Archbishop: ‘Catholic’ groups on ‘pro-choice’ ad not affiliated with church

Archbishop: ‘Catholic’ groups on ‘pro-choice’ ad not affiliated with church

In this Dec. 20, 2016, file photo, Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester speaks in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Credit: Russell Contreras/AP.)

In response to a paid advertisement from self-identified "pro-choice" Catholic organizations that was published in the Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said the signatories on the ad "are not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church in New Mexico."

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — In response to a paid advertisement from self-identified “pro-choice” Catholic organizations that was published in the Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said the signatories on the ad “are not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church in New Mexico.”

His comments came in a Jan. 23 news release from the archdiocese about the ad, which was titled “An Open Letter from New Mexico Faith Leaders ‘We Support a Woman’s Decision About Abortion'” and appeared in the Journal Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Wester said in his statement that the archdiocese and New Mexico’s two other dioceses, Gallup and Las Cruces, “adamantly uphold” church teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

He concluded by providing a list of schismatic churches and organizations in New Mexico that are not in communion with Rome.

“It is not licit for Catholics to attend Mass or receive sacraments at these churches,” Wester said. “In order to be Roman Catholic, a church must be in union with the Holy Father … and the local bishop of the diocese. The following churches do not accept the Holy Father or meet this criteria.”

Among the aberrant churches on the list are those whose names include “Apostolic Catholic,” “Independent Catholic, “Evangelical Catholic,” “Contemporary Catholic,” “Orthodox Catholic,” Liberal Catholic” or “Catholic Charismatic.” Some have saints’ names, like St. Michael’s and St. Peter’s. One calls itself the “Blessed Oscar Romero Catholic Community.”

Wester noted that the full list of noncompliant groups also could be found on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s website, www.archdiosf.org.

Also listed is the Catholics for Choice organization, which “seeks to shape and advance sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women’s well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives,” according to the group’s website.

Catholics for Choice is a group the U.S. bishops said years ago had “no affiliation, formal or otherwise, with the Catholic Church.”

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