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Defending Community Organizers: Don't be misled about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development
America - The National Catholic Weekly ^ | NOVEMBER 24, 2008 | David Gibson

Posted on 11/20/2008 10:08:57 AM PST by Alex Murphy

Is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, well, Catholic?

That’s the question raging in the wake of a controversy over the fact that the CCHD has given funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the voter-registration and poverty-fighting program that is now universally-recognizable by its acronym, ACORN. Most organizations would normally covet such branding, except that in ACORN’s case it came by way of a reported embezzlement by one of its executives and accusations that an ACORN worker tried to file false voter registrations. In the midst of a presidential campaign, that was more than enough to turn ACORN into a weapon against Barack Obama, because Obama had worked with ACORN during his community organizer days in Chicago years ago.

Indeed, the political atmosphere was so negative at the time that the role of “community organizer” itself became an instant epithet at the Republican convention thanks to sneering references from Sarah Palin and Rudy Giulani.

The end of the campaign didn’t do much to tamp down the criticism, however, and the CCHD became collateral damage as news spread that the organization, since 1969 the premier poverty-fighting program of the Catholic Church in the United States, had provided more than $7.3 million in grants to ACORN over the past decade. That covered about 320 projects poverty-fighting, according to Catholic News Service. In an already super-charged political atmosphere, that’s all it took. In a denunciation that America blogger Austen Ivereigh declared “manifestly unjust,” Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things, said that the CCHD, “misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.” Father Neuhaus noted that the word “Catholic” had been dropped from the organization’s name, rightly in his view, since it “has nothing to do with Catholicism,” and he announced that CCHD funds support “pro-abortion activities and politicians.”

In reality, the CCHD has been and remains the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and CCHD officials point out that the organization does not back any initiatives that contradict church teaching—only those that help the poor move out of poverty. All grants go to projects “with objectives and actions that are fully in accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” the CCHD says. Partisan activity is prohibited, and the local bishop approves every grant.

Still, the charges by Neuhaus and others echoed around the ecclesial blogosphere and in viral emails, prompting the U.S. bishops to take up the issue at their fall meeting in Baltimore last week. This debate also became a political football in a sense, as some bishops openly questioned whether the CCHD was funding anti-family initiatives while others privately wondered if the whole program should be revamped or even shut down. The guilt-by-association has led to grave deep consternation at the CCHD, which shares offices with the bishops’ conference in Washington.

On one level there is concern that some bishops, especially younger prelates, don’t understand the CCHD’s grounding in the fundamental tenets of Catholic social teaching on the dignity of the human person; in fact, the organization roots its mission in the teachings of the catechism on the common good (#1913) as well as in the words of the late Pope John Paul II, who once praised the CCHD as “a witness to the Church’s living presence in the world among the most needy.”

Anxiety over the level of support from the hierarchy was eased somewhat when the CCHD reception for the bishops generated what NCR’s John Allen described as an “all-star” turnout of top Catholic brass, from cardinals to USCCB leaders. Allen quipped that the open bar and promise of “heavy hors d’oeuvres” may have helped. But he also noted that several bishops privately said they turned out explicitly to show their support for CCHD. “In effect, the reception sent a signal that the recent controversies have not caused the bulk of the bishops to lose confidence in the CCHD or its objective of funneling Catholic resources to anti-poverty groups around the country, whether they’re church-affiliated or not,” Allen wrote.

Moreover, during the bishops’ meeting, Auxiliary Bishop Roger P. Morin of New Orleans—head of the committee overseeing CCHD—reassured his brother bishops that the CCHD had suspended all grants to ACORN after the embezzlement reports emerged last June. While a forensic audit was ongoing, Bishop Morin said, indications so far are that “our funds were not involved with those embezzled at the national office” of ACORN.

The greatest concern, however, is that the public criticism could hurt the CCHD’s annual appeal, which is set for the weekend of Nov. 22-23. Ralph McCloud, the new executive director for the CCHD, last week tried to dispel suspicions, saying that despite the reports, “The overwhelming reality is most of the groups we fund do tremendous work.” But calls by Neuhaus and others to boycott the appeal could continue to resonate, and the extent of the damage—which could be especially damaging to anti-poverty programs in light of the incipient recession—will only be known after the collection concludes.

Yes, the CCHD is Catholic. Unfortunately, the question sounds like a joke. But it doesn’t have a punch line.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: acorn; cchd; dncfalseprophets; gramsci
In reality, the CCHD has been and remains the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and CCHD officials point out that the organization does not back any initiatives that contradict church teaching—only those that help the poor move out of poverty. All grants go to projects “with objectives and actions that are fully in accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” the CCHD says. Partisan activity is prohibited, and the local bishop approves every grant.
1 posted on 11/20/2008 10:08:59 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Catholics who pay attention haven’t been giving money to CCHD.


2 posted on 11/20/2008 10:17:44 AM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: nickcarraway

Is CCHD funded by Catholic Charities?


3 posted on 11/20/2008 10:26:20 AM PST by mia
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To: Alex Murphy

The truth is that America is run by the Jesuits and it and they are not Catholic so to listen to their ideas about CCHD is absurd.


4 posted on 11/20/2008 10:34:22 AM PST by veritas2002
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To: veritas2002
The truth is that America is run by the Jesuits and it and they are not Catholic so to listen to their ideas about CCHD is absurd.

I presume you mean "America the National Catholic Weekly" and not "America the country", correct?

Is the statement "the local bishop approves every grant" true? If so, is the local bishop not Catholic, too?

5 posted on 11/20/2008 10:38:30 AM PST by Alex Murphy ( "Every country has the government it deserves" - Joseph Marie de Maistre)
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To: mia

“Is CCHD funded by Catholic Charities?”

I would also like to know the answer to this question.

Is there any relationship between these two entities with “Catholic” in their names?


6 posted on 11/20/2008 11:06:18 AM PST by eCSMaster
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To: Alex Murphy

Have you always been a troublemaker?


7 posted on 11/20/2008 12:32:32 PM PST by veritas2002
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To: Alex Murphy

“America” is a leftist rag that purports to be Catholic, but really is anything but. It leads the way in dissent, and can be relied upon to pimp for a radical agenda. Its approving opinions regarding the CCHD and its beneficiaries are the best proof of the CCHD’s thorough corruption.

They do not speak for the Church, and are increasingly prone to chiding from it since Benedict has become pope. In fact, their previous editor, Thomas Reese, a Jesuit (naturally!) resigned under pressure from the Vatican within a month of Benedict’s assuming the papacy.

For any Catholic at least “trying” to pay attention, America’s POV is worth less than nothing.


8 posted on 11/20/2008 12:39:30 PM PST by magisterium
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To: magisterium
“America” is a leftist rag that purports to be Catholic, but really is anything but. It leads the way in dissent, and can be relied upon to pimp for a radical agenda....They do not speak for the Church, and are increasingly prone to chiding from it since Benedict has become pope. In fact, their previous editor, Thomas Reese, a Jesuit (naturally!) resigned under pressure from the Vatican within a month of Benedict’s assuming the papacy.

Good info, and a good warning. My one concern is this one phrase, found in the article:

...the local bishop approves every [CCHD] grant...
Regardless of the publication it appeared in, can you confirm if that one statement is factually true?
9 posted on 11/20/2008 1:48:45 PM PST by Alex Murphy ( "Every country has the government it deserves" - Joseph Marie de Maistre)
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To: eCSMaster; mia

I’m pretty sure the answer is no. CCHD is funded by a special collection once a year. I think the intention is something like helping a food co-op that served the poor and also employed them.

There are often good objectives but after it gets past a few committees it often goes to pet projects and often does little good.

It is like our tax money, we know how we’d like it spent or not spent but the politicians spend it any way they want to. Don’t give to any of the 2nd collections that are apportioned by committees, only give to Peter’s Pence and the Holy Land which have specific targets. Use your charity to help those around you, don’t let it keep you from being charitable but allow it to make you wise in your giving.


