Monthly Archives: February 2010

Planned Parenthood Rides the Coattails of the Tebow Super Bowl Ad

By Brenda Steele

Not to be outdone by the Focus on the Family Tebow pro-life ad to be aired during the Super Bowl Sunday night, PPFA is up to its old tricks. However, this time they’ve had the advantage of help from old friends, Frances Kissling from Catholics for Free Choice and Kate Michelman from NARAL.

The strategy they’re taking to combat the pro-life ad is not to criticize Pam Tebow for her decision not to abort her baby (Tim), but rather to applaud her for making a decision based on “choice” and what was right for her and her family. Thus, the “birth” of two videos has emerged, one features former pro football player, Sean James, and Olympic gold medalist, Al Joyner. This video has the pair espousing the merits of women having the benefit of freedom of choice about all decisions related to their “health” and “their future.” This was learned, of course, from the laps of their mothers who taught them to “respect women” and trust them to make “wise decisions.”

The second video, featuring Cecile Richards, president of PPFA, uses the same strategy as the other. There is no criticism, no finger pointing at Pam Tebow, but rather a celebration of her right to “choose” for herself “privately and without government interference” what was best for her.

Needless to say, as Douglas R. Scott, Jr., president of Life Decisions International, had to say, “The new tactics being employed by pro-abortion leaders is brilliant.”

Rather than joining in the debate about  the right to life, they, instead, cheer the “right to choose for all” as exhibited by Pam Tebow in her “choice” not to abort.

Of course, missing from these videos is the fact that by choosing abortion, one then is choosing death over life for another. No one has the “right” to make this “choice.” The sanctity of life is a constant and not to be categorized along with the other “choices” we may make in our day-to-day lives. Once a life is implanted in a woman’s womb, this child should receive the “respect” and “rights” due any other human being.

I trust the Americans who view these PPFA ads will know what’s missing.

FRONT ROYAL, Va., Feb. 5 Christian Newswire– For several weeks, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has been sitting on the sidelines while its cohorts attacked CBS Television for agreeing to air a pro-family commercial during the Super Bowl. It seems the hierarchy of the abortion-committing group did not want to come off looking as ridiculous and petty as their counterparts. Just in time, two former pro-abortion leaders, Frances Kissling of “Catholics” for a Free Choice and Kate Michelman of NARAL Pro-Choice America, have come to the rescue of the rarely silent PPFA.

Tim Tebow Pro-Life Ad Gets a Thumbs Up

By Brenda Steele

LifeNews.com reports on a Marist College poll showing that Americans support the airing of the Pam and Tim Tebow pro-life ad during Super Bowl XLIV by a margin of 2-1. This is good news. While Americans of all age groups were in favor of the ad, the biggest margin was evidenced in the 18-29 age group — 77 percent were in favor of the ad. Could there be better news?

There’s talk of another “surprise” Tebow mother and son ad to be aired prior to the start of the Super Bowl game. This ad is purported to be based on the “original” Focus on the Family ad submitted for acceptance but rejected by CBS. Come Sunday we’ll know for certain whether we’ll be graced by one or two pro-life ads aired during possibly the most viewed television event of the year. Regardless, this is clearly a “chalk one up” moment for all who believe in the sanctity of life.

Though the Marist College poll canvassed a relatively small group, 1003, it does indicate that the pro-life movement is gaining wide-spread support. That the youth of our nation understand and are advocates for the right to life for all says something very positive about the future and about the movement that will one day bring an end to the killing of innocent children.

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Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) – When CBS airs a Super Bowl commercial produced by Focus on the Family that honors Tim Tebow and his family for their pro-life convictions, the ad will have the support of a majority of Americans. By a 2-1 margin, a new Marist College poll finds strong support for the commercial.


The Super Bowl ad, and a second more revealing one that will air four times during the pre-game coverage, will focus on the story of Tim Tebow’s birth.

