.
Furthermore, the ad itself makes no effort to ground its claims in any authoritative source of the Catholic faith, which is rooted in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is proclaimed by the Church. It fails to do so because the actual teachings of the Catholic faith embrace a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death, and categorically condemn abortion as an act of violence against the most innocent and defenseless among us.
“Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2271) tells us. “This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.” The “Catholics for Choice” ad fails to acknowledge this truth of our faith, and instead presents Catholicism as something purely subjective, which in turn can be twisted and distorted to defend any indefensible position. The ad also offers a false choice between caring for women and caring for the unborn. We must love them both…
Cardinal Dolan, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has also responded:
The organization rejects and distorts Catholic social teaching — and actually attacks its foundation. As Pope Francis said this summer to leaders in Poland, “Life must always be welcomed and protected…from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it.”
CFC’s extreme ads promote abortion as if it were a social good. But abortion kills the most defenseless among us, harms women, and tears at the heart of families. Pushing for public funding would force all taxpaying Americans to be complicit in the violence of abortion and an industry that puts profit above the well-being of women and children.
According to a July 2016 poll. . . conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 45 percent of those who say they are pro-choice.
Finally, the CFC pits the needs of pregnant women against those of their unborn children. This is a false choice. Catholics and all people of good will are called to love them both. Consider supporting local pregnancy help centers, which do incredible work caring for mothers and children alike in a manner consistent with true social justice and mercy.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Bishops Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Steven Lopes, and Kevin Farrell of Texas have responded, as well:
The Bishops of the United States, in accord with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, have been unequivocal in proclaiming the dignity of unborn human life. Millions of Catholics in Texas actively live out this teaching in our pro-life ministries and advocacy.
Nor is it clear why this small activist group insists on describing itself as “Catholic” when it apparently declines to embrace and live the principles of the Catholic faith. Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity.