Tag Archives: Industrial Areas Foundation

Alinsky Groups, Child Porn Convict, Socialist Tied to CCHD Funding

2009 CCHD Boycott

Found in my combox this morning: A Free Republic Exclusive…

The annual CCHD (Catholic Campaign For Human Development) collection will be held in churches this coming weekend-November 21 and 22.

This is the same group that was giving money for years to the Saul Alinsky-style group called ACORN before ending its relationship with the controversial group.

After much criticism for its leftwing funding, the CCHD has supposedly tightened up their standards. Unfortunately these new standards are not working because the CCHD is still funding groups that:

-Have a registered sex offender (child porn) on the staff
-Are working to change laws so you can not refuse to rent to convicted criminals
-Have an admitted socialist and friend of Code Pink member Jodie Evans as Executive Director.
-Have direct ties to Alinsky’s “Industrial Areas Foundation”

Step by step evidence with links:

The “Baltimore Catholic Campaign For Human Development”‘s website list grants awarded in 2009

Under “National Grants”, the last group listed is:

Out for Justice / Alternative Directions – Baltimore
“A second year CCHD organizing grant will enable this project to continue to address and empower largely unrepresented persons inside and outside the prison system, with special attention on reentry into society. Contact: Mary J. Davis, 2505 N. Charles St. Baltimore 21218 Phone : 410-889-5092

The listed address for this group is also the employment address of Jay Sherr, according to the Sex Offender Registry of Maryland.

Now check out the photo on the Alternative Directions “Our Staff” Page Yep, there he is. The child pornographer himself is on their staff!

Out for Justice states on its website its 2009 priority issues. #3 was ending unjust housing discrimination described this way: “it is within the right of the landlord to ask about the criminal background of an individual and deny housing based on that background” This is something that Out For Justice wants to end. They want sex offenders and criminals like Mr. Sherr to be able to live in your private rental unit… and the Catholic Church is funding this effort!?

I really don’t want money from my church collection paying a child pornographer’s salary. I really don’t want money from my church collection to fund efforts to change the law so sex offenders like Mr. Sherr can live near me or my children.

Another group that received money from CCHD under “National Grants”

3. 45,000 – Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC) “This 5th year community organizing grant continues to give voice to displaced home owners and renters, seeking new and alternative housing in the technological park/redevelopment areas, adjacent to Johns Hopkins Hospital facilities in east Baltimore. Contact: Nathan Sooy, Executive Director

Nathan Sooy has a long history as a community organizer and is a member of “Democratic GAIN”-a professional association for individuals and organizations that work in Democratic and Progressive politics.

From his social profile at the leftwing Huffington Post, we learn CODE PINK’s Jodie Evans is a friend. More on Jodie Evans here and here

. On a post at Mother Jones, Mr. Sooy wrote: “I believe that the GOP will use these racial statements by Wright to sink Obama if he becomes the Democratic nominee. And I think that they will be successful. I take great sorrow in that.”…and later writes…. “So, on April 22nd I am going to vote for Hillary Clinton for President.”
March 21, 2008 – 10:29am Post on Mother Jones

Mr. Sooy doesn’t just post at leftwing blogs, here at Andrew Brietbart’s Big Government (go to 4th comment by “Vetbill” and click on “1 reply” to see Mr. Sooy’s post) he brags about being a community organizer in the Alinsky tradition and defends socialists:

“As a thirty year community organizer in the Alinsky tradition I say quite clearly – SO WHAT? Democratic Socialists of America is the American version of the Labor Party in England. And as to the fact that there are democratic socialists among rank and file Democrats – I say quite clearly – DUH! The Democratic Party has had a social democratic (democratic socialist) faction since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. ”

Another Alinsky group getting funding from the CCHD in 2009 was #4 under “National Grants”: P.A.T.H. (People Acting Together in Howard) According to its website P.A.T.H. is a part of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)- a Chicago based community organizing network established in 1940 by…Saul Alinsky.

Word of questionable donations by the CCHD is once again spreading, causing Bishop Loveerde Of Arlington Virginia to notify his priests not to add any negative commentary to their announcement of this second collection:

“I am aware of the serious concerns about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection. After much research and consultation, I have decided to authorize the collection again this year. Attached is a letter explaining my decision that you can make available to your parishioners. It will also run in the Herald next week. I expect that this collection will be taken up in our parishes the weekend of November 21-22 without any negative commentary. Please announce this collection as you would any other second collection.”