As most Americans know by now, Pam Tebow suffered from dysentery and entered into a coma during her pregnancy with Tim. She refused a doctor’s advice that she consider an abortion because of the medication she was receiving.


Tebow was born and he went on to take the Florida Gators to the national championship and win the Heisman Trophy.


The poll surveyed 1,003 Americans and asked: “A pro-life, pro-family commercial sponsored by the advocacy group Focus on the Family will air during the Super Bowl. It features a Heisman Trophy winner, Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother. Do you agree or disagree with the decision by CBS to air this commercial during the Super Bowl?”


Some 60 percent of Americans agreed with CBS’ decision to air the ad while just 30 percent said no and 10 percent were undecided.


Breaking News From CatholicVote.org

This just in from CatholicVoteAction.org! There are two things you should know:

First, Thomas Peters, The American Papist, who now blogs for CatholicVote.org will be on Hannity tonight discussing Henry Knox’s verbal attacks on Pope Benedict XVI.

Second, the president of CBS received a whopping big box filled with over 50,000 signatures in support of the Tim Tebow pro-life ad to appear during Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday.

Read more of what Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org has to say:

BREAKING: CatholicVoteAction.org blogger Thomas Peters will appear on Hannity on the FOX News Channel tonight at 9 PM EST. He will discuss the anti-Catholic attacks on Pope Benedict XVI made by Henry Knox, who serves on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. TUNE IN TONIGHT!]

Dear CatholicVote Member,

The President of CBS received a surprise at 9:53 a.m. yesterday.

A large Fed Ex box filled with nearly 500 pages of signatures from over 50,000 friends of CatholicVote arrived at the office of CBS President Leslie Moonves.

Enclosed in the package was a personal letter thanking CBS for standing firm and agreeing to air the ad produced by Focus on the Family featuring Florida football star Tim Tebow and his mother.

Bishops Conference Misses the Point on CCHD Issues

Catholic Advocate believes it is important to update the 75,000 members of our community on the activities of the past week in regard to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officials’ involvement with pro-abortion groups who received CCHD grants. CCHD grants are available to be distributed due to the generosity of parishes throughout the country holding a “national collection” the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. Therefore, it is important for American Catholics to be aware how their money is being spent and the extra-curricular activities of those in positions to influence grant recipients.

Monday, February 1, 2010

American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) released additional evidence regarding problems with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). The information was a continuation of issues raised in November regarding providing grants to groups that support activities in conflict with Church teachings.  Click here to read the full report.

New information revealed a senior member of the USCCB staff and a subordinate served as board members for the Center for Community Change (CCC), an organization along with 31 of its partners at the heart of the questions regarding CCHD grants.

Instead of responding to the questions raised by the two reports, USCCB official John Carr provided a Statement to Our Sunday Visitor.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Catholic Advocate leadership published two separate articles on the ALL and BVM reports along with a press release calling upon the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to suspend all grants until completing a thorough independent review of the award process. In addition, Catholic Advocate called on the Conference to examine the minutes of the CCC meetings during the period when USCCB staff were members of the board.

More Disturbing News about the CCHD

A Case of Cafeteria Catholicism at the Bishops’ Conference

Press Release: Bishops Must Immediately Suspend All Grants From Catholic Campaign for Human Development Program

Unfortunately, USSCB officials are missing the point regarding management questions of CCHD money by erroneously claiming the issues raised are personal attacks. If there are reasonable explanations for the questions raised in the ALL and BVM reports, then why are USCCB officials employing rhetorical deflection? And, in the spirit of transparency regarding the distribution of donations, why has neither the USCCB nor Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi responded to Catholic Advocate’s call for a review to “clear the air” about how CCHD donations are spent?

Below is the text of a USCCB Memo distributed on Tuesday:

Date:  February 2, 2010

To:      Diocesan Pro-Life Directors

State Catholic Conference Directors

From:  Tom Grenchik, Executive Director

Re:      American Life League report

Dear Director:

You may have read of the recent accusations by the American Life League against our friend and colleague, John Carr.  The American Life League charges that John Carr served on the board of a secular organization called “Center for Community Change” that now supports abortion and gay rights agendas.

