September 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since the launch of self-professed “practicing Catholic” Melinda Gates’ $4 billion global campaign to deliver abortion-inducing contraceptives to up to 120 million women worldwide, major media outlets have noted her open defiance of Catholic teaching on sexual morality.
“Melinda Gates Takes on the Vatican,” blared one British newspaper in July. “Melinda Gates challenges Vatican,” said another. LifeSiteNews’ own characterization of the campaign, a “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality,” was quoted by CNN, Time, and other major periodicals both in the United States and abroad.
However, despite Gates’ very public and aggressive international effort to distribute unhealthy drugs that violate Catholic sexual morality and even kill the unborn, Catholic Church officials have been virtually silent on the matter with not a public word coming from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or even Gates’ own bishop.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales were also mute in the face of Gates’ “Family Planning Summit,” held in their country, which generated over four billion dollars for her campaign.
According to American Life League President Judie Brown, she has contacted Gates’ Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain several times regarding Gates’ activities, and has never received an answer, nor even an acknowledgment of her correspondence.
CNN has tried to get the Catholic side of the story as well, but was met with silence. “As far as the broader Catholic church stance on the Gates program, CNN requested a comment from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but did not get a response,” wrote the news agency at the launch of the campaign.
The only official statement to come out on the matter thus far has had to come from the Vatican. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano criticized Gates as having an “unfounded and second-rate understanding” of Catholic teaching on contraception. Moreover, Gates was accused of “disinformation, presenting things in a false manner” to the detriment of the poor in the developing world.
Even the Vatican response however, was not issued by an Bishop, nor did it mention the moral implications of contraception, or suggest a sanction of Gates’ privileges as a Catholic.
The only US prelate who has spoken even tangentially about the campaign is Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, in a statement that apparently sought to address the alleged endorsement of Gates’ campaign by the nuns of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas, a school within the boundaries of his diocese.
Referring only to “recent news events,” without naming Gates or the nuns, Farrell noted that “Human sexuality and sexual expression in marriage are among God’s greatest gifts” and that “Artificial contraception violates the meaning of this gift.”
However, the statement made by Farrell has now disappeared from its original web page, and Google’s database has no record of it being posted anywhere else on the site.
Some priests, and many lay Catholics, have raised their voices against the campaign, most notably Human Life International, led by Fr. Shenan Boquet, and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a lay organization specializing in international law and institutions, led by Austin Ruse.
Human Life International has created a web page and a powerful video presentation to combat the errors, while C-FAM has given interviews and has written its own refutations of Gates’ propaganda. Several Catholic media outlets, such as the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report, and Britain’s Catholic Herald have also sounded off against Gates’ cynical campaign.
Meanwhile, the Church’s hierarchy remains virtually speechless, and Gates’ claim to be a pro-contraception “Catholic” stands unchallenged by ecclesiastical authority.
The USCCB in retreat?
Where are the Church’s leaders, the bishops, in this moment of crisis? Archbishop Dolan, President of the USCCB, only recently admitted that the hierarchy “forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day,” by failing to communicate the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control to the faithful in recent decades.
Pope Paul VI’s condemnation of contraception in 1968, “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first-person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa. We’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle’,” said Dolan in early April.
“We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality,” he added.
However, Dolan’s office at the USCCB is now sitting on its hands as a self-identified Catholic launches the largest, most expensive campaign in the history of the world to bring abortifacient contraceptive drugs, with dangerous side effects, to millions of impoverished women worldwide.
Skeletons in the closet? The USCCB’s international aid agency receives millions from Gates
Although the USCCB has shown great signs of improvement of late on matters related to human life and family, it may have reasons for staying silent about Melinda Gates’ contraceptive campaign.
The USCCB’s international aid agency, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), receives tens of millions of dollars from the Gates Foundation itself, and repeats the organization’s claim that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value,” adding that “the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.”
CRS’ relationship with the Gates Foundation creates an obvious conflict of interest. Moreover, as LifeSiteNews.com has reported recently, CRS itself has been involved in the promotion of birth control, and has donated millions of dollars to a contraceptive-distributing organization known as CARE.
These unsavory relationships would likely be embarrassing to the bishops if they were to speak forcefully and clearly against Gates’ horrendous campaign.
The responsibility for this sad situation, however, lies not only with the bishops, but also with the laity, who often fail to encourage the hierarchy to remain firm under pressure. The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church, however, establishes the right and even the duty of laymen to make their minds known to their prelates. Perhaps the bishops are only in need of some support from the faithful.
Pope Benedict XVI
Msgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
Fax: (011 or other code for international calls) 39-06-69-88-34-09
E-mail: [email protected]
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington DC 20017
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
Archdiocese of Seattle
710 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104