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:
- Too close for comfort: CCHD, sex and abortion, by Patrick Reilly. Human Events November 20, 1998.
- Assessing the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, by Patrick Reilly. Human Events November 20, 1998.
- Catholic campaign for human development: Still entranced by leftist activism, despite growing unrest, by Kathryn Jean Lopez. Human Events November 10, 2000.
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.)