I am happy to report to you that John Carr is staunchly pro-life, a partner in USCCB pro-life efforts and he worked diligently to keep abortion out of the many recent health care reform efforts.  Were it not for his efforts and those of others, our country would now be funding abortion and health plans that provide abortion, on a massive scale.  This would have been the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.  This challenge is far from over, and John remains steadfast in his effort to advocate for health care reform that protects human life.

John has replied to the ALL accusations with the following:

“Neither the American Life League nor the Bellermine Institute contacted me, CCHD or the Bishops Conference before making these accusations. If they had, they would have learned that I left the Board of the Center for Community Change February of 2005 and that I had no involvement in or knowledge of the actions alleged in the press release. My experience with CCC was that it focused on poverty, housing and immigration and had no involvement in issues involving abortion and homosexuality.  When I served, the Board never discussed or acted on any position involving these matters and if they had, I would have vigorously opposed any advocacy for access to abortion or gay marriage.  I have spent my personal and professional life defending human life and dignity and Catholic teaching, including current efforts to keep abortion funding out of health care reform.  I regret that once again the failure to contact me or CCHD has led to unfair allegations in attempts to undermine the essential work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.”

Thanks so much!

Tom

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bishops William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Roger P. Morin of Biloxi, Miss. speak to Catholic News Service echoing the personal attack talking points developed by USCCB staff. Even though, according to the Catholic News Service Website, “While created in 1920 by the bishops of the United States, CNS is editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops”, CNS only spoke to officials with the USCCB and not ALL or BVM.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ALL responded with an open letter to Mr. Grenchik. Catholic Advocate is reprinting the letter in its entirety to continue to inform our community about this important issue:

“The following letter was written in response to an e-mail dated February 2, 2010, sent to all diocesan pro-life office and state Catholic conference directors by Tom Grenchik, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat. We are responding publicly because we do not have access to Mr. Grenchik’s e-mail list.”

Dear Mr. Grenchik,

Your February 2 letter to diocesan pro-life and Catholic conference directors incorrectly claims we are accusing the executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of supporting abortion and the radical homosexual agenda.

There is no doubt that John Carr (who, as head of this department, has oversight of Catholic Campaign for Human Development) has spoken often about the need to defend the preborn; moreover, this is not the issue. As we have stated repeatedly, we are not calling into question John Carr’s pro-life convictions.

The issue is a serious lack of prudence displayed by the USCCB’s social justice arm in its dealings with organizations whose aims directly contradict Church teaching. We have provided carefully verified and detailed factual evidence to support this charge.

I tried to meet and speak with John Carr several months ago, when American Life League joined the Reform CCHD Now coalition, but he refused. Thus, his claim that we never contacted him is false.

I have reported on at least 50 CCHD grantees engaged in activities contrary to Church teaching—and which continue to receive CCHD funds. I disproved the CCHD’s claim that there is nothing wrong with the San Francisco Organizing Project by providing evidence that it helped to create and promote pro-abortion “health care” legislation, but the CCHD was silent. We reported on the 31 CCHD grantees partnered with the Center for Community Change, which embraces a radical pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda, but again, the CCHD was silent.

So, when we reported on John Carr’s chairmanship of the Board of Directors for the Center for Community Change, we suggested that the CCHD’s silence and apparent lack of response might be the result of his cozy relationship with this organization.

Our charge of serious imprudence was further validated by the following findings:

*  We released our report on the morning of February 1. At that time, we had verified that the CCC was endorsed on the CCHD’s web site, but later that same day, the reference to the CCC had mysteriously disappeared.

* Tom Chabolla, who worked under Carr at the CCHD until 2008, served on the CCC board while working for the CCHD.

