The Catholic Church is well-known for its strong pro-life principles, but some who claim to be its followers are trying desperately to erode them.
John O’Brien is a self-described Catholic and the president of Catholics for Choice, a pro-abortion group that is not affiliated with the Catholic Church. He says it’s a “huge mistake” for people to think that Catholics should be pro-life.
In an interview with Buzz Feed News, O’Brien claims support for his pro-abortion position among Catholics and makes a case for why the church should change its position on abortion.
He tells the news blog:
At the heart of Catholic teachings, he said, was a “deep regard for following your personal conscience.”
“Catholics have a long history of great social justice traditions and our religion has a perspective that allows people to be able to make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” O’Brien said, “but the church’s hierarchy is considerably invested in making sure people don’t have choices.”
“The leaders are very against abortion but what you find is that Catholics themselves have very different views than the Catholic hierarchy, and use contraception and have abortions at the very same rate as other religions or people with no religion. Ninety-nine per cent of sexually active Catholic women use a form of contraception that the church doesn’t agree with.”
Even if his statistics are correct, O’Brien’s logic is flawed. An action is not right or wrong based on the number of people who do it or support it. If 100 percent of Catholics have lied at some point in their lives, it does not mean that telling a lie is morally right or good.
He also blames Catholic Church leaders for restricting women’s “choices,” meaning abortion; but based on scientific facts about the beginning of life, the leaders are doing the opposite. By opposing abortion, the Catholic Church is ensuring that all human beings, both inside and outside of the womb, have the ability to make choices about their own lives.
Moreover, some choices are wrong. People also can choose to lie or commit adultery or steal. Should the Catholic Church also change its position on those issues so that people can follow their “personal conscience,” as O’Brien argues? The Catholic Church prohibits the “choice” of abortion because an abortion kills an innocent human being. Christian faiths teach that human beings are unique individuals created in the image of God, and their lives are valuable.
Pope Francis and other church leaders regularly call for an end to abortions, increased protections for unborn babies and support for their moms.
In a speech to the nation’s Catholic bishops in 2015, Pope Francis encouraged them to remain vigilant in their opposition to abortion, and he listed unborn children among the innocent people who the bishops must keep at the top of the priority list.
“It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent,” Pope Francis said. “… the innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters.”