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Catholics for Choice Statement on the Conclusion of the First Meeting of the Synod on Synodality

October 30, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 30, 2023
Contact: John Becker, Press Secretary
Phone: 202-203-0931


Catholics for Choice Statement on the Conclusion of the First Meeting of the Synod on Synodality
Jamie L. Manson: “The synod may be over for now, but the church’s work is far from finished.”

WASHINGTON — Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, issued the following statement upon the conclusion of the first meeting of Pope Francis’s Synod on Synodality, noting the historic discussion of many hot-button issues, but expressing concern about the continued omission of abortion.

Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson, M.Div., said:

“For the first time in the modern era, the Catholic church held conversations about previously taboo topics like ordaining women, recognizing the relationships of LGBTQIA+ people, and rethinking church power structures.  We join our partners in the women’s ordination and LGBTQIA+ justice movements in expressing our deep concern about the synod’s failure to take seriously the grave injustice of gender equality and its refusal to acknowledge the longings of LGBTQIA+ Catholics for a more inclusive church.

“The church’s harmful teachings on gender and LGBTQIA+ people have profound intersections with its position on reproductive health and rights. So the synod’s continued silence on abortion — which touches the lives of far more Catholics than any of these other urgent issues — shows just how powerful and pervasive abortion stigma remains in our church. 

“If Pope Francis is serious about his call to encounter each other across lines of difference, then we must talk openly and honestly about abortion, acknowledge its moral complexities, and listen to the wisdom and lived experiences of the many faithful Catholics who have abortions. That’s why I went to Rome to share the stories of Catholics for Choice who have had abortion care. The church cannot be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit on some issues while silencing conversation on others. The synod may be over for now, but the church’s work is far from finished.”

To ensure that pro-choice Catholics would not be silenced at the synod, Catholics for Choice brought our message to Rome in a series of dramatic and powerful acts:

·       CFC President Jamie Manson and supporters unfurled a massive banner on a bridge along the primary pathway to the Vatican, boldly proclaiming the truth that “Faithful Catholics have abortions.” (Photos, press release)

·       Immediately afterwards, Jamie processed to the synod office to hand-deliver a booklet of abortion stories collected from faithful Catholics, in what the New York Times described as a “mission impossible.” Catholics for Choice was turned away on our first attempt, but Jamie returned a week later and successfully completed the delivery. (video, video)

·       Jamie Manson spoke at the Spirit Unbounded conference — a gathering of reform-minded advocates for human rights in the Catholic church — alongside fellow Catholic luminaries like author Sr. Joan Chittister and former Irish president Mary McAleese. Just a few steps from the Vatican, she called out the pastoral crisis of radical patriarchy in the church and issued this challenge to her fellow queer Catholics and supporters of women’s ordination:

“None of us will have true justice in our church until… patriarchal notions of gender are dismantled… [W]e are all being oppressed by the same ideology. Throwing each other under the bus because we think our particular community is getting somewhere with this pope is a deeply flawed strategy. We have to fight for each other, because we either all get justice together by dismantling this ideology once and for all, or there will be no true justice for any of us.” (Full speech available here.)

Catholics for Choice will continue to monitor the activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their fall gathering on November 13-16, 2023, and the Synod on Synodality will meet for a second and final session in October 2024.

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