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"Catholic McCarthyism" and the CCHD

Conservative opposition to the bishops' signature anti-poverty initiative, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, has been denounced by bishops and defenders of the church's social justice mission for years. But a new report released today by the progressive lobby Faith in Public Life does a comprehensive job of tallying the efforts of rightwing groups to hamstring the CCHD's mission through what it calls a "Catholic McCarthyism" that relies on guilt by association.

The report points to the emergence of the old neo-Donatism that ignores Catholic teaching on cooperation with evil in favor of a purist approach -- which often dovetails nicely with the right's more libertarian economic views.

The report is here in full -- it's 24 pages but is very readable with lots of solid research and quotable quotes. My Religion News Service story is here, and provides the Reader's Digest (does that still exist?) version.

What seems most significant to me is that this isn't just a blast from the Religious Left against the Religious Right. Rather, the FPL report has been endorsed by dozens of leading Catholic officials and activisits -- many of whom will be recognizable to Commonweal readers -- but also by two former heads of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston and Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane.

As Fiorenza says in the report, the Catholic Church has always worked with groups that it may not agree with completely, but as long as the church wasn't directly supporting or endorsing that group's objectionable goal, there wasn't a problem. He fears that is changing, to the detriment of the church and the country:

"At a time when poverty is growing and people are hurting we should not withdraw from our commitment to helping the poor. Catholic identity is far broader than opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Catholic identity is a commitment to living the Gospel as Jesus proclaimed it, and this must include a commitment to those in poverty."

When I spoke to Fiorenza, he was just heading off to the bishops' closed-door meeting in San Diego -- the first since the election of Pope Francis -- and he was hopeful that Francis' priority on identifying the church with the poor would make an impression of some of the bishops who have bought into the criticisms of the CCHD.

“I’m confident that if Pope Francis knew about the CCHD program he would say, ‘God bless the American bishops!’ for doing what they can to help the poor,” Fiorenza told me.

I wonder if this report and the public support it has drawn from so many Catholic leaders may be a sign of the "Francis Effect" on the wider church.

I recommend reading the FPL report as well as Francis' daily homilies. It seems he doesn't go a day without preaching about social justice. Gay marriage and our favorite American topics, not so much.

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Not one active US bishop. That speaks volumes. Next week the Fortnight for Freedom, Part Two, begins. I don't see the change in the papacy as having a significant impact on the US bishops' decisions. In fact, if Pope Francis is in favor of more collegial structures, that, it seems to me, will only strengthen the US bishops' present course.

The report is very informative.  Back in the 1970s, when CCHD faced accusations of funding pro-abortion projects, the US bishops -- under the leadership of a well-known "progressive"  Cardinal-- came up with this compromise: if the primary purpose of an organization’s program was opposed to Catholic teaching, it could not receive CCHD funds — even for a project within the organization that was in line with church teaching. However, if the primary purpose of a program was in line with church teaching, it could receive Campaign funds.  Very reasonable.  So if a group is primarily about helping immigrants but supports a coalition happens to support rights for gay and lesbian immigrants -- then it is OK for CCHD funds

The well known progressive Cardinal behind this compromise - none other than John Cardinal Krol.  I grew up in Cardinal Krol's Archdiocese.  I was his crosier bearer once when he visited my parish.  I remember Cardinal Krol pretty well. So yeah, I'm being ironic with the "progressive" moniker.

My impression is that Krol's reasonable compromise would be rejected as an abandonment of the faith in most chanceries today, even those that defend CCHD and allow its annual collection.  It  hammers home for me how things have changed.  In today's US bishops' conference Krol would be a radical. 

I hope this report helps.  Only 9 US bishops signed the report in defense of CCHD -- every single one of them is retired (and sadly one is recently deceased.  The report is actually dedicated to Bishop Joe Sullivan).  Only one non-retired Catholic bishop signed -- Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa -- the guy who got called to the carpet by the Vatican for having the temerity to say it may be OK to use condoms to prevent HIV infection in Africa. (done right Krolian of him to have such impure, compromising thoughts!)   

I hope when Pope Francis says he wants a less self-referential Church, part of his agenda will be to move away from the current purist, isolationist attitudes of far too many US bishops.

 

 

 

 

 

Whoops  -- meant to write  "downright Krolian of him..."

This guilt by association is extremely disturbing. Someone recently complained on our Cardinal's blog in NYC that the head of Girl Scouts USA should never have received the Elizabeth Seton award.  The reason being that representatives of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts attended a global conference aimed at reducing pregnancy-related deaths, a conference which included among its speakers some pro-choice advocates. 

Never mind that Girl Scouts USA is a separate organization from WAGGGs, the fact that it is a member (along with every Girl Scout/Girl Guide organization in the world) of an organization that among its myrid activites, attended a conference where abortion was included in the topics (and not condemned) is enough to castigate Girl Scouts USA as somehow immoral.

I'm glad these extremists are being called out for what they are. I think they are bitter, angry people whose main passion in life is condeming others who don't think and act like them in every way. It's a disgrace. 

I hope this report gets some attention. 

 

 

 

In 2010, the US bishops undertook a "Review and Renewal" of CCHD.  This was in response to criticisms of CCHD of the sort discussed in this new report.  (It was also in the wake of the ACORN scandal, which was bad for CCHD and good for its enemies.)  As part of its review / reform process, The bishops made "10 Commitments for CCHD's future."   Among the principles of these 10 Commitments was:

Develop more specific ethical guidance to help the Bishops carry out CCHD’s policy of prohibiting funding to groups which are part of coalitions which act in conflict with fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching (p.2). [Emphasis mine]

Several of the case studies in this report are of organizations who were defunded (or whose grant renewals were denied) for belonging to coalitions which act in conflict with fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.  

I am not defending the denials of these grants - in fact, I tend to agree with the report's lines of argument about coalition-building -  but I'm pointing out that these case studies seem to be instances of CCHD and the local bishop following this guideline.  Perhaps the guideline should be changed or qualified.  Only the USCCB can do that.  Singling out individual bishops for sharp criticism may not be the best way to make that happen.

 

 

Bad enough, Jim, that you constantly defend the bishops. But you try to explain that you are not. I guess you want your cake and eat it to. ....

 

Meanwhile, Francis is looking more like John XXIII every day. He told some women religious that they can answer the CDFs questions and get on with their lives.  http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-francis-downplays-threat-vatican-scrutiny-religious-orders

So the guys in the Curia who still want to play inquisition go on while Francis preaches for the poor and downtrodden. Don't worry about the US bishops. Once they realize that Francis is not Innocent III they will come into their own. Maybe even Dolan will stop playing politics.

I like Francis'  "We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

 

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

 

“Doing good” the Pope explained, is not a matter of faith: “It is a duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because He has made us in His image and likeness. And He does good, always.”

 

 

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/05/22/pope_at_mass:_culture_of_enco...

of the Vatican Radio website 

One of the bad legacies from the Obamacare debates was the bishops' emphasis on the fungibility of money - if we give you money to do something we approve of, it will free up money you already have that you will then use to do things we don't approve of. - so we won't work with you at all.

 

Francis' homily has a different feel to it. 

Mr. Mazzela -- thanks for the link to the NCR article.

It also mentions that Pope Francis confirmed the existence of what has been, quite unfortunate and unfairly, the gay lobby in the Vatican. 

I really wish Pope Francis had not used the term "gay lobby" to identify something so malicious and evil.  If only there was a real "gay lobby" in the Vatican -- people advocating for greater inclusion of LGBT in the Church.

What the media has taken to calling the "gay lobby" is really just a bunch of evil blackmailers and self-hating, closeted clerics.  It is a terrible injustice to our LGBT brothers and sisters to use that phrase.

This exaggerated purest theology where guilt by assoication has become the morally upright thing to do was penned and promoted by JP II in his culture of death, culture of life philosophy. Any whisper of development (e.g, responsible reform) has been denounced as anti-life, anti-Catholic, anti-faithful and the diabolical anti-word. It has caused a profound division in the RCC. It resulted in an embrace of intransigence and moral superiority where the truth has already been proclaimed, is universal and unchanging. Every sexual ethical teaching has been locked into an hermetically sealed coffin for all of eternity. There can be no dialogue to a better understanding of the truth. Any program for the poor is resisited if an organization has any program that is in tension with a Church teaching. To work with and provide funds for such an organization is essentially considered "materially cooperating with evil".

The Church is at war with the world in particular Western secular society. You are either for us or against us, either in the culture of death or in the culture of life, an assenter or a dissenter, a faithful or unfaithful Catholic. This guilt by association and divisive philosophy is Catholic MaCarthyism.

Let's open every door and window of the Church so that the Holy Spirit can blow freely and guide us in humility, generosity and justice quickened by love. Let's pray that this report finds acceptance and is implemented.

 

 

 

Did the report address/apologize/explain, or simply ignore, the ACORN debacle that Jim mentions? I didn't see it in the report, but I sort of got tired of reading about "Catholic McCarthyism” from a group complaining about being judged by the company they keep.   But, hey, that’s just me.

Mr. Proska-

 

To answer your question ACORN is not mentioned.

 

ACORN actually had a long history of doing great work and CCHD should be proud of its support during ACORN's halcyon days.  ACORN clearly suffered real failings by some of its leadership and the group did not handle it well.  CCHD stopped funding it as it should have.  CCHD, even with all the protections possible, will probably give money to a group or two which will turn out to be a mistake.  That does not mean this important work should be curtailed.  These words from Pope Francis come to mind:

 

 

“When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church. A Church that is nice to look at, but that is without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the outskirts, where there are many people who are victims of idolatry, worldliness, and weak thoughts of so many things.” 

“You might say ‘But Father, we might make mistakes.' I might respond, 'Well, what of it? Onward, if you make a mistake, you get up and go forward; that is the way.' Those who do not walk to avoid mistakes, make a the more serious mistake.” 

 

 

Mr. Marth—

Thanks for your honesty.    I understand that the report was prepared by a self-proclaimed liberal organization, so there is no pretense of it being fair and balanced, but don’t you think the report would be more credible if it acknowledged the CHD’s past failures, apologized for them, and clearly explained how they’ve been cured?

Excellent clarification of the characteristics of a destructively focused group of people.  "Gay" just does not approach what's going on there.

The criticisms of ACORN were around performance and governance, not guilt by association. Different issues, not relevant to what's happening to the groups in the report.

 

ACORN is frequently used as a straw man to undermine support of any activist group. 

 

 

 

From page 3 of the  report

" In a 2011 memo, the two bishops who chair the CCHD subcommittee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington wrote that American Life League officials “simply do not agree with CCHD’s mission and how we apply our guidelines and requirements.” The memo, which was sent to every bishop in the country, went on to note that grant awards are based on the judgment of local bishops and the vetting process of each diocese,not the repeated accusations of those with clear ideological and ecclesial agendas.”

(American Life League is the interest group spearheading the attack against CCHD). 

As I noted above about CCHD's opponents constant invocation of ACORN:  It has nothing to do with Catholic teaching.  These people simply do not like the work of the groups CCHD funds.  And it is their right to dislike that work, and it is their right not to contribute to CCHD. It is also their right to suggest CCHD adopt different priorities.  But it is NOT their right, and it is completely dishonest and sinful of them to engage in character assassisnation by  falsing accusing individuals and organizations of promting abortion or violating Catholic teaching.

John, you are pointing to a real problem: if one is in favor of collegiality in general, but sees that in a particular instance (US bishops, in this case) it will give power to people who will not make the decisions that one would wish, then what? Does the need for a collegial structure trump the need for more emphasis on social justice? 