The CCHD has released a carefully worded statement trying to defend itself against charges it was funding groups that went against Catholic teaching. It claims that “CCHD funds will not be used to support any application which is sponsored or promoted by an organization whose primary or substantial thrust is contrary to Catholic teaching”. So as long as its not primary or substantial, groups can be against the church and still get funding from the CCHD?

In the last two defense examples the CCHD listed in the above document, it admits they were giving funds to two groups that had to be canceled in San Francisco. It also admits it has temporarily suspended funding to a group in Portland and a group in Philadelphia in order to conduct more research. This is in addition to its previous suspension of money for ACORN mentioned above. All of these admissions and changes were due to people doing the research the CCHD did not or would not do.

This is not an attack on the Catholic Church. I am Catholic. I want my fellow Catholics to know where their money is going. Mine is going to the “Little Sisters Of The Poor” this coming weekend. Please don’t hold back your donations for the poor, just redirect them to a more worthwhile charity.

Please also go over the list of CCHD funding recipients for your archdiocese and research them.

CCHD BOYCOTT: Catholic Citizens of Illinois calls on all Catholics to boycott the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development on the weekend of November 22 and 23.

aurora-acronym-horz           Editors Note: Fratres supports Catholic Citizens of Illinois call for boycotting The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Media Coalition petitions for reforming CCHD, and will be participating in The Great ACORN Rebellion of 2008. We do encourage support and care for the poor and suffering among us, and so here in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, we ask that you consider the good, but underfunded, works of Project Aurora:

Project Aurora creates and sustains dignity based youth and family services throughout Oregon. They act to offer our youth all the tools and life strategies necessary in order that they may be well equiped in first understanding, and then, living authentic sexuality.

On the other end of the spectrum, Project Aurora provides abortion healing and recovery services by offering regularly scheduled (2008-09) Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats in Portland, Salem, and Medford.

I encourage you to join me in supporting the good works of these healer’s through your financial contribution. For an in-depth illustration of this organization’s work in our communities and to donate click here

james mary evans – Story follows:

Catholic Citizens of Illinois…

           When the Catholic Bishops of the United States established the Campaign for Human Development in 1970, they mandated the Campaign to fund “such projects as voter registration, community organizations, community-run schools, minority-owned cooperatives and credit unions, capital for industrial development and job training programs, and setting up rural cooperatives.” It was subsequently renamed the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, with prohibitions on funding of projects that were not in conformity with Catholic moral teaching.

           The CCHD was sold to Catholic parishioners with a slogan of “a hand up instead of a hand out,” but instead, CCHD has heavily invested in the political organizing techniques of Saul Alinky, a Marxist organizer from Chicago who founded the nationwide Industrial Areas Foundation, which in the Chicago area is known as United Power. United Power has been financed by various mainline Protestant churches and has made great inroads into the Catholic Church in Chicago, recruiting parish ministers and receiving funding from various parishes through dues and contributions. For all practical purposes, United Power is an extension of the far left wing of the Democrat Party.

           In a November 4 report in The Washington Time, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that it has hired forensic accounting specialists to investigate more than $1 million in church funding to voter-registration group ACORN, suspecting that the money may have been spent in criminal acts that would negatively impact the tax exempt status of the Church.

           The CCHD has given more than $7.3 million to ACORN over the past decade for about 320 projects, including $900,000 in 2006 and $1,110,000 in 2007. In June or this year, the Catholic Church allegedly froze a $1.2 million grant for 38 ACORN chapters after the community-organizing group was accused of voter fraud in 15 states. Critics of the CCHD have challenged the USCCB to provide evidence of the freeze and confirm that no payments have been made to ACORN in 2008.

           Mary Anne Hackett, President of Catholic Citizens, commented, “It is well know that ACORN played a major role in the current financial crisis by intimidating banks through public rallies, invasions of bank lobbies with large groups of ACORN activists and picketing bank executives homes. ACORN bullied banks into making loans to people who could not repay them. To avoid vilification as racist, local banks were forced to make loans to unqualified borrowers, even allowing them to use food stamps as collateral for the loans.” These practices have caused the failure of several major financial institutions and the damage continues to reverberate through the economy.

           Mrs. Hackett stated further, “Funding campaigns for socialist programs and Democrat Party candidates has no place in the mission of the Catholic Church or in service to the poor.” The funds are collected from the Catholic parishioners with no accountability to them for the expenditures. Nor does the Campaign for Human Development fund Catholic Institutions and apostolates that work with the poor.

