Category Archives: Marriage & the Family
By Brenda Steele
Catholic Charities of D.C. is closing down its foster care and public adoption program after 80 years of service to the community. They were informed by the local city government that they are “no longer eligible” to provide foster care and adoption services. It seems that in order to remain “eligible” Catholic Charities would have to abandon Church teaching on marriage in favor of the more popular view of marriage between any two consenting adults, even if they happen to be of the same gender.
This move by city officials in D.C. has effectively put an end to Catholic Charities’ ministry to the most vulnerable of it’s citizens, the children. Instead, both the foster care and adoption programs have been turned over to the National Center for Children and Families. Let us pray that these families in crisis will receive the same high level of care as before.
Catholic Charities had no alternative than to put an end to the foster care and adoption programs they administered. They could not, in good conscience, allow children in their care to be placed with same-sex couples. They were put in an untenable situation; one that possessed a single possible outcome.
Bill Donohue had this to say about the D.C. lawmakers:
“Surely they knew that Archbishop Wuerl was not going to negotiate Catholic Church teachings on marriage, yet that hardly mattered to them. The real losers are the children who were served by the Catholic Church.”
So, what kind of discrimination are we seeing today — the kind that prohibits a religious organization, working for the good of the community, and adhering to the tenets of its faith, to be forced to shut down a worthy ministry. No doubt other Catholic Charities throughout the nation will be faced with this same ultimatum: either include same-sex couples in your programs, or shut down. If so, the outcome is guaranteed.
By Deal Hudson
The fight over net neutrality has been dwarfed in the public square by the struggling economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the health-care debate. But if the FCC acts to hand control of the Internet over to the Obama administration, there will be one more populist explosion, which this White House and Congress don’t need.
The groups backing net neutrality, such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, are opposed to companies like Verizon creating different levels of service by charging a higher cost for faster service. Other religious groups, such as the Christian Coalition, have argued that this kind of tiered service could also lead to “discrimination” against religious content for two reasons: Verizon executives may decide to filter religious content they find objectionable, and religious organizations may not be able to afford the faster service.
Other groups are opposed to net neutrality. An assembly of religious and conservative leaders representing twelve organizations wrote a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that an Internet kept “open” by government regulation puts families at risk:
It is critically important for parents and broadband service providers to continue to have these tools available to them because despite what network neutrality proponents may say, all content on the web is not equal and should not be treated equally. Network management is not some insidious method of stifling voices on the Internet; network management is critical to stop pornographers and pedophiles from having unfettered access to consumers’ Internet connections.
Why would religious organizations, like the new version of the Christian Coalition and the USCCB, back a policy forcing broadband service providers to treat pornography the same as content welcomed by families?
Net neutrality, in addition to adding to government power and control, would mean that every decision to block pornography, or any kind of security threat, would have to be approved by the government.
By Deal W. Hudson
My recent articles on the problems at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, for example, “Is It Time for a Catholic Tea Party” elicited some strong words about me from four different “Catholic” journalists in the last two weeks. Some used words stronger than others, but what they all had in common was a complete avoidance of the arguments and evidence about the problems at CCHD.
Three of the four dismissed my arguments on the grounds I am a Republican — how silly! If arguments could be dismissed on those grounds, only bona fide independents could be trusted.
I ask for your prayers as we at Catholic Advocate, and others, push ahead with the effort to keep Catholic money from being spent on organizations who support or advocate abortion or same-sex marriage. Please take a moment to sign the petition to Reform CCHD NOW!
By Deal W. Hudson
I’ve been asked why I support the Reform CCHD Now petition requesting that the bishops suspend all Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants until a thorough review of the program has been completed. A series of reports by Reform CCHD have revealed clear evidence that grants are being given to organizations supporting abortion and same-sex marriage.
Thus far, only two groups have been defunded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), though another offending organization, the Center for Community Change (CCC), was scrubbed from their Web site (the section removed described it as being worthy of Catholic support).
After the first reports were published, seven dioceses withdrew their participation from the annual November CCHD collection. That collection normally generates, on average, $7-9 million each year, which means the available pool of money over the last ten years was upwards of $90 million. We know that at least some groups working counter to Church teaching on life and marriage have enjoyed access to that funding: Reform CCHD Now asserts that at least 31 problematic organizations remain.