Bad enough, Jim, that you constantly defend the bishops.

Bill, if you read the report as being an attack on the bishops, you've seriously misread the report.  The authors go to great lengths to align themselves with the bishops as a whole, as overall the bishops consistently have been supportive of the CCHD and its mission.  (A somewhat wry smile crossed my face when I noted that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is a signatory to this report that is so supportive of the US bishops.)

The point of my comment was to contribute to the conversation.  The report points to the American Life League and its influence with some individual bishops as the reason that funding has been discontinued.  I'm pointing out that there may be another contributing factor - the USCCB's own guidelines.  

The guideline in question, regarding coalition membership, is worthy of some consideration, in my opinion.  The authors of the report make a good case that it's important and good, for a number of reasons, for the church to work with allies who may not agree with the church in every respect.  But to some extent, I also see the other side of the coalition membership argument.  It might (or might not) be problematic for church funds to go to a member of a coalition that works to subvert church teaching.  

The guideline, as I quoted it in my previous comment, almost certainly is too broad - it needs to incorporate the reasoning put forth in the report:

  • The distinction between remote vs. proximate cooperation with evil
  • The good fruits of collaborating with non-Catholic social service organizations
  • The distinction between a particular program which does not contravene church teaching, and other programs sponsored by the same partner or coaltion that does contravene church teaching

Overall, my view is that the report is important, and says some things that need to be said.  It's deplorable that the American Life League is targeting CCHD grants in this way, and it's good that sunlight is being shone on the situation.

 

 The USCCB website has a 2011 memo to all bshops from the two bishops responsible for CCHD.

 

Despite significant progress, some things don’t change.  The American Life League continues to attack CCHD and the USCCB.  Judie Brown, Michael Hichborn and the American Life League (ALL) continue to recycle allegations that CCHD funds many organizations that are in conflict with Catholic teaching.  In the past, they have also unfairly attacked CCHD and USCCB leadership. CHD staff has met repeatedly with representatives of the American Life League to explain CCHD’s mission, requirements and processes. They simply do not agree with CCHD’s mission and how we apply our guidelines and requirements.

 

http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/Who-W...

 

The report on the 2010 revisions to grant policy mention that the CCHD had consulted several theologians. As was evident in the Obamacare debate, different theologians can arrive at different conclusions when they apply moral principles to specific situations. Perhaps they need to involve a wider range of theologians so they are clear as to when they are free to make prudential decisions.

 

9. Ethical Guidance for CCHD

 

No group that advocates or acts in opposition to fundamental Catholic social and moral teaching is eligible for or will receive CCHD funding. Any CCHD funded group that subsequently and knowingly takes positions that contradict Catholic teaching in these areas (advocacy of abortion, same sex marriage, euthanasia, racism as well as use of the death penalty, punitive measures toward immigrants) will be cut off from any CCHD funding as soon as this violation of CCHD requirements is documented. CCHD will seek professional assistance in the ongoing review of the grant-making process to ensure that CCHD is doing all it can to screen for compliance with this fundamental requirement and other CCHD guidelines and restrictions regarding Catholic ethical foundations.

 

CCHD funds cannot go to groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.

The CCHD Work Group has consulted with several moral theologians and leaders in Catholic grant making and charitable giving on ways to improve CCHD‟s current practices and procedures. The Work Group sought assistance for CCHD on ethical dimensions of CCHD funding related to coalition and other relationships involving CCHD-funded groups, particularly what engagement is useful and permitted in seeking to advance CCHD‟s mission and what is not because it may involve issues of cooperation and genuine scandal.

 

CCHD will establish regular and ongoing consulting relationships with one or more moral theologians with expertise on issues of cooperation and related matters to advise the Bishops CCHD Subcommittee, national staff, diocesan bishops and CCHD diocesan directors, as well as funded groups, on the appropriate application of traditional moral principles of cooperation and collaboration.

 

http://www.usccb.org/upload/review-renewal-catholic-campaign-human-devel...

