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It is Time to Start Answering the Questions about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

By Matt Smith

On February 2, 2010 Catholic Advocate reported to our community about the latest research into grant recipients of the USCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) program.

The issue we, along with others, are raising is simple. Money donated by an “official” entity of the Church should not be used to work against the teachings of the Church.

When will the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stop diverting attention from the issue and begin to answer the questions at hand?

As of February 2010, research conducted by American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) has revealed USCCB CCHD money being granted to 18 organizations supporting pro-abortion and/or same-sex marriage policies and advocacy, and an additional 31 organizations that should be investigated. The organizations are separated into three sections: A) Groups Recently Defunded by CCHD; B) Groups Recommended for Defunding by CCHD; and C) Groups Recommended for Independent Investigation.

The Reform CCHD Now Coalition believes the evidence demonstrates the CCHD grant approval process is flawed and errantly diverting funds from its original intent to groups supporting policies in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Coalition has called for an independent review followed by reform, transparency, and improved stewardship of the money donated to the CCHD program.

Why should this matter to the faithful American Catholics in the pews on Sunday?

Catholic Advocate has been consistent with comments that the CCHD program is a well-intentioned effort in need of redirection. The CCHD grant program is funded by one of the thirteen “National Collections” facilitated each year by Dioceses for the USCCB. For some, it is an extra envelope in which to place a contribution, and in other parishes it might be the ushers passing around the baskets a second time.

CCHD donations range from $7 – $9 million each year which means, with 18,280 parishes in the U.S., the average parish contribution ranges from $382 – $492 each year.

The pro-abortion and same-sex marriage Chinese Progressive Association, one of only two organizations the USCCB has defunded, received a $25,000 grant in 2008 which amounts to the contributions of 65 parishes. Another organization, the Southwest Organizing Project in Illinois promotes abortifacient birth control and has yet to be investigated or defunded. They received $80,000 over the past two years which amounts to the contributions of 104 parishes.

The basic fact that ANY money is going to groups working against the teachings of the Church should be a source of concern. To date, solid evidence has shown $2,306,500 in grants has gone to groups advocating for issues contrary to the teachings of the Church. This represents the annual contributions of almost 6037 parishes – or nearly 1/3 of Catholic parishes in the United States.

Following ALL and BVM revealing information about the CCHD grant program, questions have been raised about participation by USCCB officials on the board of an organization where member groups received grants. This same umbrella group is involved with, among other activities, the America Votes project which is in clear violation of the USCCB’s own CCHD Policies.

Instead of answering the questions about their work on the board or knowledge of these groups and their activities, the USCCB staff and two bishops circled the wagons around one individual. They declared these questions were personal attacks and defended his support for Church teachings. No one, at any point, has questioned this individual’s dedication to the Church. In fact, ALL’s report goes out of its way to not question individual pro-life beliefs.

Additionally, it has been claimed the researchers should have met with USCCB staff to discuss their findings. Unfortunately, this is another falsehood, since meetings with members of the Reform CCHD Now coalition were either declined or canceled by USCCB staff.

In the course of defending their colleague against mythical personal attacks, the surrogates for these officials have now, in turn, done the very thing they condemned by attacking my colleague Deal Hudson. Nothing Deal Hudson has written attacked the convictions of USCCB staff. However, they have chosen to engage in a merciless attack of their own. I have known Deal Hudson for over 10 years. I have witnessed firsthand his strength as a husband and father. We are all human and make mistakes. He made one nearly 16 years ago, sought redemption, and I know the pain it caused is something he regrets. The USCCB surrogates are not attacking a side of a debate – they are attacking a family.

The surrogates, coming to the defense of the USCCB, have also labeled those raising these questions as “conservative,” “right-wing,” “Republican” Catholics. So, following the logic of these surrogates makes supporting the sanctity of life or working to preserve marriage as a union between one man and one woman (both non-negotiable teachings of the church) now something they are going to attempt to tag with political labels.

