Catholic Campaign for Human Development – Tainted by ACORN or Still Rotten Itself?

A lone individual with a sign protesting the second collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development sets Vox Nova‘s Morning’s Minion on a tirade against Fr. Neuhaus and evangelicals:

After a moment of confusion, it suddenly dawned on me what this was about. And then I became rather angry. Yes, it was just one “whack-job”, but I was still angry. And then I thought of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’s partially-successful attempt to align Catholics with the emergent right-wing evangelical movement, and realized that it had come to this. Catholics, including Neuhaus, were lambasting an anti-poverty program because it simply did not fit with the the ideological talking points of the hour.

As Fr. Neuhaus points out, “Ten years ago, CCHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians.”

Pointing to the CCHD’s stated principles, including that it “will not consider organizations which promote or support abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, or any other affront to human life and dignity,” Morning’s Minion dismisses Neuhaus’ concerns:

This is important as many of the critics (including Neuhaus) claim it is funding pro-abortion activities. (Yet again, the mis-use of the abortion agenda as a Trojan horse to further a distinctly less noble cause– will this ever end?)

Unfortunately, Neuhaus’ claim is true — CCHD has a disappointing history of, contrary to its stated principles, providing extensive funding for questionable political groups with agendas morally at odds with Catholic teaching.

For a historical look at some of the problems with the CCHD, see A Commentary on the Campaign for Human Development by The Wanderer, or the following:

The question is whether the CCHD has adequately reformed and distanced itself from past behavior? — As Fr. Neuhaus suggests, its financial support for the national “community organizer” / voter-registration group ACORN (7.3 million over the past decade; $1,037,000 in 2007) — an organization which played an influential role in the rise of Barack Obama, local chapters of which are under criminal investigation in several states, and whose funding has been subsequently halted by the CCHD itself due to an ongoing investigation of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, that was covered up, and flaunts a double standard on minimumum wage and refusing the right to organize by its own members — may be cause for parishioners to take a closer look at other groups the CCHD has been funding.

For more see The Capital Research Center’s investigation: “ACORN: Who Funds the Weather Underground’s Little Brother?” (Foundation Watch November 2008) or In a Rotten Nutshell: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about ACORN (Labor Watch November 2008).

* * *Despite the recent controversy, John Allen, Jr. reports that many Bishops turned out for a reception hosted by the CCHD during the USCCB’s conference in Baltimore:

Several bishops said privately that they turned out for the CCHD reception in large part to show support, especially in the lead-in to the annual collection later this month. (To be fair, invitations distributed for the event promised “heavy hors d’oeuvres” and an “open bar,” which may also have had something to do with it.)

8 Responses to Catholic Campaign for Human Development – Tainted by ACORN or Still Rotten Itself?

  • “were lambasting an anti-poverty program because it simply did not fit with the the ideological talking points of the hour.”

    Funding a far-left group that engages in voter fraud is anti-poverty? I assume that Obama’s Minion can square that particular circle.

  • I can’t think of a single orthodox Catholic I know who has ever given a dime to the CCHD.

    In fact, I have always considered it be Catholic in same spirit as Catholics for a Free Choice is Catholic. It calls itself Catholic, but after that all bets are off. In fact CCFC is most certainly far more welcome on CCHD grounds than is actually Church teaching.

  • The unfortunate reality is that CCHD is far too comfortable with groups that advocate against the unborn. This is another reason why charity should be as local as possible: Christ called us to help our neighbor, there is never a shortage of need, and the opportunity for that sort of nonsense is less.

  • I emailed the Diocese of Joliet about my disgust with CCHD. Here is the not at all reassuring reply:

    I note your concerns about the use of Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds in the Joliet Diocese, and I want to assure you that none of the local CCHD funded groups are affiliated with ACORN. As you may know, CCHD is a program developed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to address domestic poverty. The Campaign funds projects that empower the poor to develop leadership skills and to organize so that they can be successful in their own efforts to break the cycle of poverty. All local grant applications are carefully screened by the diocesan coordinator and a CCHD committee made up of representatives from various parishes within the diocese to ensure that the objectives and actions of each funded group are consistent with Catholic Social Teaching. In addition, the Bishop endorses every project recommended for funding here in the Joliet area. National grant applications are carefully evaluated by CCHD national staff and must be approved by a group of bishops selected to oversee grants as well. Partisan activity is strictly prohibited for all grantees; any organization engaged in partisan activity is not eligible for funding. Some activities that are encouraged and eligible for funding are: community organizing, job training, legitimate voter registration initiatives, leadership development, citizenship training, and English language classes. The goal is to empower the marginalized groups within our community so that they may enjoy a more active role in shaping their own lives. In this way they can move from poverty on the fringes of society to a more fulfilling life for themselves and their families as full participating members. For a list and more information about the grants awarded here in the Joliet diocese see http://www.paxjoliet.org/cchd/grants_0809.htm. A full explanation regarding the mission and policies of CCHD is available at http://www.usccb.org/cchd/grant.shtml

  • I was at this Mass, and didn’t see the person with the sign. I probably would have gone up to him and given him a high-five. But MM and I don’t often see eye-to-eye on such things.

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