They also mention in that report that all grants are subject to the approval of the local bishop.. That may account for for some of the hard-to-understand decisions reported in the case Studies. 

The problem may not be entirely with the national CCHD. 

"No group that advocates or acts in opposition to fundamental Catholic social and moral teaching is eligible for or will receive CCHD funding."

Thanks, John Hayes.

This, ISTM, pretty well closes off any possible collaboration with any group that in any way differs in principle or act from Church teaching.  How could the statement be more absolute?  I think it's a bad principle.  Yes, there are immediate and remote differences and they should be what determine decisions about joint effort.  (I bet Pope Francis the Rule Breaker drives these people up the wall.)  

 

They also mention in that report that all grants are subject to the approval of the local bishop.. That may account for for some of the hard-to-understand decisions reported in the case Studies.   The problem may not be entirely with the national CCHD. 

Right.  The USCCB site on CCHD includes a document on 'what has changed / what hasn't changed' from that 2010 review.  It indicates that  the local bishop's approval has always been part of the grant process.  American Life League and its allies seem to be cannily exploiting that requirement. 

I don't see a realistic, practical way to prevent the American Life League from pursuing its vendetta.    Perhaps this points to the importance of grant applicants "working" the process to the extent possible, e.g. by cultivating a positive relationship with the local bishop.  Of course, that is easier said than done.  But it can't hurt, for example, to invite the bishop to visit an agency for a media event or a fund-raising event - such things frequently are a chance for a bishop and a local diocese to garner some positive publicity by showcasing concern for the poor  (Nobody - except, apparently, the American Life League - is opposed to helping the poor.)

Certainly, some of the comments from local bishops and their spokespersons documented in the report are worrisome.  I'm speculating that a personal relationship may help those bishops to see it from the applicant's point of view. 

 

 

Ann, I hink the start of the problem is actually in the next paragraph:

 

CCHD funds cannot go to groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.

 

Which was apparently the justification for taking away the grant of the group in the first Case Study. They were not doing anything objectionable themselves but wouldn't resign their memberships in two statewide coalitions which had recently decided to oppose a state constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, which the state's Catholic bishops were promoting. 

 

That reminds me of post-war France where the communists and socialists often tried to build a coalition for an upcoming election but would always discover at the last minute some philosophical point on which they did not agree - and then the coalition would fall apart. 

 

Saul Alinsky's genius was in realizing that to organize people to achieve a particular goal you didn't need to find people who agreed with you on everything you believed in - you only needed to find people who wanted that particular goal to be realized, even if it was for a very different reason from yours. 

 

I think the unfounded worry in the CCHD grant standards is that if you work with others to achieve a particular goal, people will believe you approve of everything else that other group does. The worry about scandal overwhelms all the good that might otherwise be accomplished. 

 

Ann, I hink the start of the problem is actually in the next paragraph:

 

CCHD funds cannot go to groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.

 

Which was apparently the justification for taking away the grant of the group in the first Case Study. They were not doing anything objectionable themselves but wouldn't resign their memberships in two statewide coalitions which had recently decided to oppose a state constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, which the state's Catholic bishops were promoting. 

 

That reminds me of post-war France where the communists and socialists often tried to build a coalition for an upcoming election but would always discover at the last minute some philosophical point on which they did not agree - and then the coalition would fall apart. 

 

Saul Alinsky's genius was in realizing that to organize people to achieve a particular goal you didn't need to find people who agreed with you on everything you believed in - you only needed to find people who wanted that particular goal to be realized, even if it was for a very different reason from yours. 

 

I think the unfounded worry in the CCHD grant standards is that if you work with others to achieve a particular goal, people will believe you approve of everything else that other group does. The worry about scandal overwhelms all the good that might otherwise be accomplished. 

Consider this question:

If the CCHD grant standards were universal, then would not funds for any joint venture that the RCC elects to participate in with other Christian Churhes (e.g, to jointly fund the care for the poor and disadvantaged) not be permitted simply because other Chrisian Churches have teachings that are in tension with the teachings of the RCC (e.g, divorce and remarriage, terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother)?

