US Bishop’s Conference Condemns “Catholics for a Free Choice”

By Austin Ruse | May 12, 2000

     (NEW YORK – C-FAM)  Using exceptionally strong language, the Washington DC based National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) yesterday condemned the group calling itself "Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC)."

     "For a number of years, a group calling itself Catholics for a Free Choice has been publicly supporting abortion while claiming it speaks as an authentic Catholic voice. That claim is false. In fact, the group's activity is directed to rejection and distortion of Catholic teaching about the respect and protection due to defenseless unborn human life," said NCCB president Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston.

     The Bishop's statement comes as a reaction to the year-long campaign run by CFFC to eject the Catholic Church from the United Nations. Led by CFFC, roughly 450 mostly pro-abortion organizations are calling upon UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to review the status of the Holy See in order to remove it as a Permanent Observer at the UN. Campaign organizers have objected to the pro-life position the Holy See delegation has taken at a number of UN world conferences. The Bishop's statement says this "public relations effort has ridiculed the Holy See in language reminiscent of other episodes of anti-Catholic bigotry that the Catholic Church has endured in the past."

     CFFC was given official recognition by the UN last summer and has participated officially in a number of UN conferences. This has consistently been condemned by the American Bishops. When CFFC was accredited to participate in the Beijing Women's Conference in 1995 then NCCB president Cardinal William H. Wheeler said, "no group which promotes abortion can legitimately call itself Catholic." Even so CFFC has been welcomed and encouraged by high ranking members of the UN bureaucracy, including Nafis Sadik, head of the UN Population Fund. And only last month the Clinton Administration sponsored a press conference at which CFFC attacked the Catholic Church at the UN.

     The Bishop's comments closed by reiterating their statement from 1993. "The Catholic Bishops of the United States have stated for many years, the use of the name Catholic as a platform for promoting the taking of innocent human life and ridiculing the Church is offensive not only to Catholics, but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse. We state once again with the strongest emphasis: 'Because of its opposition to the human rights of some of the most defenseless members of the human race, and because of its purposes and activities deliberately contradicting essential teachings of the Catholic faith, Catholics for a Free Choice merits no recognition or support as a Catholic organization."