CALGARY, Alberta, January 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After Free the Children founders Craig and Marc Kielburger came under fire in the summer for backing Planned Parenthood’s “reproductive rights” agenda, the brothers emphasized that while they are practicing Catholics they do not take a public position on abortion.

“We’ve never taken a stance on [abortion],” Craig told a crowd gathered at a Calgary Catholic parish in October, after he was questioned by local pro-life activists.

“We both attend Mass. We’re both Catholic. We’ve just personally chosen not to take a stance on that,” he told the Western Catholic Reporter.

The Kielburgers are identified as “proud members of the Catholic faith” in Free the Children’s promotional materials for Catholic schools.  The materials tout the fact that the two brothers were both raised in Ontario’s Catholic schools and that Free the Children was first founded in a Catholic school.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes abortion as an “abominable crime.”

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In July, LifeSiteNews reported that the Kielburgers had written a column in May 2011 slamming Canada’s federal government for defunding the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world’s largest abortion provider.

Cutting funds to the abortion giant represented “a paternalistic refusal to offer women in Africa the same rights offered to women in Canada,” they wrote.

At the same time, LifeSiteNews revealed that in 2010 Free the Children had produced two fact sheets promoting the inclusion of abortion in “family planning” efforts, and that they were distributing contraceptives through their health clinics in the Third World.

In response, Free the Children emphasized that they do not take a position on abortion, and said the fact sheets were written by an intern and posted to their site without being reviewed by the group’s leadership.  The documents (available here and here) were removed after LifeSiteNews made inquiries.

Regarding the Kielburgers’ column, Marc Kielburger told LifeSiteNews in October that it was written in light of the fact that IPPF’s funding requests were reportedly restricted to countries where abortion is illegal.

Graduates of Ontario’s Catholic schools, the Kielburger brothers have been featured speakers at Catholic conferences over many years and have long been lauded as role models for youth by Catholic schools and media.