 

 

 

 

MIchael - there is a council of pastors in our local town which includes the Roman Catholic pastors as well as pastors from other denominations.  Among the things the council does is provide funding for a joint service to provide affordable housing to homeless families.  It's a wonderful initiative, and has made a difference in a lot of lives and in the community.  It's certainly true that this "coalition" includes pastors of churches that disagree with Catholic teaching on certain hot-button issues - for example, the pastor of one of the local Episcopal churches is a member.  And for that matter, any Protestant denomination presumably would disagree with a number of Catholic fundamental teachings, such as the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

I guess all of this is to say, "Good point" :-)

The report on the revisions in policy is a curious document. It is all about control, ownership of every bit of policy, with tight regulations  to make sure everyone follows the  party line, laid out in triumphant detail.  Yet in the end its creators can't seem to let go of the rhetoric of the old Catholic Campaign for Human Development, with its stress on empowering the poor to shape a better future for themselves. How you reach such a goal with these protocols is a good question.

The best one can hope for, I think, is that the document will meet with the fate of most strategic agendas, and be filed away and forgotten as better ideas come forward.

Jim -- thanks for your kind words and mentioning the concrete example in your local town. This goes to demonstrate that there is much inconsistency and contradiction within the RCC concerning both teachings and practices. The latest example of the CCHD is an exaggeration of a principle undermining the virtues of prudence and charity. 

 

 

There is a parallel world discussion of this same topic going on over at Father Z.

Here's one commentor who wonders why the CCHD wants to empower poor people rather than just giving them things. 

 

A number of years ago the Diocese did take up the collection. Reviewing the published list of recipients, there were several issues. There were a few possibly questionable names on the list, but what stuck out was that every contribution (most of them, $25,000) was to “enable” or “support” or, heaven forbid, “empower” the various organizations. Nobody was “buying” a new food service truck or “building” homeless shelters or “doing” anything.

There seems to be a general uneasiness about anything having to do with community organizing - as if it were the U.S. version of marxist-version liberation theology. Here's a different person:

one underlying assumption in the article is that a “social justice campaign” that specializes in “grassroots community organizing” is appropriate and effective for realizing the “Church’s efforts to help the poor.” I, on the other hand, am highly suspect of the terms “social justice” and “community organizing” since I equate those terms with values that are contrary to Christian charity and organizations that would persecute the Church.

Someone else pointed out that Joe McCarthy was a "a faithful  Catholic and a very good man"  

Read more comments: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/06/cwn-liberal-group-sees-mccarthyism-in-cri...

 

Why would some people object to empowerment?  Because once empowered the newly enfranchisedd will join the political party of the other side, that's why, usually the Democratic one.  Mustn't increase those Democratic roles!

There are a quite a  lot of CCHD funded groups in my work universe.  I have to laugh at critics' characterization of CCHD as being some funder on the radical edge supporting fringe activist groups.  CCHD is completely mainstream as are all of the groups I know of that get money from it. 

The money, by the way, does go to groups that really need and value it.  Most of the places I worked, which were small nonpofits, were considered too big for CCHD funding.  The groups that did get funded, really, really apprceciated a $50,000 grant; a grant in that amount would have a sizable impact on their work. 

From the comment at Fr. Z's blog that John Hayes highlighted:

 

one underlying assumption in the article is that a “social justice campaign” that specializes in “grassroots community organizing” is appropriate and effective for realizing the “Church’s efforts to help the poor.”

Terms like "community organizing" and "empowerment" are relatively vague words that don't really describe actual, concrete activities (like buying a food truck or building a homeless shelter).  Had that been the commenter's point, I might have been inclined to think it's a valid point, and would have responded that we would hope that CCHD investigates and perhaps audits its grantees to ensure that the recipient isn't a fraudulent entity hiding behind not-for-profit jargon.   But then the commenter decreed that anything smacking of social justice is anti-Catholic, and lost me.

