LA CROSSE — Archbishop-designate Jerome E. Listecki rejected claims that members of Young Catholics for Choice can promote contraceptives and remain in good standing with the Catholic Church. In a Dec. 15 statement released by the Diocese of La Crosse, Archbishop-designate Listecki wrote, “It has come to my attention that an organization calling itself ‘Young Catholics for Choice’ has recently entered into collaboration with Family Planning Health Services of Wausau. Through media advertising, ‘Young Catholics for Choice’ is attempting to convey the message that Catholics can disregard Church teaching regarding contraception, abortion and human sexuality in general and remain Catholics in good standing.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, wrote the archbishop-designate, explaining it is his duty as a bishop to state that “by professing and disseminating views in grave contradiction to Catholic teaching, members of such groups “disown their Catholic heritage, tragically distancing themselves from that communion with the Church to which they are called.”

According to a Dec. 1 release from Family Planning Health Services (FPHS), Inc., in Wausau, Catholics for Choice (CFC) has begun collaborating with FPHS to provide information about emergency contraception. In the release, Lon Newman, executive director of Family Planning Health Services, said, “Our role in this partnership is to help patients come to an informed decision. The role of Young Catholics for Choice (YCFC) is to help members of our community come to a balanced understanding of these controversial issues from a faith-based perspective.”

One member of the group, Marissa Valeri, is quoted in the release saying, “Catholics disagree with the Vatican’s stance on birth control. We trust our own consciences more than the church hierarchy’s when we make decisions about family planning. This includes the use of emergency contraception – which is a vital part of ensuring that women, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, can decide when and whether to become pregnant.”

Members of the group have gone on local television and also have advocated for the “Plan B” contraceptive at a press conference.

Archbishop-designate Listecki concluded his statement saying, “We pray that they may reconcile their position which is contrary to the Catholic faith they claim to profess.”