           “The Catholic Church, through its contributions to ACORN, is complicit in voter fraud and the failure of our economy. This must stop,” said Mrs. Hackett. Catholic Citizens of Illinois calls on all Catholics to boycott the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development on the weekend of November 22 and 23.


Catholic Citizens of Illinois is an independent organization of the laity, faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the Pope Benedict XVI.

November CCHD Appeal… Not One Red Cent! – Catholic Church funds ACORN and systemic wars by Stephanie Block

Action Post Update: Join in “The Great ACORN Rebellion of 2008”

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has funded Alinskyian ACORN organizations promoting abortion and the gay agenda for 40 years. Isn’t time to stop?

     The Catholic Campaign for Human Development [CCHD] uses a diagram with two footprints to explain its work. One footprint says “Direct Services” and lists good works such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless. The other footprint is labeled “Social Change” and lists, among other things, legislative networking, advocacy, and community organizing. “You need both to walk,” the diagram explains [CCHD, “Poverty and FaithJustice,” 1998, p. 20].

     The distinction between direct services and “systemic” issues – the changing of problematic social structures – isn’t difficult to understand. One can translate through a pro-life illustration: We see a frightened woman about to enter an abortion clinic. She is threatening to “terminate her pregnancy” because she needs many practical things: diapers, rent money, a friend to talk to, and a place to stay. Those are the goods and services the prolife community offers her. They are celled “direct services,” that is, they respond directly to the immediate needs of this suffering human being.

     Prolife people are also interested in “social change,” however. The problem isn’t only one woman’s moral choices. She has come to the abortion clinic because the society she lives in tells her that this is the right thing for her to do. It’s legal, for one thing. Her boyfriend and her girlfriends and perhaps even her minister have assured her that she’s making a responsible decision. In such a climate, pro-life activists must work not only to offer each troubled young mother an option to abortion but to help the people around her understand that the life of the pre-born child is precious. So long as there is a culture of death, the numbers of women seeking abortions will be high.
How do pro-lifers work to change this prevailing culture? They do several things.

     Pro-lifers work legislatively – that is, they attempt to change bad laws and work for life-sustaining legislation, eyeing the day when there will be a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution protecting a human person from the moment of conception to the moment of his natural, God-ordained death.
They also work educationally – that is, by attempting to teach people about the horror of abortion, the humanity of the fetus, the practical options to a mother in difficult circumstances, and the beauty of chastity.

     Lastly, and most significantly, they work spiritually – that is, with the prayerful and humble certainty that injustice is a fact of life unless every heart is turned toward God. Irresponsible personal behavior must be changed before the society at large will change. That’s the ideal battle plan against abortion. It includes a response to the individual’s immediate needs and it works for social change. It’s a two-pronged, common sense approach to a complex problem.

     Now, apply the same principles to another issue: poverty. Just as there is a community of people who are pouring out their hearts and goods to “stop abortion,” there is a community of people who want to “end poverty.” This is not only a good thing, it’s what those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus are called to do. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Christians have an impressive history of direct services to the poor.

     Like pro-lifers, people who work to help the poor recognize that there are problems in the fabric of society that tend to exacerbate poverty. Irresponsible personal behavior or unfortunate circumstances such as ill health may be causes of poverty but it, too, may be rooted in societal structures – take the epidemic of divorce, for example. Any attempt to address poverty that fails to recognize societal structures imprisoning even responsible people in crushing situations will fail. Added to which, there is certainly ignorance among some people who are materially comfortable about the problems the poor face. Like pro-life issues, poverty is complex and calls for both direct services and a gamut of legislative, educational, and spiritual responses.

     Therefore, a Catholic examines the Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection, which purports to “help the poor,” and wants to know how it accomplishes its mission. He does not ask this because he believes the Church should stick to direct service and eschew “social change” but because he needs to know that the changes proposed by CCHD grantees are something Catholics ought to be supporting. Are they commensurate with Church teaching?
What do CCHD grantees seek to change? How do they seek to change it? These questions aren’t academic. Catholics pour a lot of money into the CCHD.

     Saying one simply wants to “change” is too vague an ambition. Libertarian, free-market capitalists and the card-carrying communists both believe their economic system will help the poor, and they work hard to change present structures to resemble the ideals of their own philosophies. Both have potential benefits for the poor; both have historically wronged the poor in unspeakably horrible ways. Neither adequately reflects the Catholic position. So again, one asks, what is the change CCHD promotes and how does it seek to bring about that change?


