A court in Brazil has forbidden a pro-abortion group from using the word “Catholic” in its name because its aims are “incompatible” with Catholic values.
Judge José Carlos Ferreira Alves of the São Paulo State court ruled that Catholics for the Right to Decide (CDD) must change their name because “[b]y advocating the right to decide for abortion, which the Church clearly and severely condemns, there’s a clear distortion and incompatibility of the adopted name and the association’s goals and concrete action, which directly violate moral and good customs, in addition to hurting the common good and the public interest.”
He gave the group 15 days to change its name before it faces fines of $175 a day.
The lawsuit was filed by the Don Bosco Centre, which argued that the group’s use of the word “Catholic” was fraudulent as it advocates a position contrary to Catholic teaching. Judge Ferreira agreed, saying the group represents a “public, notorious, total and absolute incompatibility with the values” of the “Catholic Church in a general and universal way.”
He also said that his ruling did not compromise freedom of speech as the association may still “defend its values and ideas (including abortion) as it deems appropriate, provided that it uses a consistent name, without presenting itself to society under the name of another institution that publicly and conspicuously adopts opposite values.”
CDD has said it only learned of the decision through the press, and will “take the appropriate measures after receiving the court order.”
The group was founded in 1993 as an offshoot of the US-based Catholics for Choice.