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Press Releases 2013

Media Contact:
Claire S. Gould
202 986 6093

For Immediate Release
10 November 2013

Bishops' Conference Needs to Listen to Catholics

On the eve of the fall meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholics for Choice urged the US bishops to heed Pope Francis’ call to seek input from lay Catholics on the needs and challenges facing modern families. The challenges Francis mentioned in a survey distributed to every bishops’ conference included issues like family planning, divorce and remarriage, and same-sex marriage. The results from the survey will be used to help the Vatican prepare for an extraordinary synod of bishops in October 2014.

Some bishops’ conferences, including the one covering England and Wales, have taken the request from the Vatican and used it as an opportunity to ask lay Catholics their opinions. Others have modified the original questions and encouraged Catholics to make their thoughts and concerns known to the Vatican in other ways. The US bishops have done neither of these things.

“The Vatican is asking the wrong questions,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “They do not resonate with Catholics in the pews and those who no longer even get to a pew. Bishops across the world have failed to convince lay Catholics to conform to teachings on issues like sex, sexuality, family life and reproduction.

"The issue is not about how and how often the faithful hear the teachings; they have already rejected them. This synod is just another step down the failed road of Humanae Vitae, when lay Catholics were consulted on similar issues, rejected them, and were subsequently ignored by the Vatican.

"The reality is Catholics are gay and lesbian, Catholics use birth control and Catholics have abortions. It’s time for the Vatican to go back to the drawing board. We urge the USCCB and the synod to take on the real, complex issues of modern family life as lived by Catholics, not the lives the Vatican wants us to live.”

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Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.