“A systemic pattern of cooperation with evil…”
WASHINGTON (CNS)—Bishops who work closely with John Carr, who oversees the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, say new claims against him and the agency are false and “totally ridiculous.”
Bishops William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Roger P. Morin of Biloxi, Miss., spoke with Catholic News Service Feb. 3 about recent allegations of “a systemic pattern of cooperation with evil” by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops because of Carr’s past involvement with the Center for Community Change.
“I’m concerned about these attacks on John Carr and I know they are false and I think they are even calumnious,” said Bishop Murphy, who chairs the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, by telephone to CNS. “I am taking this to be a very sad, sad commentary on the honesty of some people in these pressure groups.”
“Personally I think (the claims) are totally ridiculous,” said Bishop Morin, who chairs the USCCB subcommittee that oversees CCHD, the bishops’ domestic anti-poverty initiative, in a separate telephone interview.
A report released Feb. 1 by the Reform CCHD Now Coalition, a group that includes the American Life League, Human Life International and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry, said the Washington-based Center for Community Change “has lodged itself into the highest places of power in the USCCB while working to promote abortion and homosexuality.”
Carr, executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, said he stepped down as chairman of the center’s board in February 2005, and the board never addressed those issues during his tenure.
“My experience with CCC was that it focused on poverty, housing and immigration and had no involvement in issues involving abortion and homosexuality,” Carr said. “When I served, the board never discussed or acted on any position involving these matters, and if they had, I would have vigorously opposed any advocacy for access to abortion or gay marriage.”
Carr was interim CCHD executive director from 2007 to early 2008. With the USCCB restructuring in 2008, he took over a department that consolidated CCHD and the former Department of Social Development and World Peace.
Carr said the CCHD Web site had recommended the Center for Community Change for its anti-poverty work, but when the coalition’s report disclosed that the center supported abortion (“It was news to us,” he said), the recommendation was removed.
The American Life League and Human Life International are Virginia-based groups that oppose abortion and advocate on other pro-life issues. Bellarmine, based in Texas, describes itself as “a Catholic grass-roots organizing ministry dedicated to truth and action.”
The Center for Community Change says its mission is to “build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better.”
According to the Reform CCHD Now Coalition, 31 organizations that have received CCHD grants are among the more than 150 groups that have “partnered” with the Center for Community Change.
Carr said no one from American Life League or Bellarmine had contacted him or anyone else at the CCHD or USCCB before the report was issued.
“I have spent my personal and professional life defending human life and dignity and Catholic teaching, including current efforts to keep abortion funding out of health care reform,” he said.
“I regret that once again the failure to contact me or CCHD has led to unfair allegations in attempts to undermine the essential work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” Carr added.
Bishop Morin said he also has been subject to attacks “almost from the time I became chairman” of the CCHD subcommittee.
“You can have one person with a Web site call you a left-wing radical, and my family is asking me, ‘What’s going on?'” he said. “We’re doing the same thing we’ve always been doing—what is right and good and just.”
Bishop Morin said that although Carr’s primary focus over the years has been on social justice issues, “that does not take away one bit from his commitment to the sacredness of human life.”
Carr also received support from Thomas Grenchik, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.
In a Feb. 2 letter to diocesan pro-life directors and state Catholic conference leaders, Grenchik called Carr “staunchly pro-life” and “a partner in USCCB pro-life efforts.”
“He worked diligently to keep abortion out of the many recent health care reform efforts,” Grenchik added. “Were it not for his efforts and those of others, our country would now be funding abortion and health plans that provide abortion, on a massive scale. …
“This challenge is far from over, and John remains steadfast in his effort to advocate for health care reform that protects human life,” he said.
THE CHARGES FOLLOW
AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE REPORT:
Sleeping with the Enemy: Conference of Catholic Bishops cooperation with pro-abortion organizations
by Michael Hichborn
Released January 31, 2010
The intelligence community has a saying, “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action.” Since August, American Life League has been working with a coalition of Catholic and pro-life organizations, researching groups being granted money by the now infamous Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). During this time, the coalition, Reform CCHD Now, has revealed no less than 50 organizations (one fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) that are in some capacity engaged in pro-abortion or pro-homosexual causes. The sad thing, however, is that these recent revelations manifest a pattern of cooperation stretching back for decades.
Throughout the national campaign this past November, which called on Catholics to withhold donations to the CCHD, the CCHD ran damage control, deflecting or dismissing the charges made against its grantees. Oddly enough, however, the CCHD never responded to the charges concerning the 31 grantees found to be partners with the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Center for Community Change. Among the initial findings regarding this organization are the following:
- CCC received $75,000 in 2007 from the Arcus Foundation specifically for homosexual activism
- Funds donated for the project Generation Change, an initiative to recruit, support and train the next generation of community organizers and emerging social justice leaders through paid internships, fellowships and mentorships for activists from communities of color and from the GLBT community.
