By BRIAN CLOWES
(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of his updated 400-page book Catholics for a Free Choice Exposed, which includes detailed financial information on CFFC and hundreds of quotes from its leaders, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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Since its founding in 1970, Catholics for [a Free] Choice has launched numerous public initiatives designed to advance its ultimate objective of forcing the Catholic Church to accept contraception, abortion, homosexual activity, and married and homosexual priests, among other evils. The group hopes to accomplish this by proxy, by working to change the Church from within by a process called “infiltration and subversion.”
In an address before the Roman Senate, Cicero described how this strategy works:
“A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
“For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”
This describes perfectly the role played by Catholics for [a Free] Choice.
They are the traitors whose sly whispers are couched in terms familiar to real Catholics. They work hard to look and sound like real Catholics. And they most certainly appeal to our fallen natures — the weakness that lies deep in the hearts of all men and women.
CFFC occupies a vital niche in the worldwide pro-abortion movement. The Catholic Church has always been the most powerful and visible opponent of abortion all over the world. The primary objective of CFFC is to neutralize effective Catholic action by sowing confusion and discord among its members. CFFC knows that uncertainty leads to paralysis, an unwillingness to act against evil.
CFFC takes full advantage of its Catholic camouflage, and has launched several initiatives that have raised its profile and contributed to its goal of either forcing the Church to change its teachings on the sexual issues or, failing this, pushing it off the field of battle.
The “See Change” Campaign
The best-known of CFFC’s projects is the “See Change” campaign.
CFFC, which so staunchly defends the rights of dissenters in the Catholic Church, works to silence the voices of pro-life “dissenters” in the United Nations. In 1999, CFFC launched its ongoing “See Change” campaign. The stated objective of “See Change” is to pressure the United Nations into downgrading the status of the Vatican from permanent observer status to that of non-governmental organization (NGO), like CFFC itself.
The actual purpose of “See Change” is to isolate and intimidate the Holy See’s delegates to the UN and to frighten away its often-timid allies.
CFFC attacks the Vatican’s status at the United Nations because the Holy See has stood firm with developing countries at many UN conferences, resisting and exposing population control programs that include abortion, contraception, and sterilization, and which are promoted through deceit, trickery, intimidation, and manipulation of language.
The See Change Campaign began with 70 participating pro-abortion organizations, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the National Abortion Federation, Marie Stopes International, the Sierra Club, Population Concern, the American Humanist Association, and the National Organization for Women (NOW). Despite this impressive lineup, the campaign was doomed from the very beginning. Two and a half years after its launch, it had been endorsed by 653 organizations, most of which were tiny local groups with no national or international stature, such as individual abortion mills or minuscule groups such as “The Alliance of Lucent and AT&T Atheists and Secularists.”
In response, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) launched a counteroffensive named the “Holy See Campaign” in January 2000. It garnered 1,015 signatures in only two months, and had an impressive total of 4,207 signatories within two years.
In 2000, the United States House of Representatives voted by an almost unanimous 416-1 to condemn CFFC’s move to end the Vatican’s permanent observer status at the United Nations. Despite its utter failure, CFFC is still pushing its “See Change” Campaign.
This campaign is a vivid example of CFFC’s hypocrisy. It claims to represent the Catholic Church, and gets directly involved in the politics of the United States and several other nations, but denies this same right to the leaders of the Catholic Church itself — the bishops — because this is, in its view, a “violation of the principle of the separation of church and state.”
CFFC leaders seem to be utterly unaware of the glaring hypocrisy of many of their activities. Take the “MergerWatch” campaign as a case in point. CFFC believes that Catholic hospitals should be closely regulated by the government because they are health-care organizations, but that the same government has absolutely no business regulating abortion clinics in any way.
While CFFC prattles endlessly about how precious the individual conscience is (its glossy magazine is even named Conscience), it seems eager to force Catholic hospitals and health-care professionals to violate their consciences by compelling them to offer contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion.
There have been hundreds of mergers between Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals in the United States over the past three decades, and Catholic hospitals now constitute the largest single group of nonprofit hospitals in the country. CFFC frets that “reproductive health care is severely limited by Catholic hospitals and when Catholic hospitals merge with non-Catholic facilities.”
Frances Kissling said: “Health care is not like every other business. This is not your corner candy store or K-Mart. Health care is a public trust, and as such, it is regulated by the government in ways that other businesses are not.”
Keep in mind that Kissling and CFFC condemn all moves by the government to make abortion mills safer.
CFFC is a great advocate of the separation of church and state — except, of course, when the power of the state can be used to force the Church to bend to its will. CFFC’s idea of “the separation of church and state” means that, whenever the state advances, the Church must retreat.
Forced Funding Of Abortion
CFFC is involved in so many repugnant activities that it is difficult to highlight the worst, but we will conclude with its vociferous support of forced taxpayer funding of abortion.
The average issue of CFFC’s magazine Conscience is generously larded with at least a dozen references to public opinion polls supporting CFFC’s positions on one issue or another. This seems to imply that CFFC somehow respects the results of these polls or uses them to help guide the formation of its ideology.
Nothing could be further from the reality, because CFFC uses poll results very selectively indeed.
Every national public opinion poll taken on the subject shows that Americans do not want their tax dollars paying for abortions. This is true even of most Americans who refer to themselves as “pro-choice.” Yet for three decades, CFFC has worked against public opinion by supporting the so-called “Justice Campaign.” The goal of this campaign is to mandate United States government funding of all abortions for poor women. CFFC boasts that it “…helped to lead the 1993 campaign against the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal Medicaid funding of abortions.”
CFFC has also filed numerous amicus curiae briefs in federal courts in support of forced taxpayer funding of abortion, and has vigorously denounced the Mexico City Policy, which bans United States funding of groups that perform or promote abortions in developing nations.
Once again, CFFC’s hypocrisy is laid bare. The group’s leaders claim that public opinion polls should guide Church dogma regarding abortion — unless the polls result in a pro-life outcome. Then, of course, the issue becomes one of “human rights” that should never be put to a public vote.
CFFC’s finances are even more interesting than its activities. It has received money from every kind of foundation, from Playboy to a “racial betterment” group, and the grants themselves make fascinating reading, as we will see in the next article.
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Next article: “The Fascinating Finances of Catholics for a Free Choice.”