The petition, launched on Wednesday, was made necessary by the dismissive attitude of the USCCB toward the hard evidence linking CCHD grants to organizations supporting abortion and same-sex marriage. USCCB spokeswoman Sr. Mary Ann Walsh admitted she had read only one of the two reports before she rejected their findings.
Furthermore, no subsequent comment by any bishop or USCCB official has addressed the substance of the findings. This is made all the more strange by the fact that the USCCB acted responsively after the first round of Reform CCHD Now reports last August, when they defunded two grantees.
Unfortunately, the USCCB quickly slammed the door shut on any further investigations. That didn’t stop the reform efforts, and the second round of research uncovered troubling new evidence while reconfirming the findings of the original reports.
Some have questioned the petition in light of a statement made by Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, in which he attests to the pro-life convictions of John Carr, executive director of the USCCB’s Office of Justice, Peace, and Human Development. But none of the reports contain anything about Carr’s personal convictions, only his associations.
The USCCB chose to address the portion of the reports having to do with Carr, responding to an allegation that nobody made. Thus, Father Pavone’s statement has no bearing on the Reform CCHD reports or their subsequent petition. No one is a greater defender of unborn life than Father Pavone, and no one doubts whether he would oppose the USCCB’s spending of Church money to support groups promoting abortion.
When the bishops’ conference attempted to reframe the reports’ findings around the pro-life convictions of Carr, it obscured the real issue. The discussion should be about the actions of the USCCB and the CCHD, not about the convictions of its personnel. These actions are primarily the grants that have been made for many years to groups subversive to Church teaching, but also the pattern of associations maintained by the CCHD in their efforts to address poverty.
Thus far, the research into the CCHD has uncovered enough questionable grantees in recent years to raise a red flag. As the research goes forward, more troubling evidence will very likely come to light. Why not simply step back from the grant-making, find out what went wrong, fix it, and get back to work? That’s all the petition asks, and I support it.
Media Contact: Brenda Steele E-mail: Press@www.catholicadvocate.com/dev
Washington, DC (11 February 2010) – American Life League, Human Life International, Catholic Advocate, Bellarmine Veritas Ministry and Real Catholic TV, members of the Reform CCHD Now coalition, launched a petition drive Thursday asking the bishops to suspend United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants.
The effort comes after repeated calls over the past three months for explanations from the USCCB in response to the discovery of CCHD money spent to support organizations promoting abortion and same-sex marriage.
American Catholics will be asked to sign the following at www.reformcchdnow.com:
To ensure no more Catholic dollars are spent to support organizations advocating abortion or same-sex marriage, I respectfully request the bishops suspend all national CCHD grants until the grants process has been reformed.
“Transparency and responsible stewardship of the money donated by hard-working American Catholics to further the mission of the Church should be a top priority for those in positions of authority at the Bishops’ Conference,” said Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith.
A copy of the petition will be presented to the following:
- Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
- Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi and Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the CCHD
- Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, Texas and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections
- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
- Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky and Chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage
CCHD donations are traditionally collected the weekend before Thanksgiving each year as one of the thirteen funds of the USCCB’s National Collections program. Donations average between $7 – 9 million annually.
Below is a summary of what has transpired since information on CCHD grant recipients first surfaced in August 2009 by the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry.
- In October 2009, Human Life International, American Life League and the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry formed the Reform CCHD Now coalition. Twenty-one organizations are now members of the coalition.
- On Oct. 2 Bishop Morin announced that CCHD grantee groups Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association had been defunded in response to the reports.
- In November 2009 the Reform CCHD Now coalition revealed the CCHD was supporting 31 organizations which are members of a radically pro-abortion, pro same sex marriage organization.
- Also in November 2009 another detailed report was issued by American Life League and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry implicating MIV partners, CA Partnership partners, SFOP, Preble Street, Voces De La Frontera, and many others.
- By Nov. 25, 2009 LifeSiteNews reported that five bishops had decided to discontinue the CCHD collection.