When Fr. Neuhaus was alive, he was among the prominent Catholic conservatives calling for the reform or abolition of the CCHD.  He was right about quite a few things but wrong about this.  Articles in the same vein appeared from time to time at First Things after his death.  Eventually they elicited this response, which is excellent.  Headline: In Defense of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.  The article includes a link to the problematic article to which it responds; looking at the comments below that article, one sees quite a few attitudes that are similar to the one that John Hayes highlights here.

 

Is there a list anywhere of dioceses that do not participate in the CCHD collections? I don't believe I've seen a collection in my diocese (Burlington, VT) for some years, so I have given separately to CCHD, usually with a note that, given their enemies, they must be doing something right.

Someone should tell them what Pope Francis has been saying about building bridges.

From his remarks to the staff of La Civilita Catolica, 6/14, VIS:

But your main task isn't to build walls but bridges. It is to establish a dialogue with all persons, even those who don't share the Christian faith but “who cultivate outstanding qualities of the human spirit” and even with “those who oppress the Church and harass her in manifold ways. … Through dialogue it is always possible to get closer to the truth, which is a gift of God, and to enrich one another.” Pope Francis reiterated that dialogue means “being convinced that the other has something good to say, making room for their point of view, their opinion, their proposals, without falling, of course, into relativism. For dialogue [to exist] it is necessary to lower the defences and open the doors."

Now, admittedly, funding isn't the same thing as dialogue, but what bridges are being built here, of any nature? I see bridges being torn down, and more isolation resulting. None of this "we will meet you doing good" as the Pope urged in his now famous comments about how Christ died for all, even atheists. The policy here means, rather, that we will shun you if you don't completely agree with us.

 

Mary Douglas, the anthropologist, said that "dirt" is matter out of place.  It seems to me that wrong moral opinions can be considered as moral pollution, so when someone holds bad/dirty moral opinions we are strongly inclined to ostracize him fromt our tribe lest we become infected.

It seems to me that this sort of simplistic thinking is what has happened with the bishops and the liberals, specifically the Democratic Party's leadership.  Obama and other liberals who hold bad/dirty opinions about abortion are seen as automatically contaminating the country's morals and, therefore, are to be avoided.  That they also do great good doesn't matter.  Dirt pollutes, and those people are dirty.

I recommend looking at this presentation by ALL of why the Massachusetts Senior Action Council (where I live) shouln't have received a $25,000 grant from CCHD

http://reformcchdnow.com/wp-content/uploads/Senior-Action-Council.pdf

ALL' s objection to the group doesn't mention anything the Senior Group does itself, but only that it is a member of three coalitions.

ALL provides distorted descriptions of what the coalitions do - for instance, MASS-CARE, which advocates for a state single-payer health care system, is described as a "coalition that advocates for birth control and “reproductive health care"

 

According to ALL, this is the problem with the grant to the Senior Action Council:

The Problem:

• Member of MASS-CARE – a coalition that advocates for birth control and “reproductive health care.”

• Member of Community Works – a coalition of 33 groups which raises funds for pro-abortion and pro-homosexual organizations.

• Member of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, Marxist Jobs With Justice

It's interesting to see the twisting paths ALL goes through to characterize those goups as they do

 

Pope Francis had better be a strong man who can articulate and enforce his positions within this church.  First he needs to clean house in the Curia and also send a clear, unambiguous message about the kind of men who he will name bishops.  And he had better be very, very patient because what will undoubtedly be a cabal of his enemies has become quite entrenched during the last two pontificates.

I find it ironic that this "report" was created by an organization with ties to Planned Parenthood: http://prolifecorner.com/cchd-supporters-busted-in-league-with-planned-p...

But aside from that (as if that isn't enough in and of itself to completely discredit the report in total), the "report" if sull of glaring inaccuracies and omissions.  For instance, the Land Stewardship Project and Companeros were not cut off from CCHD funding because of their membership in coalitions that had OTHER members that promoted same-sex marriage, but because they refused to leave coalitions that had themselves taken official positions supporting same-sex marriage.