* Ralph McCloud, the CCHD’s current director, spoke at a CCC-sponsored event that praised the election of Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history.

This is only a small piece of a much larger picture. The CCHD has a long history of funding and collaborating with organizations that promote abortion and the radical homosexual agenda, and this history continues to this day.

In fact, it recently came to our attention that John Carr will be presenting this weekend at the  USCCB-sponsored 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. There are several problems with this conference, but we will mention just a few here.

Diana Hayes is a professor of systematic theology at Georgetown University and noted speaker for Call to Action, the radical “Catholic” dissident group. Hayes is a radical homosexual activist who wrote a book espousing liberation theology, calls for women’s ordination and promotes same-sex “marriage.”

Mind you, these are not mere incidental associations; these speakers were invited by the USCCB as authorities to address our Church’s supposed defenders of the poor, and workers for peace and justice. Can anyone look at this speaker lineup and think that the USCCB is thinking clearly about Catholic social teaching? Why are those who represent openly anti-life and pro-homosexualist organizations treated as experts in the field of peace and justice by Catholics who should know better?

How many of our bishops know that these representatives of anti-Catholic organizations and philosophies are being treated—by the USCCB, no less—as experts on Catholic teaching?

Page 6 of the conference program book  provides a schedule for the Catholic Labor Network gathering.

John Carr is scheduled to join Paul Booth (a founder of the radical Students for a Democratic Society) in a panel discussion. Paul Booth’s wife is Heather Booth, who currently sits on the board of the Center for Community Change. Paul and Heather Booth founded the Midwest Academy, a training institute for left-wing community organizers.

Heather Booth is also a former consultant for the National Organization for Women and in 1965, organized a group called JANE, which helped young women obtain illegal abortions. More directly, Paul Booth joins his wife as a member of the host committee for the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Awards Gala. Currently, Paul Booth is executive assistant to the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The AFSCME endorsed the pro-abortion March for Freedom of Choice, held in Washington, D.C. in 2004.

Also presenting at the Catholic Labor Network gathering is Father Thomas Reese, SJ, who resigned as editor of America magazine, reportedly under pressure by the Vatican, for his refusal to stop publishing articles that questioned Church teachings on issues such as contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, homosexual priests,  mandatory clerical celibacy and whether pro-abortion “Catholic”  politicians should be given Holy Communion.

As Catholics, we are hurt, we are scandalized and we are horrified that the USCCB continues to cavort with the enemies of the body of Christ, even to the point of inviting them to speak as authorities on the Catholic view of social justice, which they most certainly are not. The primary purpose of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls, not to “develop economic strength and political power” as professed in the CCHD’s mission statement.

We have simply presented the facts about CCHD funding for these radical organizations; yet other than defunding a very few organizations, the CCHD has thus far refused to take appropriate action and, so far, John Carr has refused to speak with us.

Again, our report is not about his pro-life credentials, but about his and others’ continued cooperation with those who openly oppose the Church and undermine her moral authority.

We ask you with all due respect to stop misrepresenting our claims and ignoring the thrust of our reports by recasting them as a personal attack on John Carr. Both honesty and charity require you set the record straight with the directors of state Catholic conferences and diocesan pro-life offices.

Michael Hichborn

Lead researcher on the CCHD

American Life League

Catholic Advocate will continue to monitor any further developments and provide our community with timely information about this important issue.

The Year That Changed My Life – Brian Rooney

The Year That Changed My Life

By Brian Rooney

The Lord works in mysterious ways. At the time, life was going pretty well. The Pittsburgh Steelers had just won the Super Bowl, my older brother had just been elected to Congress, and my wife and I were happily expecting our third child.

We did know, however, that our son, Blaise, had a congenital heart defect before he was born.  At the time, we understood that we were going to be able to take Blaise home after he was born for some time before he was to undergo the surgery to repair his heart.