- CCC held training seminar for homosexual groups
- From the introduction to CCC’s Movement Vision Project, which embraces “abortion rights” and “reproductive freedom”
- “abortion rights and reproductive freedom intersect with criminal justice. Our solutions must intersect as well” — Introduction to the Movement Vision Project of The Center for Community Change
- CCC produced a Tool Kit celebrating homosexual lifestyles with the following quotes:
- “This conservative strategy also fostered hostility toward those struggling for equal opportunity—people of color, women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and poor people. Individualism, in this context, has meant ignoring and refusing to recognize that barriers to opportunity still exist. It then demonized those of us who would tear down those barriers.”
- “But the old days in the form of 1950’s America was also home to racism, segregation, limited opportunity for women, and hostile to gays and lesbians.”
- Calendar of Community Values News Hooks contains the following:
- “Use this 2008 calendar as a planning tool. It can help you identify opportunities to get out your message about community values. Connecting your press release or op-ed to a holiday or notable/historic date in a unique way can help it get better coverage.”
- May 20, 1996: Romer v. Evans decided by the Supreme Court, ruling against an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians
- June: Gay Pride Month
- June 28, 1969: Stonewall Rebellion helps to spark the gay rights movement
- October 11: National Coming Out Day, commemorating 2nd March on Washington for LGBT Rights
- CCC’s resource library endorses a book supporting so-called “abortion rights”
- “Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change” by SisterSong is an activists’ guide to promoting abortion rights
- The CCC summary for the book says:
- “Need a one-stop shop for information on reproductive justice? Well, SisterSong has got the right tool for you. This series of articles documents the struggle for reproductive justice and bridges this struggle with other issues within the social justice movement such as immigration and queer rights. Additionally, the series touches upon the future of the women’s movement in relation to reproductive justice.”
- The Bellarmine Veritas Ministry reveals even more shocking information on the CCC in its latest report, including CCC support for abortion funding in health care reform legislation.
There can be no doubt that the Center for Community Change’s goals are antithetical to those of the Church, which is why it is strange that the CCHD has yet to address findings regarding the 31 grantees intimately connected with this organization. Even allowing for the possibility that these partnerships with the CCC were mere happenstance, in attempting to understand the CCHD’s silence the coalition took a closer look at the CCC. With great shock, the coalition discovered that the CCHD currently endorses the CCC on its web site, calling it worthy of support.
Could the grantee partnerships with CCC and the CCHD’s endorsements be coincidental? This shameless promotion of an organization whose aims cannot possibly be in line with Church teaching was jarring enough. But more distressing than that is the discovery that the USCCB’s Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development served and chaired the board of the CCC. John Carr, who oversees the entire CCHD, served in both top executive positions at the same time.
Carr, whose work with the CCC goes back at least as far as 1983, was hired by the USCCB in 1987 as the next secretary for social development and world peace. Annual reports from the CCC reveal that Carr was on the CCC’s board of directors in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, serving on the executive committee from 1999-2001. Given his cozy relationship with the CCC, it’s no wonder the CCHD never responded to our concern over grantee membership with this radical group.
But the findings don’t end there. In 2000, while Carr was serving both organizations, the CCHD funneled $150,000 to the CCC. In 2001, the CCHD hosted the Executive Director from the CCC for a presentation at a three day conference and, in 2006, when Carr left the CCC’s board of directors, he was replaced by Tom Chabolla, who worked for Carr as associate director of programs for the CCHD until 2008. In December of 2008, the CCC co-sponsored an event called the “Realizing the Promise Forum,” rallying around the election of Barack Obama. Ralph McCloud, the current Director of the CCHD joined the celebration, proclaiming that “very soon we will see a New Jerusalem.”
The most peculiar aspect of this investigation, however, is the mysterious omission of Carr’s membership and chairmanship of the CCC’s board on his USCCB bio. With great consistency, several brochures, event announcements, forums, and bios for other organizations he is involved with give nearly word-for-word copies of his USCCB bio, with the exception that they mention his involvement with CCC, and the USCCB bio does not. Figuring that perhaps his USCCB bio maintained only current positions, coalition members searched the internet archives going back to 2004, and found that his bio has NEVER mentioned the CCC. The omission is odd and, given the new information, quite suspicious.
Happenstance and coincidence are no longer possible explanations. As a primary researcher for the coalition, what I have discovered is full-blown Catholic cooperation with a pro-abortion and pro-homosexual organization at the highest levels of the CCHD. While John Carr and those he works with in the CCHD may profess to be pro-life, and we aren’t questioning this, the fact of the matter is that whatever justification may be offered for this kind of cooperation is nothing short of the flaccid excuses pro-abortion “Catholics” in public office toss out when they profess to be “personally pro-life, but …”
Regardless of what Carr’s reasons may be, what we would like to know is how the USCCB can justify this explicit cooperation, or if it was even known to them. If the USCCB did NOT know about these unethical relationships and the CCC’s history of anti-life and pro-homosexual activism, why not? Jesus told His disciples “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” As I have repeated since we began our investigation, CCHD staff and leadership are either incompetent or they are complicit. Whatever the case may be, there can be no doubt that the CCHD has completely failed its mission by sleeping with the enemy.
Michael Hichborn is American Life League’s lead researcher on the CCHD and host of the American Life League Report.