     The “how” it seeks to bring about “social change” is easy to answer. CCHD was created in 1970 primarily as a funding mechanism for community organizing projects in its incipient “Crusade Against Poverty.” Writing in 1989, Sanford Horwitt claimed:

As for the Roman Catholic Church, its commitment [to Alinsky-style community organizing, particularly the Industrial Areas Foundation] both in principle and funding is stronger than ever. Except within certain religious and activist circles, it is not widely known that the Church’s Campaign for Human Development expends most of its $8 million annual budget in grants to community organizing and related grassroots empowerment efforts. And many recipients of CHD largess are IAF-directed projects.

     These Alinskyian faith-based organizations are “seeded” with money so they can proliferate in parishes around the country. They, in turn, educate people in member congregations to engage in “civic discourse,” to understand how the game of politics is played – as they understand it – and to develop the courage to confront public leaders in issues of concern to their communities.

It sounds good, so far. The problem with Alinsky-style organizations is that, however well-intentioned their organizers and leaders may be, Alinsky’s philosophical understanding of what it takes to engage in civic discourse is extremely unethical. Specifically, Alinsky taught that the ends justify the means and that “truth” is decided by consensus.

From Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals we learn:

  • “The third rule of the ethics of means and ends is that…the end justifies almost any means.”
  • “The seventh rule of the ethics of means and ends is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics….There can be no such thing as a successful traitor, for if one succeeds, he becomes a founding father.”
  • “The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments….Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means….All effective actions require the passport of morality.”

Elsewhere in his primer for radicals, Alinsky writes:

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it….By this I mean that in a complex…society it becomes increasingly difficult to single out who is to blame for a particular evil….One of the criteria for picking the target is the target’s vulnerability…as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the “others” come out of the woodwork very soon…the other important point in the choosing of a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract…Many liberals, during our attack on the then-school superintendent, pointing out that he wasn’t 100% devil, he was a regular churchgoer, he was a good family man, and he was generous in his contributions to charity. Can you imagine in the arena of conflict charging that so-and-so is a racist bastard and then diluting the impact of the attack with qualifying remarks…this becomes political idiocy.

The “target” in question here, of course, is a fellow human being who has been unjustly demonized.
The contemporary IAF, far from repudiating Alinsky, has built upon his work: Mary Beth Rogers, in her book Cold Anger, writes:

All participants in the Industrial Areas Foundation national training programs are given a reprint of a 1933 article by John H. Randall, Jr. titled ‘The Importance of Being Unprincipled’…The thesis is that because politics is nothing but the ‘practical method of compromise,’ only two kinds of people can afford the luxury of acting on principle…everyone else who wants to be effective in politics has to learn to be ‘unprincipled’ enough to compromise in order to see their principles succeed.” (FN p. 214)

     Then, there is the problem of Alinsky’s relationship to “truth.” Alinsky wrote: “An organizer working for change…does not have a fixed truth – truth to him is relative and changing.” So how does a community decide what values it will use to do business? Are those “other people” – the principled ones – welcome in the community or not? Truth by consensus is as problematic as an ethics that justifies its means by its ends.

     Yet the contemporary IAF is confident of its philosophical base to produce good: “Ernie Cortes, a key figure in network [SW Regional Director of the IAF], pointed out, the IAF methodology bears resemblance [to the] ‘critical method’ of Karl Popper, philosopher of science, who argued for a view of ‘truth’ not as a positive assertion, but as theories formulated out of practice and aimed at problem solving that had not yet been refuted.” [Harry Boyte, Commonwealth: A Return to Citizen Politics] Karl Popper coined the term “open society,” which refers to a form of social organization in which “nobody has a monopoly on the truth.”

     From where, then, are ethical principles to come? If they are not fixed in the nature of things – if they are not simply true but are to be determined through a process of collaborative inquiry – anyone with an agenda can easily manipulate the outcome.

     These twin problems of ethics and truth make Alinskyian organizations such as the IAF a dangerous CCHD grantee, because people subjected to IAF training are being taught a way of looking at the world, or at least, a way of looking at politics, that contradicts Catholic social justice teaching, Catholic ethics, and the natural law.
And yet, over a third of CCHD money is spent on Alinskyian organizing.