Needless to say, our lives were uncertain. Before Blaise’s surgery and recovery were to take place, we were considering moving back to Florida to be with our families, after residing in Michigan for three years.  Furthermore, after serving my country as a Marine officer in Iraq, I was contemplating a shift from fighting for my fellow citizens on the battlefield and in the courtroom, to fighting for them in Washington. My brother, Tom, was encouraging me to come “home” and run for office in Florida.  God, on the other hand, had different plans.

Blaise was born premature at 34 weeks on February 6, 2009. The doctors found unexpected complications, which required immediate surgery. Our lives, as we had known them, were over. We spent the first three months of Blaise’s life at his hospital bedside praying for the best.

In all, there were two open-heart surgeries, two brain surgeries (numerous brain procedures), uncontrollable seizures, a cardiac arrest, and a stomach surgery.  Any previous talk of moving away and a possible run for office were over.  We were determined to make sure that Blaise got the best possible care he needed provided to him right here in Michigan.

We had always loved Michigan, and through this difficult time, Michigan proved to be our real home.  Our community rallied around us. Friends and coworkers helped watch our other two children, brought over food, and helped with our dogs.  I was allowed to work from the hospital. Our priest and nuns were always there when we, at times, were on the precipice of utter, crushing despair. The other families in the 15-bed ICU supported one another. The doctors, nurses, specialists, and support staff were all truly amazing—many remain close friends to this day.

In the background, the health care debate was raging in the country. As Blaise improved, I became upset with the prospect of the government taking over health care. The eventuality of rationed care could destroy the specialized care that saved Blaise’s life, as well as other children’s lives.

Families all over the world come to Michigan to save their children’s lives. Congressman Mark Schauer kept talking about refocusing on preventative care. There is no preventative care for congenital heart defects other than termination. One in a hundred children are born with a congenital heart defect. I knew this man was ignorant to the potential disaster he and his colleagues were about to cause by their all encompassing reform.

On your way in and out of the University Hospital there are pictured banners of patients that read, “We are Michigan.”  I’ll never forget when I told my wife during this crucible, “You know—‘we’ are Michigan.”  My wife and I cried for the thousandth time. We both knew we were staying in Michigan because we wanted to raise our children here in this giving, helpful, and loving community.

As Blaise got better, my brother Tom started encouraging me to run for Congress again.  I told him I would—here—in MY family’s home of Michigan.

More Disturbing News about the CCHD

By Deal Hudson

More startling evidence has been unearthed about the Catholic Campaign for Human development that shows a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups that advocate abortion and same-sex marriage.

Two reports, released yesterday by the American Life League (ALL) andBellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM), reveal that the Center for Community Change(CCC), an organization recommended for support by the USCCB, has consistently taken positions opposed to the bishops’ teachings on abortion, marriage, contraception, and sexuality.

Our bishops tell us to “lend our support” to CCC. Here is only a partial list of what these reports have revealed about the Center for Community Change:

1. CCC’s executive director, Deepak Bhargava, states that they are fighting for “lifting restrictions on women’s access to health services.” (Bhargava was also a featured speaker hosted by the USCCB at a three-day conference.)

2. CCC joined the “Stop Stupak” coalition through its “Campaign for Community Change” arm, explaining, “Of course, no issue is more critical to women’s economic opportunity than the ability to choose when and under what personal circumstances to raise children.”

3. CCC is a member of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR). NCIWR requires all members to sign an agreement supporting, among other things, “Reproductive health care coverage financed through public funds provided to all immigrant women regardless of legal and economic status,” as well as “equitable access to confidential and non-coercive family planning services and contraceptive equity.

4. Sean Thomas-Brietfield, Director of CCC’s Taproots Project, wrote an article promoting consensual “polyamory,” or “relationships where there is no expectation of fidelity.”

5. CCC developed leaders for same-sex marriage advocacy and homosexual activists through its Generation Change program. In 2008, CCC received a $50,000 grant for leadership training from one of the chief funders of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) causes, the Gill Foundation.