10 posted on 11/20/2008 2:00:47 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: tiki
Thanks for the advice.
11 posted on 11/20/2008 5:31:54 PM PST by mia
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To: Alex Murphy

It’s more along the lines of each bishop is responsible for authorizing a collection at each parish, and forwarding the proceeds to the CCHD headquarters. He is also going to be in the decision-making loop for any direct dispersals within his diocese.

I suspect, but certainly cannot prove, that many bishops have the wool pulled over their eyes as to the real motivations behind CCHP and its beneficiaries. Of course, many of those bishops aren’t exactly looking very hard, and some of them simply do not want confirmation of what they’ve heard by way of “rumor,” so it might be more important than ever for Catholics in the pews to saturate the collections with evidence along the lines of the article heading this thread.

I would suppose that only a relatively small number (maybe 10%) of the bishops actively support CCHP while having full knowledge of what they’re up to. Most of them seem to think it’s rather benign, and seem “shocked” about its ACORN connection. Bombarding them with the evidence this Sunday should help square them away in that regard.

If so, maybe next year we can celebrate the liquidation (or at least the complete severing of ties with the Catholic Church) of this odious coven of evildoers.


12 posted on 11/20/2008 7:06:27 PM PST by magisterium
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To: magisterium

Another thing is that bishop’s often relegate responsibility. Just like the pope they can’t be everywhere at once.


13 posted on 11/20/2008 8:13:14 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: veritas2002

**The truth is that America is run by the Jesuits **

Not true anymore.


14 posted on 11/21/2008 4:10:06 AM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Alex Murphy

Every grant application that riginates within a certain diocese (and ACORN has been good at originating grants in MANY dioceses across the country) is reviewed by what is called the “Diocesan Director for CCHD” who is often also the Dir of Catholic Charities. (S)he reviews the grant, visits with the principles and then advises the bishop on its worthiness. I doubt if any bishop has evber reviewed a CCHD grant request. My guess is that every bishop just signs on the dotted line. The grant request is also reviewed by the CCHD person in Washington with the Diocesan director. The CCHD will decide how much is awarded to the grantee. The diocese gets to keep 25% of the CCHD collection which is a sort of kick-back to do the bidding of the CCHD and support its nonsense.


15 posted on 11/21/2008 5:52:59 AM PST by veritas2002
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To: veritas2002
Every grant application that originates within a certain diocese (and ACORN has been good at originating grants in MANY dioceses across the country) is reviewed by what is called the “Diocesan Director for CCHD” who is often also the Dir of Catholic Charities. (S)he reviews the grant, visits with the principles and then advises the bishop on its worthiness. I doubt if any bishop has evber reviewed a CCHD grant request. My guess is that every bishop just signs on the dotted line. The grant request is also reviewed by the CCHD person in Washington with the Diocesan director. The CCHD will decide how much is awarded to the grantee. The diocese gets to keep 25% of the CCHD collection which is a sort of kick-back to do the bidding of the CCHD and support its nonsense.

Thanks for the information. That 25% is a mighty big motivator for the bishop to "look the other way", especially if the diocese is struggling financially.

16 posted on 11/21/2008 6:38:12 AM PST by Alex Murphy ( "Every country has the government it deserves" - Joseph Marie de Maistre)
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To: magisterium; Alex Murphy
I suspect, but certainly cannot prove, that many bishops have the wool pulled over their eyes as to the real motivations behind CCHP and its beneficiaries.

I doubt this. It seems apparent that as long as a "social justice" organization stays away from abortion they will get their support. The problem the bishops are finding is that once the congregation has been infected with this "social justice" thinking the congregation won't listen to them on other issues. It was evident in this last election.

If so, maybe next year we can celebrate the liquidation (or at least the complete severing of ties with the Catholic Church) of this odious coven of evildoers.

Not likely, conservatives are a minority in the RCC.

If it's any consolation, conservatives are not nearly the majority in Evangelical churches as they once were.