     Thanks in part to its CCHD grants, the IAF has tripled its presence around the United States in the last decade – and much of that presence is in Catholic parishes. Do these Alinskyian organizations do no good? Of course they do, but it isn’t enough to do good works. Legitimate social justice activism must be predicated on the truth, understanding that although some Church teachings may not be popular (consider the reception of Humanae Vitae), justice can only be accomplished when moral laws that govern the human spirit are obeyed. 

     That said, the “works” performed by Alinskyian community organizations often are quite controversial. For example, a close look at the major CCHD-funded Alinskyian organizations’ – IAF, PICO, Gamaliel, ACORN, and DART – educational policies reveals a support for education “reform” that has often resulted in deeper academic failure. That failure pales beside the moral failure of the Church to its people who have been trained in Machiavellian politics with the Church’s blessing, but it’s a practical consequence of a faulty philosophy.


     That’s how the CCHD seeks to bring about systemic change, but the “what” part of the question remains to be answered: what is the change CCHD-funded Alinskyian organizations promote?

     The IAF has waged a long-standing battle to fight the perception that it is “Communist.” Saul Alinsky, who had no compunction – up to a point – about working with Communists, was investigated by the FBI in 1940 – 1941 and found innocent of any remarks or actions against the United States government, or in favor of any foreign government. 

     Yet a problem remains. The IAF undeniably holds liberationist – Christian socialist -positions. It has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the liberation theology hub of North America, the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) of San Antonio, which was used by the Texas IAF as a training institute to educate the clergy and civilians on ‘social justice’ issues. The lead organizer of the San Antonio IAF local (and later Southwest Regional Director of the IAF) was an instructor at MACC, whose own founder and director was Alinskyian trained.

     Besides eschewing absolute or objective truth, the IAF, like Marxist organizations, has adopted the concept of “class analysis,” uses the techniques of “popular education” (conscientization), and seeks to change the values of participants, replacing them with the values of the organizer. In an organization grounded in much of the same worldview as Marxism, and using many of the same techniques to recruit and organize people, it’s hardly surprising that the IAF also has many of Marxism’s goals.
The function of the Industrial Areas Foundation and similar Alinsky-style organizing networks is to establish the community base for comprehensive federal structures.

     Empowerment Zone economic revitalization packages, school-to-work schemes, and Nehemiah Housing Developments all have two common features. They each deliver a medley of services: health care, childcare, housing, social services and education reform packages, financed with federal money. Their other feature is that the reception of this federal assistance is contingent upon community-based institutions – like the IAF, Gamaliel, PICO, ACORN, or DART – to coordinate and presumably “humanize” deliverance of these funds.

     Such a highly controlled educational, health, welfare and economic system is, in short, a socialized system. CCHD-funded Alinsky organizations seek to eventually draw member institutions into what they call the “third way” of governance – that is, community-based service provision.
It doesn’t happen immediately. Newly established community organizations need to be trained to civic action and consensus-building. Local leadership must be tested. Religious institutions, useful for their “social capital” (in organizing parlance), networking, and wealth must have their vision bent to work toward a worldly kingdom rather than Christ’s. That’s accomplished in small, non-threatening steps.

     But older, established organizations demonstrate the bigger picture. Baltimore’s IAF local, BUILD, has been around since the 60s and has received many years of CCHD grants. BUILD is an actor in a federally funded “neighborhood transformation” project whose efforts include providing total health care to all residents, expansion of job opportunities, monetary assistance toward the rehabilitation of old housing, and the construction of new housing. BUILD works with ACORN and the Democratic Socialists of America to promote “living wage” legislation. These are important social changes.

     But the deeper changes are in the religious understanding of people involved with BUILD. A prayer service conducted by the organization illustrates how the Christian message is distorted and used by the IAF: “Somehow the Kingdom will come on the earth. BUILD, if you are a mighty people, if you are a noble people, if you are a great people, there’s forests out there. There’s land to be filled. There’s work to be done. Won’t you be counted in the army of the Lord?” [Harry Boyte, Commonwealth: A Return to Citizen Politics, (New York: The Free Press, 1989), chapter 7, “Repairing the Commons,” p. 114].

     This is not systemic change toward a more just society, but systemic change of a profoundly ideological order. So we look again at CCHD’s diagram of the two footprints. Where are those feet taking us? And do we really want to contribute to the journey? Maybe not.