6. Ralph McCloud, the current Director of the CCHD, participated in a December 2008 event cosponsored by CCC and the Gamaliel Foundation, “Realizing the Promise Forum,” celebrating the election of Barack Obama. McCloud is reported to have proclaimed, “Very soon we will see a New Jerusalem.” The conference video suggests the CCC is engaged in “partisan political activity” in violation of the CCHD grant guidelines.

This is the second round of incriminating evidence presented by ALL and BVM about the CCC. Three months ago, they issued press release and supporting research regarding 31 CCHD grantees with a relationship to CCC — all of which was ignored by the USCCB.

As ALL’s Michael Hichborn points out, these reports have “revealed no less than fifty organizations (one fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) that are, in some capacity, engaged in pro-abortion or pro-homosexual causes (www.all.org/cchd). The sad thing, however, is that these recent revelations manifest a pattern of cooperation stretching back for decades.”

These latest findings make it impossible for the USCCB not to sever its ties with the CCC. However, the situation is made more difficult by the news that John Carr — who oversees the CCHD as the USCCB’s Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development — served on the CCC board from 1999 to 2006 and on its executive committee from 1999 to 2001. Carr was hired by the USCCB in 1987, but his involvement with the CCC goes back to 1983.

ALL research shows that in 2000, while Carr served on its executive committee, CCC itself received a $150,000 grant from the USCCB. Carr’s resume at the USCCB Web site does not mention his service at the CCC, while other published versions of his resume do.

As Hichborn comments, “The omission is odd and, given the new information, quite suspicious.” Hichborn also thinks the “cozy relationship” between Carr and the CCC may be the reason the USCCB did not respond to the troublesome findings published last November. The ties between CCC and the USCCB remained close after Carr left the board. (Tom Chabolla, Carr’s associate director at the USCCB, replaced him.)

In response to these reports, Carr issued a statement to Our Sunday Visitor, explaining, “I left the board of the Center for Community Change in February of 2005, and I had no involvement in or knowledge of the actions alleged in the press release.”

Carr does not deny the charges but claims to have no knowledge of them, including the one that alleges CCC’s partisan activity. But one speech Carr gave mentioned being in a CCC board meeting with a John Kerry campaign strategist who stated his political views quite plainly:

I remember being told on a board meeting for the Center for Community Change. One of the Kerry strategists, who shall remain nameless, that the strategy was to go after singles, seculars, and gays. And my reaction was, that’s a great way to carry Berkeley and midtown Manhattan. It’s not a way to win Ohio.

The overwhelming evidence about CCC’s positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception make it difficult to believe that Carr was, after six years on its board, unaware of these attitudes among CCC staff.

Rob Gaspar, the founder of BVM, summarizes the issue facing the USCCB:

While it may seem that the interests of the Church and the CCC intersect on several important issues such as health-care and immigration reform, a cursory examination shows that Church social teaching and the CCC’s guiding principles are, in fact, two separate roads leading to fundamentally different destinations.


Catholic Advocate Calls Upon CCHD to Suspend All Grants

2-2-10 Posted by admin in Featured Issues 1 Comments

In a press release issued Tuesday, February 2, Catholic Advocate is calling upon the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to suspend its grants pending “a complete review of its awards process.”

Information uncovered by American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry released February 1 points to potential conflicts of interest between staff of the Bishops’ conference and their leadership on the board of CCC. Catholic Advocate recommends CCHD Chair Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi conduct a thorough review of both grant applications over the past ten years and the minutes of CCC board meetings during the period when USCCB staff were members.

“Why is the USCCB still affiliated with CCC? How can the Bishops’ conference effectively advocate for policies in line with the teachings of the Church while at the same time providing money to groups working against those same teachings?” asked Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith. “Part of the game in Washington is joining coalitions to pass legislation. But joining and funding groups that contradict the basic priorities of the church on the sanctity of life and marriage is not advocacy it is euthanasia of our values.”

