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 quotations from its leaders, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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Catholics for Choice, formerly Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), is a Washington, D.C.-based organization whose objective is to convince lawmakers, the popular media, and Catholics that there can be an authentic “Catholic pro-choice” philosophy.
CFFC was founded in 1970 by three members of the virulently pro-abortion group National Organization for Women (NOW). Its first public act was to ridicule the Catholic Church by crowning one of these women “Pope Joan I” on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. CFFC’s first office was located in the New York suite of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), which owns the largest chain of abortion clinics in North America, and which has committed more than six million abortions.
Soon after its founding, CFFC defined its identity as “a national educational organization that supports the right to legal reproductive health care, especially family planning and abortion.”
The group has clearly stated its ultimate goal: “CFFC recommends a change in the policies held by the Holy See to support the use of condoms to prevent AIDS and other diseases; to approve the use of modern methods of contraception, including emergency contraception, to prevent unwanted pregnancy; and to support non-coercive, safe, and legal abortion.”
CFFC’s vision is certainly not limited to the full acceptance of abortion and contraception by the Catholic Church. Its other stated objectives include the formulation of Catholic morality and theology by popular vote; the ordination of women and married men, followed by the complete elimination of the priesthood, the hierarchy, and the papacy; the elimination of the Sacrament of Penance; acceptance of premarital sex and divorce; acceptance of homosexual acts and homosexual “marriage”: and acceptance of all reproductive technologies, regardless of whether they are licit or illicit.
In other words, CFFC’s ultimate objective is to reduce the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Roman Catholic Church to just another liberal Protestant denomination.
History has demonstrated that the Catholic Church is actually strengthened and reinvigorated by an overt attack carried out by a visible enemy. However, all organizations, including the Church, are extremely vulnerable to a long-term and persistent program of infiltration, subversion, and deception, because the visible results of such an attack take place slowly and in increments small enough to escape unwanted attention.
Since it is always easier to defend against an enemy that presents a visible threat, the infiltrators escape the determined and concentrated counterattack that would defeat an external assault.
As leftist organizer Saul Alinsky taught, “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism. They cut their hair, put on suits, and infiltrate the system from within.”
The general mission of Catholics for a Free Choice is to advocate abortion and population control all over the world, with an emphasis on Latin America. By assuming the name “Catholic,” the organization can neutralize organized opposition to its initiatives, confuse less-informed Catholics, and give the pro-abortion media a so-called “alternative” Catholic voice that supports contraception, sterilization, abortion, and homosexual activity.
In one of its four separate denunciations of CFFC, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) clearly stated that “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.”
The USCCB used exceptionally strong language to condemn CFFC, identifying it as an “arm of the abortion lobby” and publicizing the fact that “it is funded by a number of powerful and wealthy private foundations, mostly American, to promote abortion as a method of population control.”
CFFC was also condemned by the Permanent Episcopal Conference of Uruguay, which stated: “We find ourselves obligated to strongly reiterate that the organization ‘Catholics for a Free Choice’ hasn’t any formal affiliation with the Catholic Church and expressly contradicts the Church’s genuine teachings.”
Despite its name, CFFC continually demonstrates that it is truly an anti-Catholic organization, as it consistently demonstrates in its writings. It simply despises the Church and her leaders. In fact, CFFC’s leaders have repeatedly referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “oppressive” and “evil.”
CFFC’s animus toward the Church is exceeded only by its hatred of the papacy and the episcopacy. Writers for CFFC have referred to Pope John Paul II and outspokenly pro-life bishops as “arrogant,” “blind,” “bullies,” “coercive,” “cruel,” “dumb,” “fanatical,” “hard-hearted,” “hypocritical,” “liars,” “mean,” “nasty,” “pathological,” “pigheaded,” “prattlers,” “ruthless,” “sanctimonious,” “self-righteous,” “tyrannical,” “unethical,” “unhinged,” “unjust,” “virulent,” and “vituperative,” and even “betrayers of Christ” and “the seed of Satan,” among many other vicious epithets.
CFFC has repudiated the most fundamental beliefs of Catholicism in its drive to reconstruct the Church. CFFC board member Rosemary Radford Ruether has said: “What is required is the total reconstruction of God, Christ, human nature, and society,” and another CFFC writer has called for “. . . the reworking of central religious myths and doctrines and the reinterpretation of revealed truth.”
CFFC’s writers have publicly denied that Christ redeemed mankind, have denied the perpetual virginity of our Lady, and have claimed that the doctrine of papal infallibility is “a naive dream.”
Nor do leaders of CFFC even participate in the sacraments of the Church in which they claim membership, a minimum standard for calling oneself Catholic. Instead, they embrace an assortment of New Age rituals and practices. Its directors have practiced devotion to the feminist idol Sophia, have praised the bloody pagan god Ba’al, and have even composed poems honoring Satan.
From its founding to the present time, CFFC has associated itself with the most extreme pro-abortion and anti-Catholic organizations in the world.
It is a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an umbrella group that seeks to lend a religious veneer of respectability to abortion, and which aggressively undermines pro-life efforts in mainline Protestant denominations.
Catholics for [a Free] Choice has also cooperated closely with secular pro-abortion groups such as the International Women’s Health Coalition, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the National Abortion Federation, and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Of course, it has longstanding relationships with other major groups that dissent from Catholic teaching and doctrine, including Call to Action, Catholics Speak Out, Chicago Catholic Women, the Institute of Women Today, the Loretto Women’s Network, the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER), European Network/Church on the Move, and the Women’s Ordination Conference.
Catholics for [a Free] Choice has demonstrated by its history, philosophy, and actions that it is Catholic in name only.
Since its founding, it has vigorously attacked and undermined the dogma, teachings, and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, seeking to legalize abortion and contraception throughout the world by confusing the faithful. It has caused incalculable damage to Catholics by leading them into sin with its rationalizations and misrepresentations.
The threat posed by CFFC cannot be overemphasized. Because it poses as a Catholic organization and is backed by millions of dollars of foundation money every year, its impact is greatly increased, especially in developing nations where the media are receptive to its message.
There are only two sure defenses against CFFC: exposing its radical agenda to the world, and constant preaching and teaching on authentic Catholic doctrine regarding sexual ethics.
The next article on CFFC will cover its activities, which are designed to legalize abortion worldwide and sideline the Catholic Church.
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Next article: “The Activities of Catholics for a Free Choice.”