Stephanie Block writes for Los Pequenos, a New Mexico-based newspaper and produces videos available at YouTube.

How to Shoot Yourself: One of the Most Potent Weapons Serving the Culture of Death by Stephanie Block

The Catholic Church is one institution in contemporary society, perhaps the only one, that has consistently decried the evil of abortion at all stages and by all methods. Yet in the United States, it promotes a charity that puts large sums of money into the hands of those who serve the culture of death.

It takes a certain degree of sophistication to follow this donated money along its various circuitous routes, but failure to do so is deadly.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development ((C)CHD)1 – aided and abetted by glitzy ad campaigns and appealing slogans – spends million of dollars annually on organizations that have death at the end of the trail.

Biting the Hand that Feeds: The Industrial Areas Foundation in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas

In 2002, about 30 employees from four Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Brownsville signed union contracts with their pastors. The union is the (C)CHD-supported United Farm Workers.2

The situation is intriguing from a number of viewpoints.

First is the consideration of the paid church employee. Hasn’t he the same needs as any other worker? Is it just that he may find himself terminated without unemployment compensation?

The bishop has another perspective. Lay personnel in chancery and parish offices are a fairly new phenomena in the history of the Church. The religious who formerly held such positions worked for the love of God and had the safety network of their communities. While the lay employee may be every bit as idealistic and committed as the religious of the past, the social structures that protected religious employee from personality conflicts and economic vicissitudes simply don’t exist for the laity. From where should the safety net come?

Unionization, the solution under consideration, puts parish employees, their pastors, and bishops, into complex relationships. Priests coming into a new parish are bound by the negotiations of the predecessors, for example. Personnel changes become increasingly cumbersome, bureaucratic and external to parish life. These are not attractive developments.

Just how unattractive was seen one year after the ink on the union contracts had dried. Rev. Jerry Frank was moved from the unionized Holy Spirit in McAllen, June 2003 and the newly appointed Rev. Ruben Delgado promptly dismissed four of his parish workers. Parishioners from the four unionized parishes protested.

The fur flew. According to Fr. Frank, the firings were arranged by the bishop to break the union. According to the bishop, the protests were orchestrated events, not spontaneous expressions of public displeasure. 3

The bishop ought to know. The four unionized churches have more in common than the United Farm Workers union. For one thing, they are all members of the (C)CHD-supported Valley Interfaith.4 Fr. Frank and Rev. Bart Flaat, then pastor of St. Joseph the Worker of McAllen, have both been particularly active as Valley Interfaith leaders.5

In addition, although not too surprising if one knows the longstanding connections, Fr. Frank’s parish is the seat of dissident Call to Action activity in the diocese.6 Immediately after the firings, the local Call to Action chapter had 300 people meeting at a local community center, and calling for the bishop’s resignation.7

The situation has compelled national Call to Action attention. A national spokesman for Call to Action was interviewed in the McAllen paper.8 Over a dozen articles about the four firings are carried on the Call to Action website.

The bishop, sounding defensive, is quoted as saying: “I have always been an advocate for social justice in Texas. I have supported labor’s right to collective bargaining, and I support it now. Cesar Chavez [founder of the UFW] was my friend, and as a young priest I supported his organizing efforts.”9

He’s speaking the truth. Bishop Raymundo Peña has been a strong supporter of Alinskyan organizing as far back as 1982, when he was bishop of El Paso.10 In addition to his friendship with the United Farm Workers, Bishop Peña helped found the El Paso Interfaith Sponsoring Committee (known as EPISO), a local affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). The IAF is a network of organizations which includes Valley Interfaith and which receives, through its affiliates, between 15% -16% of (C)CHD funding annually.

But Alinskyan organizations teach that there are no permanent enemies or allies. Bishop Peña enjoyed Valley Interfaith, and its attendant Call to Action, support only so long as he followed their agenda. Once he crossed them, they bit back hard.

There’s another issue in this (C)CHD story in all this, buried beneath the layers of betrayal, honest struggle, and raw manipulation. A press release celebrating the 5th anniversary “miracle” of El Milagro Clinic is on the St. Joseph the Worker parish of McAllen website. It says that El Milagro was opened thanks to “three years of hard work by leaders of Valley Interfaith,”11 which has received well over half a million dollars of (C)CHD grants in the past ten years.

What doesn’t appear on the St. Joseph the Worker press release is that El Milagro clinic is one facet of the Integrated Health Outreach System Project (IHOS). IHOS is a “community health development approach” that partners various health care workers, educators, and human services. It sounds innocuous until one examines the project’s partners, including Planned Parenthood, which is working weekly in the colonias, doing patient screenings.12

The betrayal is complete. Buried behind layers of rebellion against Church teaching and hidden within the secular and highly politicized organizing of the “Interfaith,” the culture of death comes disguised as the Church to vulnerable immigrant women – your (C)CHD dollars at work.

ICO: Healthcare in California

Another network of affiliated Alinskyan organizations is the Pacific Institute for Community Organizing – PICO. PICO receives about 6% of the annual (C)CHD budget.

The California Right to Life was particularly disturbed by mobile health vans that travel around to different area dispensing health care services. As these vans are under the supervision of the County Public Health Department, they refer their clientele, including school children, to county agencies and non-profits such as Planned Parenthood that dispense birth control and abortion. Families without medical insurance are encouraged to sign up for Healthy Families, a California medical care program with options to cover such referrals.

The Contra Costa PICO affiliate was the primary promoter of the mobile medical van. In addition, PICO affiliates are the major source for lobbying in Sacramento for more school-based health clinics and government health care programs.

Even more insidious, individuals have become “application assistants” within their church communities, trained and authorized to sign up fellow congregants with Healthy Families.13

How is a simple person expected to sort through this? The gift of medical care is a life and death issue. Here is the church community, offering to help sort through the bureaucratic maze of applications. A list of benefits arrives in the mail – including the ability to obtain contraceptive drugs and a quick fix for unplanned pregnancies. It sure looks as though it’s Church approved.

Weaving Abortion into the Package: The Chicago IAF’s “Metropolitan Mega-Creature”

Chicago’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) affiliation received organizational assistance of amazing magnitude on March 16, 1995. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of the Archdiocese of Chicago and other sponsoring churches from the city’s main-stream denominations held a news conference at which they announced that they would be paying $2.6 million over the following six years to organize Chicago churches. 14

What was being organized? The US Catholic provides a pretty good description of the Chicago IAF: 15

 First of all, United Power is enormous-with 340 congregations and organizations from the entire Chicago metropolitan area, which claims a population of 7.5 million, and initial pledges of almost $3 million. “Nothing before has been attempted on this size and scale,” says Chambers.

Second, it includes-in addition to churches, synagogues, Muslim mosques, and Buddhist temples-a vast, growing enrollment of secular entities: labor unions, hospital and health networks, civic coalitions, and professional groups. As a result, says Chambers, United Power should be regarded as “a broad-based citizens’ organization” rather than a strictly congregation-based one. “We’re trying to draw on both the faith tradition in the churches and the democratic tradition in unions and associations,” he says.

….Only months later, after dialogue and consultation within all sectors of its map, did the organization announce two major initiatives: obtaining health coverage for the uninsured and making home ownership more available. Meanwhile, United Power groups in various areas began to flex their own muscle, winning a few victories-for example, helping to establish a transitional residence for formerly homeless women in Chicago and obtaining a $1 million federal grant for services for the homeless in the northern suburbs.

Some fear the titanic size of this new creature will make it unwieldy, if not impossible to steer, but Chambers insists organizations of great size stand a better chance of success in the New World Order and in the free market system of the third millennium.

The standard-size community organization must give way, in Chambers’ view, to something grander and more potent. City and suburban dwellers at last understand and acknowledge their interdependency, he says. Organizations working just for the poor or minorities will not succeed, in his view, because there’s no such thing as a single issue or a small social problem: Great power must be confronted with great power.

…. Following on the Chicago initiative, IAF launched in 1998 a similar, though smaller, project in Boston and suburbs called the Greater Boston Interfaith Community. Also in the New York City metro region, IAF is pulling together seven existing community groups into a metropolitan mega-creature.

The same process, says Chambers, is under way in the Los Angeles area with six smaller organizations merging into one big one.

In Texas, which has been a hotbed of IAF activity for 25 years, 12 of its organizations have formed a less formal cooperative network to address statewide problems such as funding for schools, job training, and immigration services. “All our organizations are expanding and pulling in the suburbs, becoming more metropolitan,” says Sister Christine Stephens, C.D.P., supervisor of the Texas network. “Two thirds of our people are poor, but we need allies to create change, and everybody’s beginning to realize that.”16

A large percentage of the “seed money” to build the Chicago IAF, $1 million, came from the Archdiocese of Chicago.17 (C)CHD money came into play later, to support the expansion of this mega-creature. It also funds some of the subsidiary organizations within the larger IAF coalition.18 These (C)CHD-funded organizations then pay dues to the Chicago IAF affiliate. It’s quite an arrangement.