Additionally, the "report" freely explained our charges regarding the Gamaliel Foundation's relationship with FIRM, but ended with the fact that we accused Gamaliel of lying about its relationship, failing to mention WHY we at American Life League leveled those charges to begin with.  I'll fill in the missing detailsfor you ... After Gamaliel told CCHD that they "severed all ties with FIRM in 2010", we found documents on Gamaliel's OWN website proving that it was on FIRM's executive committee in 2011. We also found a set of FIRM's own meeting minutes showing that Gamaliel was nominated for FIRM's executive committee for 2012. Telling CCHD that it "severed all ties with FIRM in 2010" while housing documents on its own website proving otherwise seems to constitute a lie to me. You can see the evidence here for yourself. I'd LOVE an explanation for this, but hey ... why let facts get in the way of a good lie?  http://reformcchdnow.com/wp-content/uploads/VOICE-Buffalo.pdf

Michael Hichborn writes: "I find it ironic that this "report" was created by an organization with ties to Planned Parenthood"

Mr. Hichborn, the only basis for your claim that I see in the article you linked is the bare statement "Public Life CEO Rev. Jennifer Butler was a panelist at a 2008 Planned Parenthood discussion of how pro-choice clergy could “make social change in support of reproductive justice in communities across the country,” 

Even if you had documented that Rev. Butler had spoken at a Planned Parenthood meeting 5 years ago, and what she said, would that be sufficient to identify Faith in Public Life as a "pro-abortion group"?

However, you tell your readers:

 

The report issued by Faith In Public Life titled “Be Not Afraid” is simply a tool of the abortion lobby to encourage Catholic funding for pro-abortion groups.

 

Please email your own Bishop and the director of the Catholic Campaign For Human Development ( Ralph McCloud rmccloud@usccb.org ) and ask them not to be fooled by a report issued by a pro-abortion group that is in league with the nation’s number one killer of babies – Planned Parenthood.

http://prolifecorner.com/cchd-supporters-busted-in-league-with-planned-p...

Surely you must see that kind of guilt by association raises the same issues questioned in the "America" article you selectively quoted in your article

How should CCHD grantees be held accountable for the decisions and statements of other organizations they may belong to as part of grassroots coalitions, especially when controversial statements may not be approved by all coalition members or may comment on an issue removed from the coalition’s stated purpose? And ultimately how far does the thread of responsibility extend before a group can essentially maintain no allies in the secular world? This is not an academic problem.

 

In recent years some groups have lost CCHD funding because individual board members as private citizens expressed opinions that were contrary to Catholic teaching....

 

Aaron Dorfman is the Executive Director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. While Dorfman agrees that CCHD should not be funding activities that directly violate church teaching, he worries, according to the Faith in Public Life report, that legitimate principles have morphed into rigid positions that leave little room for partnerships. He told FPL that coalition work among groups that disagreed on some issues was vital to achieving tangible public-policy victories on living wages, better schools and improved access to public transportation.

 

Dorfman said the climate today is much less hospitable because of pressure groups that influence some in the Catholic hierarchy to back away from these strategic alliances. “These trends are creating a culture of fear and making it increasingly difficult for community organizers and community groups to be part of broad-based coalitions that augment their power,” he said. “People can’t partner with other groups that can help them win higher wages for poor people and other goals that are consistent with Catholic teaching. It’s a real problem that’s gotten worse in recent years.”

http://americamagazine.org/issue/new-report-urges-support-cchd

Mark Proska said:  "I sort of got tired of reading about "Catholic McCarthyism” from a group complaining about being judged by the company they keep. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/catholic-mccarthyism-and-cchd#comments"

 

The last time I looked the Jesus we purport to be following was not worried about the company he was keeping.  Of course, if he were part of today's US Catholic Church, things might be different.

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About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.