- On Monday, Feb. 1 American Life League and the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry released further information on CCHD ties to the pro-abortion, same sex marriage Center for Community Change. Two top USCCB executives involved with the CCHD have served on the board of the CCC.
- On Tuesday, February 2, 2010, realcatholictv.com released video evidence that within hours of the initial story breaking, the USCCB and Center for Community Change each removed any reference to the other organization from their respective websites.
- On Tuesday, Feb. 2 Catholic Advocate called upon the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to suspend its grants pending “a complete review of its awards process.
- The USCCB has yet to adequately respond to any of the charges since Bishop Morin’s Oct. 2 memorandum, but has instead attempted to reframe the reports as a personal attack against USCCB employees.
“We remain hopeful these issues will be addressed, potentially leading to a renewal of the CCHD, and making it an organization that is a source of unity rather than division in the Church,” said Human Life International’s Stephen Phelan.
Phelan added, “we respectfully ask the episcopal leadership of the USCCB to consider the petition in good faith.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
By Deal W. Hudson
Move over Sarah Palin – the GOP has a new star on the rise! Former speaker of the Florida house, Marco Rubio, has pulled twelve points ahead of Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the GOP senatorial race.
Although the election is not until August, some political observers are speculating Crist will pull out of the race in time to get back in it as a Democrat or an Independent. Crist’s support has fallen from 53 percent in August to 37 percent as of February 1.
Rubio’s rise has been so meteoric he was pictured on the cover of New Times Magazine (1/6/10) under the headline, “The First Senator from the Tea Party?” The answer to that question, in my opinion, is “No” for several reasons. The first being the article’s implication that Rubio’s candidacy is appealing to some sort of extreme political element, when, in fact, Rubio is a fiscal and social conservative with strong appeal to moderates and independents.
Only 38 years old, Rubio, the son of a bartender and maid, is the father of four young children. When I met him for dinner a few weeks ago in DC, Rubio left the table to call home and tell his children ‘goodnight’ just before bedtime. Rubio, from the Cuban community of Miami, obviously didn’t do this for show — he often spoke in a self-effacing way about his wife, Jeanette, who reminds him to take out the garbage and “move those boxes.”
A few days ago I caught up with Rubio as he drove from Miami to Melbourne for a series of four appearances on the Friday before the Super Bowl. Football (Dolphins & Gators), by the way, is one of Rubio’s few hobbies. A former high school and college defensive back, he would play flag football on the weekends, when he had time. “I read a lot, “ Rubio says, “Right now I am reading, Peggy Noonan’s When Character Matters.”His choice of reading didn’t surprise me.
The old-fashioned virtues are important to Marco Rubio. His home, in a working class neighborhood of West Miami, is close to the home his parent’s bought in 1984 after moving back from Las Vegas. “The neighborhood is just home, close to my family, where I grew up, and where I feel comfortable.”
Cubans are known for having close ties to their families. For Rubio, being a father is the “most important” job he has. “As my kids gets older, if I get that job wrong I will regret it the rest of my life.” His children, ages 2 through 9, are two boys and two girls. His wife, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, a Miami Dolphins’ cheerleader in 1997, was born in Miami to Columbian parents.
Rubio doesn’t think the surge of support for his candidacy is about him personally:
“I think it’s about our message. On multiple fronts, the American people think this administration is going in the wrong direction. They want to elect people to go to Washington, stand against this agenda, and offer a clear alternative.”
The Obama administration, for Rubio, lacks a belief in what has made this country the most free and prosperous country in history, the American free enterprise system. “The White House,” he argues, “has enacted policies that hurt the environment for business. Government should help investment,” Rubio explains, “with a reasonable tax policy, predictable, without an overly burdensome regulatory system — one that ensures the public safety and welfare.”
He points out that Gov. Crist praised Obama’s stimulus package. Rubio opposed it because he doesn’t believe that government should be spending money “we don’t have,” adding, “The debt we are saddling our children with is unconscionable.”
For Rubio, Obama’s lack of awareness of how his policies are impacting individuals and families also explains the negative reaction to health care reform. “People are reacting to the notion that the state is going to be in charge of another aspect of our lives.” Everyone understands that people need broader health insurance, but they are “not prepared to turn over their liberties to get it — they don’t want to live in such a country.”