17 posted on 11/21/2008 7:29:25 AM PST by wmfights (Elections have Consequences!)
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To: wmfights
Don't doubt it. Most bishops seem to think that outfits like CCHD really are helping the poor. They might be more warm and fuzzy about it than the conservative members of their flocks, but it seems clear that many of them do not know the extent of the subterfuge agenda that underlies much of the money they contribute to these kinds of organizations. They're kind of naive, really.

Though certainly not all of them. I don't deny that some of the bishops are knowlingly complicit in the CCHD agenda. And there are even a few who are openly opposed to it. But the majority fill-in the complacent role and just go along.

The tapdancing with the Democrats is slowly coming to an end, as the bishops see how they've been used, misued, and abused over the years, and the lefties will stomp on them over abortion and other "life issues." The enabling organizations, such as CCHD, that have hung on the Dems' coattails for years will also fall out of favor at about the same time. Unfortunately, the greater portion of the current crop of bishops over 55 or so are not the brightest bulbs on the tree (having been largely nominated by Archbishop Jean Jadot, who really was something of a true-believing Leftist operative), so they'll have to learn the hard way. But they will learn.

18 posted on 11/21/2008 8:36:12 AM PST by magisterium
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To: Alex Murphy

“accusations that an ACORN worker tried to file false voter registrations”

Talk about a white-wash. Yeah, it was just an accusation of AN, as in ONE, worker trying to file false voter registrations. Uh huh. One. Yup.

The article loses all credibility right there.


19 posted on 11/21/2008 8:44:21 AM PST by piytar
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To: wmfights
Not likely, conservatives are a minority in the RCC.

Sorry, I forgot this part. I would say this is incorrect. Simply because it is true that, if you discount "Christmas and Easter" Catholics, "Cafeteria Catholics" and the like from the mix, you will find that those who are left - actual "practicing Catholics," are much more likely to be conservative politically than their name-only confreres.

I would say that this is the basis for a fair comparison. Certainly, there are millions of name-only and lapsed members of just about any major denomination in this country; lumping them into the mix would yield similar accusations of "liberal tendencies" in just about all of the denominations they represent. Yet the media and pollsters convieniently find other labels for them, and fail to make the distinction for Catholics. Similarly, among those who say they're still believers, they make distinctions for ethnic subsets within non-Catholic ranks that they categorically refuse to do within Catholic ranks. Case in point: a large percentage of blacks in this country are churchgoers, yet they, as a group, voted for Obama at rates exceeding 95%. They are never lumped-in with the evangelical or fundamentalist Christian groups they belong to, for purposes of political polling. Yet, Hispanic Catholics, who voted for Obama at an 80% rate or so, get counted twice. Their voting trends are referenced within the Hispanic mantle, and, in other polls, they find themselves lumped-in with Catholics in general when the "Catholic vote" is dealt with by pollsters.

I would file this "Catholic Vote" business under Looks Can Be Deceiving.

20 posted on 11/21/2008 8:50:30 AM PST by magisterium
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To: magisterium
Sorry, I forgot this part. I would say this is incorrect. Simply because it is true that, if you discount "Christmas and Easter" Catholics, "Cafeteria Catholics" and the like from the mix, you will find that those who are left - actual "practicing Catholics," are much more likely to be conservative politically than their name-only confreres.

I would agree to some extent. I believe the numbers go up to 55% for McCain in that group. The same can be done for Evangelicals and you get about 75%. Overall I think when you lump all Protestants together it was about 55% for McCain and for Roman Catholics it was 45%.

I'm looking at the %'s and see that Christian churches in this country have a huge problem. We can look at the %'s and argue my #'s are better than your #'s but it doesn't explain why so many people who say they are Christian can vote for someone who believes babies that survive an abortion should be left to die.

I think the decentralized structure of Evangelical churches lends itself to this problem and the social justice bent of the RCC churches does the same. Also, I think churches have become meeting places and not centers for worship. Finally, the concept of church discipline doesn't get talked about enough, or exercised.

21 posted on 11/22/2008 6:05:53 AM PST by wmfights (Elections have Consequences!)
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