Catholics for Choice

June 28, 2017

Catholics for Choice Portrays Catholic Bishops as Bigots

Catholics for Choice (CFC) bought a two-page ad in The Express, a publication of The Washington Post, painting the Catholic Church as a bigoted and discriminatory religious organization. Imitating the famous U.S. Army recruitment poster featuring Uncle Sam, CFC uses a Bishop who points saying, “We Want You to Help Us Discriminate.” The ad stated, “The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has led an annual Fortnight for Freedom campaign for years to do just that: discriminate.” CFC stated the Catholic Church is hiding behind religious liberty to discriminate against people, specifically when it comes to birth control, adoption, and abortion.

Jon O’Brien is the current president of CFC, who replaced Francis Kissling in 2008. Prior to becoming president he worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Bureau in London. He was born and raised Catholic in Ireland and started his work at the Irish Family Planning Association, whose work successfully led to the end of Ireland’s constricting contraceptive laws. Thus, O’Brien’s work with reproductive rights has heavily influenced laws and policy in many countries. According to his CFC bio, he stands against the Catholic hierarchy and speaks for “millions of Catholics around the U.S and aboard” on reproductive rights.

In a special “Message from the President” on CFC’s website, O’Brien gives a long statement on various stances of Catholics for Choice that fundamentally conflict with traditional values of the Roman Catholic Church. For example O’Brien wrote:

And above all else: we know that our faith both calls us to follow our conscience and demands that we serve those who are the least among us. Controlling which services they will be able to access-whether that is condoms and contraception or abortion-goes against both those traditions.

O’Brien wrote, “We can’t have freedom of religion without guaranteeing freedom from religion.” He concludes the message with a pledge to stand in solidarity with social justice demands before “real religious freedom is destroyed in our country.”

Separately in a video, promoted by CFC in its print ad, the organization explained their version of religious liberty and the separation between church and state as “enshrined in our Constitution.”

Yet, O’Brien seems oblivious to the fact that the separation between church and state is not actually “enshrined” in the American Constitution. The First Amendment states, regarding religion, the free exercise clause (freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs) and the establishment clause (Congress cannot establish one true religion). Ultimately the First Amendment allows Christians to exercise their religious beliefs in the public square. Thus, O’Brien’s statement contradicts religious liberty by hindering religious groups, specifically Catholics, from exercising their beliefs on abortion.

Catholics for Choice promotes “choice for women” and believes that the Catholic Church has been too invested on women’s issues, particularly with abortion. O’Brien has been extremely outspoken on this issue arguing that the church should preserve individual conscience. He cites the Catechism stating, “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.” However, O’Brien does not believe a religious conscientious objection to abortion is valid.

This organization’s doctrines are far from the Roman Catholic values on the sanctity of life. The Catholic Church has always been fierce defenders of the unborn throughout history continuing to today. Pope John Paul II stated, “By the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors . . . I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.”

Therefore, Catholics for Choice does not align with traditional Catholic doctrine nor represent Catholics. They identify as a Catholic organization, however their disregard for the Church’s doctrines seems to cast doubt on whether they are truly Catholic.

3 Responses to Catholics for Choice Portrays Catholic Bishops as Bigots

  1. Gail H. says:

    Catholics for Choice is a misnomer. They are not living as true Catholics and they are not for choice. They are for taking away the choice for life and the choice for the truth of the Catholic faith. They are an anti-Catholic organization responsible for pushing abortion, also known as the tortuous killing of helpless, innocent babies in the womb, while mocking the Catholic Church. They try to pretend that they are Catholic all at the same time that they are trying to tear down the Catholic Church. Therefore, in order to try to bring down the one true faith, O’Brien, resorts to putting out propaganda against the Catholic Church. His true Catholic ancestors must be very disappointed in him, to say the least. He’s bashing the one true Catholic faith, however, the gates of hell shall never prevail against Christ’s Catholic Church. Shame on O’Brien and his evil organization. He may try to fool people, but he will NEVER fool God. God is NOT mocked. One day, God will hold him and his malicious organization accountable. On that day, O’Brien will be as vulnerable as a helpless baby in the womb.

  2. David Fischler says:

    Jon O’Brien and his ilk are nothing more than Unitarians playing Catholic. If every member of that organization hasn’t already been excommunicated, the hierarchy has a job to do.

  3. Jennifer Caterini says:

    They call themselves “Catholic” but are not willing to submit to the official teachings of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium. Like so many in the 21st Century, they want to rewrite the word of God.. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20

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