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Fr. Frank Pavone responds to Catholics for Choice

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Catholics for Choice, an organization that is in no way Catholic and is certainly not sanctioned by the Catholic Church, has taken offense at my recent opinion piece in The Hill that concerned one of the briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court's Louisiana abortion case June Medical Services vs. Russo.

The pro-abortion group said I attacked the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. While the medical group's unfailing abortion advocacy certainly leaves it open for attack, what I did was highlight an amicus brief filed by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That group, which broke away from ACOG over the abortion issue, has asked the Supreme Court a very valid question: Can a group that opposes every single law aimed at making abortion safer for women continue to be regarded by courts as an impartial observer on the issue?

Citing the Catholic Catechism, Sarah Hutchinson Ratcliffe, the acting president of the lapsed Catholics who worship abortion, says I am flouting a core teaching regarding freedom of conscience, which she interprets to mean that Catholics are free to make up their own minds about abortion.

As in what? "Make up their own minds" regarding whether abortion tears a living child apart limb from limb? In that case, your argument would be with the abortionists themselves, who describe dismemberment quite well. (See Warren Hern's book Abortion Practice.)

As in what? "Make up their own minds" whether killing a child conforms with the Church's teachings about how followers of Jesus Christ are to live? Again, your argument wouldn't be with me.

Let's see what the Catechism states:

"Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions," it says in section 1782.

But then, the very next paragraph (1783) further explains: "Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings."

So, no, the Catechism does not allow for individuals to justify abortion, any more than we can justify any other type of violence. "According to reason" are three key words here -- reason that reveals to us that abortion is killing and killing is wrong.

When these pro-abortion lapsed Catholics showed up at the Supreme Court the day oral arguments were heard in the Louisiana case, they were brandishing signs that said something like "Abortion access is a Catholic value."

Want to think that way? Go right ahead. Just have the honesty to describe abortion like the abortion doctors do, using the words "dismemberment" and "decapitation" and taking the skull out piece by piece. I'm sure grassroots Catholics will resonate with that very well as a value.

Ms. Ratcliffe also said I am not supported by many of my brothers in the Catholic hierarchy. She misses the fact, of course, that I have very strong support from popes and many cardinals and bishops, as well as many others. As for some of the rest, why would I want the support of those who are Democrat loyalists, or cowards about ending abortion?

But speaking of not being supported by bishops, let's revisit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' statements on Catholics for Choice.

In 2016, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, then the head of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, commented on full-page ads that "Catholics for Choice" placed in newspapers in multiple cities, calling for taxpayer funding of abortion.

Cardinal Dolan said "the use of the name 'Catholic' as a platform to promote the taking of innocent human life is offensive."

In 2000, the USCCB also spoke out against Catholics for Free Choice, as the group then called itself.

The bishops declared, "On a number of occasions the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) has stated publicly that CFFC is not a Catholic organization, does not speak for the Catholic Church, and in fact promotes positions contrary to the teaching of the Church as articulated by the Holy See and the NCCB," the statement read..

"CFFC is, practically speaking, an arm of the abortion lobby in the United States and throughout the world. It is an advocacy group dedicated to supporting abortion. It is funded by a number of powerful and wealthy private foundations, mostly American, to promote abortion as a method of population control."

Ratcliffe's op-ed must have run out of space to include those quotes part. But of course, they don't matter to her, because the opinion of bishops only counts when they criticize prolife groups like mine, not when they admonish pro-abortion groups like hers. I'd be glad to see the list of popes, cardinals and bishops who have praised her work, and put it side by side with those who have praised mine.

In her criticism of me and of the states that have banned abortion during our current viral pandemic, Ms. Ratcliffe further asserts that "Medical professionals across the country are on the front lines of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, putting their own health and well-being at risk every single day."

That's true, actual medical professionals are putting themselves at great risk. But abortionists in states where the killing of the unborn is considered "essential" are putting their patients, their staffs and anyone who comes into contacts with these two groups at risk. They are not doing it for the greater good, or even to help their patients.

Particularly those very quiet and small ones, who certainly don't share Ratcliffe's interpretation of "Catholic values."

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