Over the years, several official Catholic statements have outlined major concerns about the group “Catholics for a Free Choice.” These statements have pointed out with no uncertainty that CFFC is not a Catholic organization at all, but is in fact a scandalous entity that should be unconditionally disavowed.
Perhaps the strongest indictment came from Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, who in 1996 warned the people of his diocese that membership in Catholics for a Free Choice would be grounds for excommunication.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued at least two statements about this organization. The first, in 1993, was reiterated in a 2000 document. The bishops conference noted, “Because of its opposition to the human rights of some of the most defenseless members of the human race, and because its purposes and activities deliberately contradict essential teachings of the Catholic faith … Catholics for a Free Choice merits no recognition or support as a Catholic organization.”
However, these USCCB statements fall short of instructing the leadership and membership of CFFC that their actions remove them from communion with the Catholic Church. That is most unfortunate, for the USCCB statements have had the same effect as water droplets bouncing off a wall of granite—none! Catholics for a Free Choice remains defiant of Church teaching and is unwilling to repent of its advocacy of abortion and contraception.
In fact, that advocacy of activities that are counter to Catholic teaching is becoming increasingly bold. For instance, an image appears on the left side of the Catholics for a Free Choice web page—is it an accident that it’s on the left?—that says, “Good Catholics use condoms.” Then there’s the organization’s latest ad campaign, which is based on the flawed premise that the act of abortion can be prevented but should not be prohibited. CFFC’s ideology becomes immediately apparent because the use of the word “prevention” is tied directly to the use of birth control. The underlying suggestion is that birth control use will prevent abortion. That’s merely the first in a series of deceptions.
CFFC tells us these ads are designed to affect the presidential elections; but I get the distinct impression that the real reason the ads are being run is an attempt to further confuse the Catholic population. CFFC’s leadership is dedicated to encouraging Catholics, as well as the general population, to believe that abortion is not really all that bad; rather, it is a problem that can be prevented with the use of birth control. If it is successful with its subterfuge, CFFC can retain legal protection for abortion in all its forms.
In short, CFFC is in the business of confusion. The more this outfit can pander to the selfish interests of the average alleged Catholic while at the same time denigrating Church teaching, the better it likes it.
An example of this confusion is seen in one of the ads, which proclaims in bold lettering, “Nobody wants to need an abortion.” The body of that ad states:
Picture a world where safe and reliable birth control is affordable and everybody uses it. Where the decision to become a parent is made responsibly. Where parents have easy access to child care. Where people have health care whether or not they have a job. Where sex is both serious and pleasurable. In this world abortions aren’t illegal. They’re prevented. Isn’t that the best choice of all?
The first problem with this misleading word picture is that “safe and reliable” birth control is neither safe nor reliable. Furthermore, chemical birth control does not protect preborn children from abortion but rather can cause abortion. The ad’s premise is in direct conflict with the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church, which is that both contraception and abortion are intrinsically evil acts. The Church has never wavered from this teaching.
Good Catholics know this, accept this and live very happy lives as they grow in faith and love.
The writers of the ad want the reader to assume that a Catholic’s decision to become a parent is tied to birth control rather than to marriage and family. Quite the contrary is the case. Such a decision should never be made in a vacuum and it certainly should not be made with birth control in mind. The decision to become a parent should be predicated on one’s appreciation for God’s gift of children and the understanding that procreation belongs in marriage. But in today’s if it feels good, do it culture, CFFC is obviously talking about indiscriminate sex, devoid of children.
Good Catholics know that sex outside of marriage is a sin and that no Catholics, including married couples, may use birth control.
Note also that the CFFC ad tosses in the subjects of child care and health care in an attempt to portray itself as an organization that cares for the common good. However, anyone who gives this message a second thought is not going to buy it--that is, if they are indeed good Catholics.
But this is precisely what concerns me most about these ads.
As we approach the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, we at American Life League understand the value of honest education, factual evidence and the need to change popular opinion. Our opponents base their marketing strategy on an opposing perspective. They rejoice in public opinion polls that reveal overwhelming support for abortion and contraception.
All of us on both sides of this struggle know that most Catholics questioned in the national polls do not accept Church teaching on contraception or abortion. The sad fact is that there is a reason why Catholics have such contrary opinions. The pulpits have failed to repeat the truth with consistency and clarity. Because the truth of Church teaching remains so difficult to understand due to this failure, Catholics are no different than any other segment of the population.
If the truth is not understood, confusion sets in. We also know that human nature is such that it is always more comfortable to make choices that serve the self rather than the harder choices that serve God and those we care about regardless of what it may cost us personally.
Ultimately, we also know that those who have built the architecture that supports the culture of death are as astute about these facts as we are; but they are far more clever in marketing their wares. In the vacuum created by the silence of the pulpits and the mystifying lack of leadership from the hierarchy as a united body, groups like Catholics for a Free Choice are only too happy to step in and create support for the evil that faces us as a result of contraception and abortion.
When an allegedly Catholic organization can propagandize in the manner being used by CFFC with nary a word—from either an individual bishop or the collective national bishops’ conference—about sin, excommunication and evil, bad things are bound to happen, even to good Catholics. This most recent CFFC ad campaign is proof of my assumption. This campaign is not a secret. There is no reason why the bishops could not make a forthright statement to clear the air—and it is never too late for them to do so.
This is not a time for principled Catholics to do what is politically correct or media friendly. This is not a time to be polite about scandalous statements so as not to upset the status quo. This is the time for definitive action because good Catholics are in need of good Catholic guidance and leadership from our shepherds.
The CFFC phrase, “Nobody wants to need an abortion,” says it all. The fact is that every abortion kills an innocent person. There should never be a “need” to commit murder. Unless and until we hear this message with consistency and forcefulness from those in authority in the Catholic Church in America, CFFC and their ilk are going to continue sowing their evil seeds as they persist in their quest to dull the spirituality of Catholics and other people of faith. It is time to stand up and be counted among those who will not tolerate the lies that assault the very foundations of Catholic teaching. Let us hope that the United States bishops agree in thought, word and deed.
Good Catholics are praying that they do.