How Catholics for Choice started in the US
It was founded in 1973 as a voice for Catholics who believe that the Catholic tradition supports a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.
CFC was founded by Catholics Joan Harriman, Patricia Fogarty McQuillan, and Meta Mulcahy as Catholics for a Free Choice, with the aim of promoting access to abortion in the context of Catholic tradition.
The organisation works with sister organisations throughout Latin America, and maintains a presence in the European parliament and throughout Europe, working closely with Catholic and reproductive health representatives there.
CFC is an ECOSOC-accredited NGO in the UN system and has participated in many UN conferences and forums.
With an annual budget of Sh255 million ($3 million), CFC and its partners support social justice and human rights in both church and the society.
Catholics for Choice claim to help people and organisations challenge the power of the Catholic hierarchy “which uses every means at its disposal to punish and publicly shame Catholics who don’t unquestioningly follow its edicts”.
They also believe that the hierarchy seeks to impose “its narrow view of morality” and “dangerous positions on public health issues” on Catholics and non-Catholics around the world”.
As a result, CFC’s positions are taken in the name of Catholics, publicly undermining the authority of the Church.
A number of Catholic bishops and conferences of bishops have unequivocally rejected and publicly denounced CFC’s identification as a Catholic organisation.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Archdiocese of Mexico have stated that CFC is not a Catholic organisation and that it promotes positions contrary to Catholic teaching.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, legislated automatic interdict, with effect from April 15, 1996, against Catholics in his diocese who held membership in any of 12 organisations, including CFC, stating that such membership “is always perilous to the Catholic Faith and most often is totally incompatible with the Catholic Faith”.
This piece was originally published by the Daily Nation.