Friday, February 23, 2007

Retirement of Frances Kissling, President of 'Catholic for a Free Choice'

Background briefing: worth especial note in C-Fam's report. (1) Pro-abortion organisations tend to be sustained by large donations from liberal Charitable Trusts in the US; in the UK it is more likely to be Government grants. By contrast, Pro-Life organisations tend to be sustained by a mass membership. (2) Kissling's organisation has been condemned repeatedly by the US Bishops' Conference. (3) Kissling's campaign to eject the Holy See from the United Nations has been a spectacular failure.

Comment: Overall, the attempt to claim that 'not all Catholics are pro-life' has made very little impact, despite the considerable resources brought to the project. CFFC is part of a network of groups (see the 'links' pages on their websites) advocating dissent from the teaching and discipline of the Church on matters of sexuality and the ordination of women, none of whom have gathered any noticeable support from Catholics in the pews.

From C-Fam: (By Samantha Singson) After 25 years as president of Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), long-time abortion advocate and one time abortion clinic owner Frances Kissling is stepping down from her post after failing to achieve her most important goals. Kissling has been an outspoken opponent of Catholic Church teachings on contraception, abortion, gay rights and stem cell research, but has failed to change any of them. By far her largest defeat was the effort to oust the Holy See from its status at the United Nations.

While publicly insisting that she is still a Catholic in good standing and painting CFFC as a Catholic organization, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has twice condemned the organization and in May 2000 issued a statement that CFFC does not speak with an “authentic Catholic voice” and that the group’s activity is directed to rejection and distortion of Catholic teaching about the respect and protection due to defenseless unborn human life."

Under Kissling’s tenure as president, CFFC became best known for the “See Change” campaign to challenge the sovereign diplomatic status of the Holy See at the United Nations. The “See Change” campaign was launched in 1999 to advocate that the Holy See be thrown out of its official “Observer” seat and downgraded to a non-government organization like CFFC.

Several years after its launch, the CFFC campaign has gathered only 650 groups that agree with the initiative. In contrast, in only four months a campaign in support of the Holy See gathered the names of more than 4,000 groups including the largest Protestant and Muslim groups in the world [the campaign was launched and led by C-FAM]. In that year the US Congress came within one vote of unanimously endorsing the Holy See at the United Nations.

The “See Change” campaign ended in final and complete failure two years ago when the General Assembly unanimously confirmed the status of the Holy See. Aside from endorsing the Holy See’s permanent observer status, the GA extended new privileges to facilitate increased participation in GA activities.

Under Kissling’s direction the organization has raised millions of dollars from American foundations eager to counter the influence of the Catholic Church in the debate on abortion. Included in her donors have been the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Packard Foundation, and the Buffet Foundation. Kissling has never been able to build a large grass roots base, however. And since the defeat of the “See Change” campaign, CFFC’s activities at the UN have dwindled.

According to a New York Times reporter Kissling is thinking about writing a book, and is building a house in Uruguay [Kissling’s salary has been more than $250,000 per year for many years]. She will be succeeded by her long time assistant Jon O’Brien.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen