Catholic Citizens of Illinois Joins Catholic Media Coalition Boycott of the Annual CCHD Collection

Catholic Citizens of Illinois has once again joined the boycott of the Annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection. The statement of the Catholic Media Coalition is below. After the USCCB announced a review and renewal policy that would improve vetting of grantees, we were hopeful that the CCHD would take a new direction. We have also posted below the Executive Summary of the investigation by American Life League and the partners at Reform CCHD Now which indicate that rather than improvement, the questionable groups that receive grants from the CCHD have actually increased.

CATHOLIC MEDIA COALITION ENDORSES BOYCOTT OF ANNUAL CCHD COLLECTION

For years the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has awarded grants to organizations that work against Catholic teaching, particularly with regard to human life and marriage. Not only have donations from generous Catholics in the pew gone to groups that organize and lobby against Church teaching, but they have indirectly, and even directly, helped to elect liberal politicians who advance evil causes.

In view of the recent devastating report from American Life League and ReformCCHDNow which indicates that the problems continue and have even worsened, the Catholic Media Coaltion endorses a boycott of the annual CCHD collection and urges Catholics to give instead to local organizations that serve the poor. Crisis pregnancy centers, Catholic free clinics and food pantries, Catholic shelters and homes for unwed mothers, organizations that serve the third world through clean water and immunization projects are all worthy alternatives to CCHD.

Despite their assurances to the contrary CCHD continues to funnel a large percentage of donations into community organizing groups and coalitions that are hostile to the faith and undermine the family. That is, certainly, no way to help the poor.

Catholic Citizens of Illinois has once again joined the boycott of the Annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection. The statement of the Catholic Media Coalition is below. After the USCCB announced a review and renewal policy that would improve vetting of grantees, we were hopeful that the CCHD would take a new direction. We have also posted below the Executive Summary of the investigation by American Life League and the partners at Reform CCHD Now which indicate that rather than improvement, the questionable groups that receive grants from the CCHD have actually increased.

Below is the Executive Summary of the 2010-2011 CCHD Grants Report, Frequently Asked Questions Report and the Letter of Dr. William Marshner, the Theologian at Christendom College who reviewed the current grantees.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FOR 2010 – 2011 CCHD GRANTS REPORT

Background

For a number of years, there has been concern with the grants that CCHD distributes. There have been specific complaints that a significant portion of the grants have been given to organizations working in direct contradiction to Church teaching.

In 2009, American Life League joined with several other concerned organizations to form the Reform CCHD Now Coalition. In March of 2010, the coalition sent a report on CCHD to each bishop, showing that, in 2009-2010, 51 out of 237 groups receiving CCHD funding either directly or through coalition membership promoted abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and/or Marxism. Thus, 21% of the groups funded by CCHD were involved in such work.

As a result of this activity, CCHD conducted an internal effort to revamp its grant process and ensure that all grantees adhered to strict guidelines. The results were published in a CCHD Renewal Document.

2010-2011 Grantees

In January, 2011, CCHD published its list of 2010-2011 grantees. At that time, American Life League reviewed the list and was disappointed to see that many of the offending organizations were still on the list and, in fact, others have been added.

The attached report documents that, of the 218 organizations funded by CCHD, 14 are directly involved in activities contrary to Church teaching and 40 are actively involved in coalitions with such activities. Thus, 54 groups (24%) funded by CCHD are involved in anti-Catholic work.

The number, and percentage, of offending organizations has actually INCREASED in the last year -from 51 to 54 groups and from 21% to 24%.

These 54 organizations received a total of $1,863,000 of the $7,608,000 distributed in CCHD grants in 2010-2011.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is the primary purpose of Reform CCHD Now’s (RCN) 2010-2011 CCHD Grants Report?

The primary purpose of the Grants Report is to assist the bishops in maintaining the Catholic identity of the CCHD. RCN supported the USCCB’s effort to strengthen CCHD’s grant guidelines through the review and renewal process. RCN’s 2010-2011 Grants Report is an evaluation of the CCHD’s grantees applying the Review and Renewalguidelines adopted by CCHD after last year’s report.

2) Is the information in this report just based on “unverified web-based information”?

The researchers used Open Source Analysis, a methodology of tools and techniques promulgated by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This research methodology is also widely practiced in investigative journalism and commercial competitive intelligence.

These tools and techniques require the application of rigorous fact checking, source reliability and credibility scoring, and cross referencing with other independent sources for verification. CCHD’s dismissal of this methodology as “unverified web-based information” indicates a refusal to accept the serious nature and reliability of this research.

For more information regarding the reliability of open source analysis seehttp://www.fusion2004.foi.se/papers/IF04-1172.pdf.

3) Was this report discussed with CCHD staff prior to release?

Yes, in April 2011. The 2010-2011 CCHD Grants Report was hand delivered to the executive director of the CCHD and the findings regarding each individual grantee was discussed. Similar additional meetings with USCCB staff took place in the six months prior to the public release in October.

CCHD’s “Response to Recent Attacks on CCHD,” claims “While some progress was made in these sessions, they usually ended with ALL disagreeing with the CCHD mission as set forth by the bishops and CCHD disagreeing with ALL’s efforts to accuse groups of violating CCHD guidelines based on web searches and without any contact with the groups or dioceses.”

1. ALL made clear that it has never disagreed with “the CCHD mission as set forth by the bishops.” ALL is only concerned with the funding of organizations whose actions, agendas, and ideologies are antithetical to Catholic moral and social teaching: advancing abortion, homosexuality, birth control, and Marxism contrary to the CCHD mission as set forth by the bishops.

2. The information contained in the report is factual. To date, CCHD staff does not dispute the facts but disagrees with ALL’s understanding of them.

4) Was this report discussed with bishops prior to release?

Yes. The Grants Report was provided to the head of the CCHD subcommittee in March 2011 and to the president of the USCCB in July 2011. The Grants Report was then sent to the entire body of U.S. bishops in September 2011.

5) Is the information in the 2010-2011 Grants Report old or recycled “charges”?

Thirty-five of the 55 grantees (63 percent) that violate CCHD Review and Renewal guidelines profiled in this year’s report were not in last year’s report. New information on the grantees from last year is also included in the report. The CCHD claim that “These are not new accusations, but a repackaging of past charges” is accurate only in that 20 grantees which were on last year’s report are again profiled this year because funding them continues to violate grant guidelines and Catholic moral teaching.

6) Has the CCHD refuted the findings and evidence outlined in the 2010-2011 report?

In the CCHD’s “Response to Recent Attacks on CCHD” document, CCHD offers no specific response to any evidence contained in the full report. The response claims, “They [ALL] rely almost exclusively on unverified web-based information and primarily on Internet sites of organizations that are NOT funded by CCHD.”

As was addressed in the question on methodology [FAQ #2], this statement is not accurate.

1. Primary Sources: Information that an organization posts on its own website is a primary source, i.e. an organization’s own statement of its actions, ideologies, and agendas. In essence, it is the official public face of that organization.

For example, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (page 78 of the report) listed its friends and colleagues as follows:

National Organization for Women, Equality Cincinnati, International Socialist Organization, and P-FLAG: Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays.

IJPC promoted these organizations that advocate for abortion, same-sex marriage, and/or Marxism. This information is not unverified, nor was it found on some other website. This is irrefutable. (IJPC has since updated its web site but the screen capture is within the report.)

2. Secondary Sources: Information collected from other websites, media outlets, and documents related to CCHD grantee activities include press releases, official grant reports, annual reports, program guides, event announcements, voting guides, and other such sources. Such documents do not constitute “unverified web-based information,” but are indeed standard sources used both in research and legal proceedings.

The veracity of these materials is deemed to be highly reliable because they are not based upon rumor or hearsay, are subject to public scrutiny, and are official reports from various organizations regarding the activities of themselves and their participants and members.

7) What are the findings regarding coalition memberships of CCHD grantees?

The CCHD guideline very clearly states, “CCHD will not fund groups that are members of coalitions which have as their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”

The report details dozens of grantees with coalition memberships that defy Review and Renewal grant guidelines. All information provided was cross-referenced and verified from a variety of independent and primary sources. Attributing all these violations to rogue employees and errors of membership does not seem plausible.

8)Has the report been reviewed by a moral theologian?

Yes. The report was thoroughly reviewed and analyzed by Dr. William Marshner, professor of theology at Christendom College. Click here to read Dr. Marshner’s findings regarding the moral validity of the report.

Mr. Paul Rondeau, Executive Director

American Life League

Sir:

Last week, you expressed the wish that a moral theologian review your “Investigative Report on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s Grants for the Year 2010-2011,” prepared this July; and I volunteered to do so. My academic credentials and publications are available for inspection on the website of Christendom College, where I have taught for over 30 years. I should confess at the outset that, before turning to the academic life, I worked for several years in journalism and was published in periodicals distinctly critical of what many churchmen accepted as “renewal” in the decade after the close of Vatican II. Since then, I have come to accept the pastoral wisdom of the Church’s “preferential option for the poor,” of which the CCHD is a striking expression. I therefore undertake this review with sincere personal sympathy for the Campaign and sincere respect for its guiding principles.

As you say on p. 3 of your well-organized Report, it is CCHD policy that “no grantee may participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Church.” The moral basis for this policy is the fact that funding an organization is practical willing (as opposed to just wishing) that it succeed in what it regularly does. Hence the funding of an organization is formal cooperation in what it regularly does.

But in Catholic moral theology, it is never licit to cooperate formally in an immoral project. Hence a CCHD grantee must not do or promote, as a regular part of its work, anything evaluated by Catholic doctrine as immoral. Thus the CCHD policy is morally sound. But its implementation is another story. Your Report has documented at least 11 cases which, in my judgment, are cases in which prima facie the grantee has done or promoted an immoral activity.

These cases are:

Centro Campesino (granted $35 K), which distributes condoms, as CCHD now admits; it claims to have defunded the group, but evidence for this correct decision is not yet forthcoming; the bishops are owed an explanation of what exactly has been done;

Somos un Pueblo Unido (granted $45 K), which trains immigrant women to advocate “reproductive justice” (i.e. contraception and abortion) and which took from other sources at least two grants to do so; CCHD has yet to explain its lack of response to this information;

NY City AIDS Housing Network (granted $30 K) which is listed on an NYC government website as a place to get condoms; CCHD has yet to explain its lack of response;

Southwest Organizing Project (granted $ 45 K); which is involved in the Elev8 sex-ed program, which distributes condoms and IUDs and refers for abortions at Marquette Middle School in Chicago; CCHD was informed of this problem by its own regional director, Mr. Rey Flores; to date, CCHD has explained neither its lack of response nor its termination of Mr. Flores;

Desis Rising Up and Moving (granted $ 35 K), which advocates and participates in groups advocating sexual “liberation” and abortion;n Michigan Interfaith Voice, A.K.A. Gamaliel of Michigan (granted $ 25 K), which has taken grants from the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual Arcus Foundation to advance Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) rights, which include a “right” to be legally “married”;

Michigan Organizing Project (granted $40 K), which has taken grants from the Arcus Foundation for the same purpose in 2007-2009 and in 2011;

Coalition LA (granted $45 K), which produced a voters’ guide favoring same-sex marriage and telling people to vote NO on the ballot-measure to repeal it; the issue here is not just how the state will treat homosexual persons but whether state law will abandon the meaning of the word ‘marriage’, contrary to Catholic doctrine;

Women’s Community Revitalization Project ($40 K), which sponsored a pro-abortion voter’s guide in Pennsylvania and took money from a feminist, pro-abortion organization called Women’s Way; CCHD was informed of this problem in 2009 but re-funded the group in 2010; since the bishops of PA have played an historic role in the pro-life cause, they are certainly owed a specific explanation of this payment to their declared enemy;

Philadelphia Unemployment Project (given $25 K), which, despite its good work toward issues of workers’ compensation, sponsored the same kind of pro-abortion voter’s guide; in a state as heavily Catholic and Democratic as Pennsylvania, it passes belief that the Church cannot find a pro-labor organization that keeps fully clear of the culture of death;

Restaurant Opportunities Center of NY (given $40 K), which produced “guidelines” telling businesses to make questionable accommodations to LGBT preferences, including permission to cross-dress during work-hours and to choose whichever lavatory suited the worker’s subjective preference.

In every one of these cases, the grantee has behaved in such a way that continued funding puts the Church in a position of formal cooperation (or in the apparent and proximate danger of formal cooperation) with moral evil. The problems with United Workers Association, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, and Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights are addressed below in conjunction with organizations cited in the coalitions category of the Report.

Your Report also documents many cases which pose a lesser but still serious problem, namely, that of unwise material cooperation. These are cases in which a CCHD grantee has affiliated with (or become a member of) some broader organization (hereafter: umbrella group) which sponsors, advocates, etc., actions and positions of which the Church cannot approve. With commendable clarity about this problem, CCHD policy reads as follows: “CCHD will not fund groups that are members of coalitions which have as their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”

Again, the policy is correct and seems straightforward, but its implementation is problematic. You list 13 umbrella groups; given your documentation of what appears on the websites maintained by these groups, it is prima facie the case that CCHD grantees belonging to them violate the policy just stated. They ought to be defunded, and yet they are not.

I see only two ways to explain this situation. Either the policy is not really adhered to, or else its wording is a work of the lawyer’s art, in which ‘organizational purpose or coalition agenda’ is a technical expression meant to exonerate umbrella groups whose immoral activity is not their sole or primary public purpose. In that case, the policy is too tightly drafted, in my judgment. It fails to secure the moral good for whose sake one avoids material cooperation with evil wherever possible: the moral good of giving no appearance of evil.

You also provided for my review some recent correspondence of yours with the Campaign. It is good to see that a dialogue has been begun. Still, I cannot be satisfied with CCHD’s blanket dismissal of much of your Report, on the ground that your information is taken from websites.

Everyone knows that websites can be in error or out of date. But why would a grantee or umbrella group post and maintain on its own website false or obsolete information? To say the least, one needs to see specific explanations. Perhaps providing such explanation would require man-hours of work to which the CCHD does not think ALL, as an outside group, is entitled. But the bishops of the United States are most certainly entitled.

With hope that these reflections may be of use to you and to the Church, I am

Yours in Christ,

W. H. Marshner,

Professor of Theology

Christendom College

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