Rubio has not been shy about mentioning his Catholic faith on the campaign trail. He told me that he hasn’t met any objections: “I don’t think my views should offend anyone — you can’t force religious views on anybody, but it’s an essential part of who I am, how I view the world, how I try to live, and part of that is we are all flawed and need forgiveness.”
We talked briefly about Catholic politicians who are elected and then cave in on issues like abortion, euthanasia, and the protection of marriage. “I have a consistent record on those issues, and they are not going to change with the polls or the times. Roe is morally and constitutionally wrong and should be overturned. Marriage is between a man and woman; it is the cornerstone of society, the best way to raise children, the product of a thousand years of wisdom.”
For Rubio, his pro-life convictions are the “cornerstone” of everything else. “A society that does not respect the sanctity of life cannot make sense of anything else, and it leads to absurd and dangerous policies.” Without a belief in protecting preborn life, “the entire society is endangered, and social justice cannot be the outcome of such an unjust system.”
As the son of Cuban exiles, Rubio’s core beliefs were shaped, not just by his Catholic upbringing, but by his parents’ stories, and the stories of many in the Cuban community of Miami.
“We are not just immigrants, we are immigrants of a unique kind –- the Cuban exile community has a real passion for liberty because we know that politics matters and has consequences. This awareness runs through the veins of our community, that liberty is not something that is self-perpetuated.”
Yes, Rubio is articulate. He still has the dash and charm of a young man. But he’s a seasoned politician, having just finished eight years in the Florida legislature rising to Majority Whip, Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House.
Keep your eye on Rubio; he’s got a personality, quickness of mind, and fearlessness, not often found in politics.
By Matt Smith
Deal Hudson recently asked the question – “Why Did the USCCB Join This Civil Rights Organization?”
In his article about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) membership in the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), he cited how member groups “must share LCCHR’s principles and purposes.” The USCCB has joined other coalition members of the LCCHR including the Human Rights Campaign, National Organization for Women, People for the American Way, and Service Employees International Union. They signed up to support “Equal rights, equal opportunities and equal justice with regard to race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, disability, age, or sexual orientation; and in which every group is accorded an equal opportunity to enter fully into the general life of the society with mutual acceptance and regard for difference.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) membership, and the ability of LCCHR to use that membership to present a viewpoint to a Catholic member of Congress, could lead to some confusion on where the bishops stand on an issue.
Catholic Advocate wanted to provide our members a short summary of a few of LCCHR’s Greatest Hits and what it means in relation to other activities of the Bishops’ Conference.
Greatest Hit 1 & 2:
Two of LCCHR priorities for the 111th Congress include “Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)” and “passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).”
What it means…
CEDAW includes a provision in Article 12 “access to health care services, including those related to family planning” which would counter the Hyde amendment and the Stupak-Pitts amendment language the Bishops’ Conference worked to support. Also under CEDAW, “Countries that restrict or outlaw abortion are reprimanded and instructed to change their laws.” ENDA would require Catholic churches or institutions affiliated with the Church to hire individuals who do not share the Church’s beliefs. Both of these LCCHR priorities run counter to efforts by the Bishops’ Conference.
This clearly is diametrically opposed to the basic declaration found on the USCCB website – “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” Many in the Catholic church believe the sanctity of human life is the civil and human rights issue of our generation. Yet, the Bishops’ Conference belongs to an organization with the words in their name and without the support for the most basic of civil rights in their actions.
Greatest Hit 3:
LCCHR opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment
What it means…
On July 14, 2004, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at the time stated:
“The Bishops of the United States are extremely disappointed that the Senate failed to close off the debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment, thereby preventing a vote on the substance of the amendment. Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, has always been recognized as the foundation of human society, but today marriage is sadly in need of protection. It is a shame that the Senate did not have the opportunity to vote on this amendment that is so necessary to the well-being of our nation.”
At the same time the Bishops’ Conference was working on passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment, it was paying dues to an organization out rallying groups in opposition to the same amendment.
We could continue with the list of “Greatest Hits,” but it is more of the same type of music you would not want to download.
Even if the USCCB claims they do not sign onto every coalition letter led by LCCHR, the organization does not delineate with their press releases or other materials which group has joined their voice on a particular issue. The Bishops’ Conference claims “non-partisanship,” however, when you read through the legislative priorities and past actions by the LCCHR it lines up with the Democrat National Committee platform. The Bishops’ Conference paying dues and being listed as a “coalition member” raises serious concerns about the type of representation being made of Catholic teachings to the Congress and Executive branch. Further participation with such groups will continue to highlight questions of neutrality and effectiveness in articulating the teachings of the Church in Washington.
By Deal Hudson
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has some surprising associations. For example, (LCCHR), founded in 1950, lobbies the Congress and White House on behalf of its 200 coalition members, which includes the USCCB.
Members of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights of the LCCHR must pay annual dues depending on the size of the group ($1,000 minimum) and “must share LCCHR’s principles and purposes.” These criteria were confirmed by Lisa Haywood, membership services director:
Equal rights, equal opportunities and equal justice with regard to race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, disability, age, or sexual orientation; and in which every group is accorded an equal opportunity to enter fully into the general life of the society with mutual acceptance and regard for difference.
As a general statement, this contains nothing objectionable; the trouble is with its application. In short, the LCCHR lobbies on behalf of abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
The question naturally arises: Why did the bishops’ conference join this organization? When LCCHR staff sit in front of a member of Congress, they can legitimately say they are representing the Catholic bishops.
There is nothing ambiguous about LCCHR’s lobbying activity on behalf of abortion, same-sex marriage, and “family planning.” All the items on the LCCHR Web site listed here affirm their support of “marriage equality” and opposition to bans on same-sex marriage — policy positions directly opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church.
For example, this press release from February 2004 expresses LCCHR’s opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. In it, deputy director Nancy Zirkin states:
The proposed amendment would not only prohibit states from granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, but apparently seeks also to deprive same-sex couples and their families of fundamental protections such as hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and health care benefits, whether conveyed through marriage or other legally recognized relationships, running afoul of basic principles of fairness as well as causing harm to real children and real families.
Regarding its abortion advocacy, LCCHR supports the ratification of the United Nations’ notoriously pro-abortion Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): “The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations.”
LCCHR also praises the work of Planned Parenthood, saying it “delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.” And a letter from LCCHR to Attorney General Michael Mukasey supporting the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act argues:
The DOJ bears a critical role in enforcing and protecting women’s basic rights affecting their health, privacy and safety through the positions it takes in key constitutional and statutory interpretation cases, and in many other ways. For example, it is responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which is key in protecting women’s access to reproductive health care.
For many years, LCCHR has lobbied hard against the confirmation of pro-life judges and justices. In the midst of the debate of pro-abortion nominee Dawn Johnsen, Nancy Zirkin asserted that civil-rights groups are upset that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) hasn’t made the abortion advocate a higher priority. “There’s frustration she’s not at the top of the list,” Zirkin said.
Zirkin’s comment is consistent with the LCCHR’s history of opposition to judges who are pro-life and against same-sex marriage. LCCHR opposed the confirmation of J. Leon Holmes “because of a series of very troubling statements that he made during his legal career that called into question his impartiality on important issues of gender equality, civil rights, women’s rights.” Other pro-life nominees opposed by LCCHR include Charles Pickering Sr., Victor J. Wolski,Clarence Thomas, Matthew W. McConnell, and D. Michael Fischer.
Finally, it should be noted that the USCCB participated in the 2007 and 2008 annual dinner to raise funds for the Leadership Conference of Civil & Human Rights. Evidently, the USCCB regards the work of LCCHR so highly it wants to provide support over and above its annual dues.
Last October, I questioned the USCCB’s membership in the So They Might See coalition, which had called for a FCC investigation into the so-called “hate speech” of Rush Limbaugh. USCCB spokesman Helen Osman explained that the USCCB “shares So We Might See’s general commitments to improving access to broadband among the under-served; to reducing violence in all media; and to reducing the excess of advertising in children’s programming.”
A similar argument will not succeed in explaining the relationship between the bishops’ conference and this civil-rights group. The “general commitments” of LCCHR include both the promotion of abortion on demand and same-sex marriage as civil rights.
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 a 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.
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.