Ad effort ‘not Catholic’ in abortion claims

A full-page advertisement in the Sept. 12 edition of the Omaha World-Herald claiming that "public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value" is far from the truth, said Omar Gutierrez, manager of the archdiocese’s Office of Missions and Justice.

Similar ads appeared in more than 20 publications around the country.

"Catholics for Choice (CFC) who paid for the ad adopt a position that is not social justice, not consistent with an ethic of life, and not Catholic," said Gutierrez, who also is a special assistant to Archbishop George J. Lucas.

"Abortion is the intentional killing of a human being," Gutierrez said in a statement. "This is why Servant of God Dorothy Day, a woman who lived and breathed Catholic social justice values, added her signature to the 1974 statement of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, which reads in part, ‘No one has the right to choose life or death for another; to assume such power has always been recognized as the ultimate form of oppression.’ The statement goes on to call for repeal of Roe v. Wade."

Priests across the archdiocese were encouraged to share Gutierrez’s message at weekend Masses.

CFC, a Washington-based group, said its ads appeared Sept. 12 in the print editions of local and national publications including the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Politico, the Nation, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Dallas Morning News and La Opinion.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said "use of the name ‘Catholic’ as a platform to promote the taking of innocent life is offensive not only to Catholics, but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse."

"CFC is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. It has no membership, and clearly does not speak for the faithful. It is funded by powerful private foundations to promote abortion as a method of population control," Cardinal Dolan said.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference said the campaign to restore tax funds for abortions "woefully misrepresents the noble Catholic social justice tradition."

The campaign "disregards the need to defend vulnerable human life in all its stages – a principle at the core of authentic social justice," said the statement by the conference, the public policy arm of Minnesota’s bishops.

Years ago, the U.S. bishops said the group, formerly called Catholics for a Free Choice, had "no affiliation, formal or otherwise, with the Catholic Church."

CFC said its "Abortion in Good Faith" campaign was a multiyear effort to overturn the federal Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for virtually all Medicaid abortions.

In its statement, the Minnesota Catholic Conference said, "If there is a desire to help a woman in need who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, the solution as a society is to get her the resources and support she needs to care for her child – not help her dispose of it."

Pro-life lawyer Helen Alvare, co-founder of Women Speak for Themselves, said she "has decades of experience" with Catholics for Choice’s "attempts to be provocative in order to attract free media."

The group is "therefore often seen in the media, yet (is) not much of a factor in the pro-life debate on the ground," she said in a statement sent by email to Catholic News Service Sept. 13.

"Unlike the Catholic Church and other pro-life activists," she added, Catholics for Choice "provides no help for pregnant women or post-aborted women or children."


Catholic News Service contributed to this report.

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