[From Voices, Spring 1999]
for Faith & Family
on CFFC's Demands on Vatican's UN Status
In March 1999, seventy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) led by Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) called on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to "review" the Vatican's permanent observer status because of the Church's opposition to abortion and artificial contraception as promoted in UN population conferences. Permanent observer status gives the Vatican voice but no vote at UN proceedings.
Said Frances Kissling of CFFC:
Why should an entity that is in essence 100 square acres of office space and tourist attractions in the middle of Rome with a citizenry that excludes women and children have a place at the table where governments set policies affecting the very survival of women and children? Vatican positions have had the effect of increasing the suffering of the world's poorest nations.
Vatican "blocks consensus" at UN
Other population-control-axis NGOs complained that Vatican has been effective in blocking consensus at several recent conferences including the Rio de Janeiro environment conference (1992), the Cairo population conference (1994) and the Beijing women's conference (1995).
The US bishops had unsuccessfully attempted to have the name "Catholic" removed from the title of Kissling's organization, which exists solely to oppose Catholic teaching on key life issues. In November 1993 the bishops formally stated that CFFC had no affiliation whatever with the Catholic Church.
WFF: "CFFC fradulent"
Catholic organizations in the US, were quick to respond to the outrageous demands by the Kissling axis.
WFF's letter asked the UN to revoke the NGO status of CFFC, "for the sake of the integrity of the United Nations itself".
The WFF letter said, in part,
We object in the strongest possible terms to the UN's granting NGO status to Frances Kissling's fraudulent organization Catholics for a Free Choice. We have been angry for some years, not only with CFFC, but also with the UN for turning a blind eye to the dishonesty of CFFC's claims.
WFF's letter also noted that "Ms. Kissling has come in for stinging criticism from less likely sources", including Jennifer Bradley in her February 27, 1995 "Choice Words" column in the liberal monthly, The New Republic:
One leaves her [Kissling's] office a little exhausted after listening to her pile idea upon anecdote upon theological twist. But after the buzz wears off it is hard not to conclude that her intelligence and zeal don't fill the gaps in her logic. She's sincere, she's smart, but in her arguments for pro-choice Catholicism she's not convincing.
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