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What do we know about Catholics United for Life and New Hope’s St. Martin de Porres Community, which was called a “cult” by a California news outlet?

NBC’s news story about the suits was shared on social media by the law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, which has positioned itself as a premier filer of sex abuse lawsuits against religious entities. It was not immediately clear whether attorneys for the Minnesota-based Anderson & Associates filed the lawsuits in question.

What is Catholics United for Life?

Catholics United for Life (CUFL) is a ministry of the St. Martin de Porres Lay Dominican Community, which is part of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic’s Eastern Province. Reached by phone, a representative of New Hope Publications, the Dominican community’s main ministry, agreed to pass CNA’s comment request to the appropriate person, but the call was not returned by press time. 

According to the group’s website, CUFL’s main objective is to “support the Catholic Church in its mission to restore the moral principles of the natural law and divine revelation, focusing in a special way on the right to life for all human persons and on the integral part that sexual morality plays in life issues.” CUFL has 13 affiliate groups throughout the United States that offer alternatives to abortion and provide educational services, the website says. 

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CUFL’s most recent tax filing, from 2021, shows that the organization is headquartered in New Hope, Kentucky, a small town about an hour south of Louisville and 20 minutes south of Bardstown. The group took in about $74,000 in contributions that year, the filings show. 

CUFL puts on an annual youth conference called Ignite Your Torch. The website for the conference says that it is a “high school Catholic youth conference in which ‘on fire’ young priests and religious seek to ignite the faith of teens through engaging talks, small-group discussions, and workshops as well as personal interaction at recreation, meals, and just hanging out.”

Ignite Your Torch is “eucharistic-centered, devoted to our Blessed Mother, catechetical in nature, and teaches youth practical ways to build up the culture of life,” the website states. The conference is “an opportunity to make new friendships in Christ, to receive the sacraments, to meet and talk to young priests and religious, and to worship, pray, learn, and recreate together.”

banner currently displaying on the Ignite Your Torch website states that “because of circumstances beyond our control,” the conference, originally scheduled for July, had been canceled and that “anyone who already paid their registration fees will be fully refunded.” (The banner has appeared on the website since at least March, long before NBC Bay Area’s story was published.)

Catholics United for Life is not to be confused with Americans United for Life, a national pro-life organization based in Washington, D.C.

The Archdiocese of Louisville listed Catholics United for Life in its official directory as recently as June; the listing has since been removed. The Archdiocese of Louisville did not respond to CNA’s request for further information.

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