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A Case of Cafeteria Catholicism at the Bishops’ Conference

By Matt Smith

We often hear the name “Cafeteria Catholics” bantered around. Asking someone at church on Sunday if they consider themselves a “Cafeteria Catholic” would likely illicit a swift denial. However, we are all flawed, and the times when we have fallen are between us and our priest in the confines of the confessional. Even Catholic priests and bishops are fallible. As believers we are keenly aware they, too, have their strengths and weaknesses. However, the Church as an institution and the teachings of the Church are constant, and those that represent the Church must make every attempt to remain constant as well.

The Church is persistent in its teachings on the sanctity of life and marriage. Included in the “Top 5 Priorities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through 2011” are two sections entitled “Strengthening Marriage” and “Life and dignity of the human person.” The consistency of the Canons of Catholicism makes the news uncovered by the American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry in the fall of 2009, plus the additional information released February 1, 2010, that much more troubling. It is one thing to engage those who disagree with the teachings of the Church in lively debate in an effort to change hearts and minds. It is another to fund their activities to advance an agenda that runs contradictory to those same teachings and your own priorities as an organization of the Church.

The research done by ALL and Bellarmine reveals a long pattern of support for the Center for Community Change (CCC) that has a partner lobbying arm called the Campaign for Community Change. CCC is also part of the George Soros funded America Votes project, started in 2004, joining the Human Rights Campaign, EMILY’s List, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood in advancing a “progressive” America. CCC’s own slogan is “Building a better America from the grassroots”. Unfortunately, the better America for them includes abortion on demand and redefining marriage.

As proven by ALL and Bellarmine, this group has already worked in opposition to the Stupak-Pitts language in the health care reform legislation – an amendment supported by the USCCB  that has included multiple nationwide parish postcard campaigns to Congress. What is next on CCC’s agenda this year? Support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)? Support for H.R.3567 “To repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage”?

Just like the USCCB, “national collections” are not segregated, so too, is the high probability CCC does not segregate money for their activities. Therefore, it is hard to make that argument when, John Carr, a senior member of the USCCB responsible for overseeing the CCHD under the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, and followed by a subordinate, have collectively served on the board of the CCC for over ten years. The evidence demonstrates, at any given time, officials of the USCCB closely involved with both entities, have known of their activities. Money donated in the church pews on Sundays in November is being used to fund 31 organizations working to “out organize” any postcard campaign the faithful complete. Having an individual in leadership positions in both organizations takes “Cafeteria Catholicism” to new levels. It speaks to the core of the mission and effectiveness of the USCCB to represent the teachings of the Church to elected leaders.

John Carr responded to the criticism yesterday on Our Sunday Visitor’s blog by saying, “My experience with CCC was that it focused on poverty, housing, and immigration and had no involvement in issues involving abortion and homosexuality.” Carr served on the board of the organization through February 2005. It is hard to believe he was completely unaware of the CCC activities with America Votes and the funding of pro-abortion groups. We are assuming John Carr is a Catholic committed to the sanctity of life and marriage. However, being involved with an abortion supporting organization like CCC and creating partnerships while an official with the USCCB does raise questions of appropriateness and vetting before joining a group.

These revelations presented by ALL and Bellarmine are timely. Next week in Washington D.C., the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will bring together “18 leading Catholic social ministry national organizations to explore common issues and concerns of global and domestic policies on life, justice, and peace that challenge our nation and world” including CCHD. John Carr is listed as one of the “outstanding presenters.” On Tuesday, February 9, participants will be encouraged to make an office visit to their “member of Congress” after being briefed by officials such as Carr. With all the challenges faced by working on policies of life, it must be extremely frustrating to learn that one of their own speakers at a conference, a leader at the USCCB, supports groups working against them. Let us hope and pray those attending the conference do a better job of exemplifying the teachings of the Church.

Matt Smith is Vice President of Catholic Advocate.