It is one thing to question the work of individuals or how an entity distributes funds, it is another to support surrogates making personal attacks. If the USCCB is truly non-partisan and believes both sides should be engaging in a civil debate on this issue, then they should immediately and publicly condemn these divisive political labels and the truly personal attacks on Deal Hudson.

What have we asked our bishops to consider?

  1. Suspend CCHD grants.
  2. Conduct an independent audit and review of all the organizations that have received CCHD grants during the past ten years to ensure programs, support for public policies, and affiliations are consistent with the teachings of the Church.
  3. Develop and publicly distribute new policy guidelines to Diocesan offices for the vetting and approval of CCHD grant proposals.
  4. Review the participation by USCCB staff in outside organizations and develop a conflict of interest policy that prevents such participation from supporting groups that work against the teachings of the Church.

Perpetuating perceived personal attacks and the five public attacks by USCCB surrogates against Deal Hudson are a distraction that needs to stop. It is time the USCCB and the CCHD start addressing the issues raised by ALL and BVM research. We should begin working together to prevent money donated by hard working Catholics to be  used against teachings of the Church.

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18 Responses to It is Time to Start Answering the Questions about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

  1. Therese Wildman says:

    Dear Bishops,

    Are you listening? What is going on? Who can we trust to lead in ways faithful to the Magisterium? No more money until we get some answers.

  2. Gabriel Austin says:

    One wonders whether the bishops are deaf. Do they not realize that they have lost credibility with the sex scandals? The way the Catholic system works is that each bishop individually is responsible – open to sin – for his diocese. If he is told that a dime goes to an organization that is connected with abortion or the other sexual sins and does nothing about it, he personally becomes complicit in the sin.
    That some bishops choose to attack the questioners demonstrates that there is a problem among our bishops. [One should pay no attention to the bureaucratic employees of the USCCB; they have no warrant to speak for the bishops. The episcopacy is not a secular corporation. The responsibility cannot be delegated. Cardinal George is not a Vice-Pope].
    When a reproof is offered to a Catholic, and especially a member of the clergy, that reproof is meant to be acknowledged humbly and gratefully. We have seen enough of the bishops and archbishops and cardinals who insult their flocks with epithets . They have failed us and failed miserably. It is time for repentance.

  3. Eddie Audler says:

    It seems to me that the USCCB is a liberal organization, and it will work for the advancement of its liberal agenda, church teaching be damned.

  4. Candida says:

    Though this is fairly grim reading, I can’t help but be thankful for the openness seen here. In too many Christian churches, questions like these are never addressed.

  5. DH says:

    I too am withholding giving any funds, of any kind, to my diocese until the Bishops deal with this awful situation.

  6. Adrienne says:

    The church, simply by using the words “social justice and economic justice” shows that it is complicit in some of the “progressive ideology” that has been churning during this century. I hear social and economic justice and cringe.

    We need to support people and programs which will help people exercise their free will. We have been seeing the economic poverty and trying to address it for ?? years. My whole life! Is the problem not the corrupt goverments and officials that steal the large portions aid we provide before it even reaches those who could use it? We still send funds to the “starving children in China” that my mother reminded me existed every time we sat down for dinner. Until a government that quite literally can hold a gun to the head of its citizens is disbanded there can never be economic or social justice.

    I know that the church is not a political organization. But any aid that assists corrupt governments to continue their perpetual hold over the poor and disadvantaged, even if the goal of that aid is the temporary aid of those individuals, is evil.

  7. Patricia L Cook says:

    Although the request to the bishops to reform the process used to give grants to organizations outside the scope of authority of the Catholic Church sounds mild, I can understand the knee jerk response of feeling their own authority is challenged by those who don’t have the authority to determine such details. The only answer I can come up with is why should the Catholic Church be going outside the Catholic Church organizations fo give money?? It is obvious that once we give money to another organization that the Church cannot exercise the control needed to see the funds are spent appropriately. Material relief must always remain the fundamental concern of the laity on a local level. Give the money to the parishes, not to large organizations who have mulltiple agendas on how this money is spent. However, I am intending to withhold any personal donations to the UCCB until this overall issue is addressed.

