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Letters & Op-Eds - 2014


A New Kind of Church, Led by Pope Francis

Jon O'Brien

20 June 2014

To the Editor:

Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are sorely mistaken if they think that buying smaller houses and cars will alleviate the disappointment that many Catholics have in our leaders (“U.S. Bishops Seek to Match Vatican in Shifting Tone,” front page, June 13).

It’s true that Pope Francis has shifted attention toward the church’s teachings on social justice, but most Catholics were already on board with our mission to help the less well off, the sick and the elderly. Our bishops may have needed a reminder to put that back at the top of their agenda, but most Catholics did not.

What Catholics are seeking from our leaders is something different. We’d like more respect for the conscience-based decisions we make about our private lives — especially our reproductive lives — and for the choices we make about whom we love.

Catholics have abortions at the same rates as non-Catholics and use contraception at the same rate as non-Catholics. Catholic support for gay rights is also similar to if not greater than that of non-Catholics. Our bishops, having failed to convince us from the pulpit, are lobbying state and national legislatures to try to enforce their teachings on all Americans.

A shift away from our bishops’ use of the political process as a bully pulpit would be one that all Catholics would welcome.

JON O’BRIEN
President, Catholics for Choice
Washington, June 13, 2014

This letter was originally published by the New York Times.