  8. Patricia L Cook says:

    Although the request to the bishops to reform the process used to give grants to organizations outside the scope of authority of the Catholic Church sounds mild, I can understand the knee jerk response of feeling their own authority is challenged by those who don’t have the authority to determine such details. The only answer I can come up with is why should the Catholic Church be going outside the Catholic Church organizations fo give money?? It is obvious that once we give money to another organization that the Church cannot exercise the control needed to see the funds are spent appropriately. Material relief must always remain the fundamental concern of the laity on a local level. Give the money to the parishes, not to large organizations who have mulltiple agendas on how this money is spent. However, I am intending to withhold any personal donations to the UCCB until this overall issue is addressed.

  9. joyce woodruff says:

    Please do not use donated money for groups that support abortion, homosexuality, or any other unbiblical practice. Thankyou

  10. Robert Garrett says:

    I am not giving to the USCCB any longer. We cannot trust you to take the bull by the horns and clean up the mess. It is really sad that the hierarchy of the church cannot see what is going on in their own organization or do they know and don’t care. You are the leaders of the Catholic Church in the U.S. how can you give our money to organizations who promote abortion, same sex marriage and homosexuality. God help us.

  11. Shirley Twining says:

    This is the reason that for YEARS we have given no money to the Archdiocese. Why? Because we have no idea where the money is going! We prefer to give to individual organizations for that reason, and do give a great deal. Our donations are given with a clear conscience in the sure and certain knowledge that no abortions, no anti-Catholic organizations, no organizations that are practically falling off the planet they are so left-wing, will be supported.

  12. Mrs. Patricia Detterich says:

    I think money given to a parish should stay at the parish. Why does our money have to be sent to other places and organizations? If money from the Sunday collection would go to fund the parish’s Catholic school, then maybe the Catholic schools would not have to close. Many Catholic schools have had to close. There is something terribly wrong with the way the collected money is spent. Yes! REFORM NOW! Until something is done, my money is going to buy rice and beans for the poor in my city.

  13. Al Wunsch says:

    I have not given to the Bishops’ fund for several years now because I do not know where that money is going and terms like “social justice, economic justice, human rights etc.” raise a red flag for me. Part of the problem we are having is that our organizations such as Catholic Charities get federal funding and that has, in effect, corrupted them. That is because of the strings attached to federal funds(especially now with the Obama administration). The CCB should use that money to replace federal funding and pull Catholic agencies back from participation with federal funds and grants that have strings attached that conflict with Church Teachings. The CCB will continue to lose funding support from the laity so long as it doesn’t clear up issues such as those associated with the CCHD. Soon the parishioners, not only will stop donations to the USCCB, it will begin to demand that their parish not donate either – an issue more complicated than this statement of course. (no, I haven’t heard of any suggestions regarding the parish assessment)

  14. Alyson D says:

    I presently home-school my daughter because I could no longer tolerate the way our local Catholic school promoted just the sort of mindset we are battling here in this forum. My son’s school had no time for the Rosary, but plenty of time to develop and promote a gay student society. My daughter’s school likewise had no time for the Rosary but endless time to study about the myth of global warming. So even when the parish collection STAYS in the community, it may still fuel “causes” that fly in the face of what we are actually supposed to be doing for our children and families. This is a battle of many fronts….

    • Geremia says:

      If others do not educate your children well, do it yourself; it is a parent’s primary duty as parent. I think this is the solution. Do you want to help feed homeless people? Invite them to your house and feed them yourself. Etc.

  15. Geremia says:

    RealCatholicTV.com has an excellent 90 minute episode on the CCHD and its ties to the Saul Alinsky, whose book Rules for Radicals contained a dedication page to “the first radical, Lucifer.” Saul Alinsky, the “grandfather of community organizing groups,” influenced many Catholic priests and even Obama, evidenced by his reference to Cardinal Bernardin in his Notre Dame commencement speech.

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