What are they building?

As described by the US Catholic article, one of the Chicago IAF’s first areas of concern is healthcare. To that end, it initiated the Gilead Campaign for the Uninsured, which seeks to expand health coverage in a number of ways, using already existing network of private providers to complement public health efforts.19 It also created the Gilead Outreach and Referral center to connect uninsured people with health benefit programs.

Health organizations participating in the design of the Gilead Center include Advocate Health Care Network. Advocate Health Care maintains a number of hospitals and community health care centers as well as a parish-nursing program (that has operated in several Roman Catholic churches).20 It is also an abortion provider. Advocate’s abortion policy states that abortions may be done “prior to fetal viability when identifiable factors that significantly threaten the life or health of the mother or of the prospective newborn are adjudged to be present, or in the event of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.”21

Another organization participating in the design of the Gilead Center is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME). AFSCME is one of the organizers of a march on Washington being planned for spring 2004 in defense of abortion “rights.” Other organizers are NARAL, NOW, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.22

AFSCME is a member of the Chicago IAF.23

Most of what this IAF Gilead Project will do is helpful to poor people. But the help comes at an unspeakable cost. Government and foundation money raised to support the project – and at least $2 million is committed so far24 – goes not only to support vaccinations and well baby checkups but contraceptives and abortions. Advocate Health Care swells its clientele with the ranks of the uninsured…with the blessing and assistance of the neighborhood pro-life Catholic church. There’s a diabolical irony in that.

FLOC: Unity above Morality

The case of Baldemar Velasquez, President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), is a particularly sad one. Velasquez is a Catholic who has never feared to speak openly about his Faith. In fact, the Faith is an important part of FLOC organizing, because so many of its members are Mexican migrant workers who take their Catholicism seriously.

In return, Velasquez’ work has been highly honored in Catholic circles. He was given the Campaign for Human Development’s Development of People Award in 1992 and various FLOC locals are annual recipients of Campaign grants.25

In 1999, The Labor Party held its First Constitutional Convention in Pittsburgh, attempting to hammer out party policies. The issue of a universal health-care campaign, dear to many Catholic social activists, was hotly debated, focusing on the language around “a woman’s right to choose” and linking a universal health care system to a “full range of family planning and reproductive services.” Some groups wanted abortion to be specifically rejected by the party; others wanted abortion to be specifically guaranteed.

At last, Baldemar Velasquez addressed the convention. With an air of moral authority, “He argued that he and his members believed that life began at conception, but eloquently argued that building unity in the class struggle was more important.” 26

So, there you are. Unity in the class struggle is more important to the Catholic organizer Baldemar Velasquez than the deaths of 40 million human beings who have no (C)CHD-funded union to fight for them. Something in Velasquez’ sense of justice rings false.

FLOC, despite the oftentimes righteous words of Velasquez, was one of the supportive participants in the UN’s 1995 Beijing Platform for Action for Equality, Development and Peace, designed among other things to assure “reproductive rights” to women all over the world – whether they want them or not. In fact, Chile’s pro-life government is concerned that ratifying the UN Protocol may overthrow Chile’s constitutional law protecting the lives of children yet to be born, branding it a “rights abuse.” 27

The Deadly Dozen: Politics Above All

Another (C)CHD funded network is ACORN, which generally takes 5-6% of the national (C)CHD annual budget. It’s one of the most flagrantly political among (C)CHD’s grantees, having formed a political party, the New Party, in a political alliance with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), among others.

There’s no secret about ACORN’s political activism. In 1999, Illinois ACORN president and Chicago New Party chair, Ted Thomas, became a Chicago alderman from the 15th ward.28 ACORN state chair in Arkansas, Jonnie Pugh, was recruited by the New Party in 1998 to run for city council in Little Rock. 29 And in New York, the Working Families Party, which is affiliated with the New Party, was co-chaired by NY ACORN president Bertha Lewis.30

The New Party is pro-abortion. It’s website links to such “friends” as the Abortion Rights Activist Home Page, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproduction Rights Action League), and NOW (National Organization for Women).31

ACORN is also pro-abortion. Maud Hurd, ACORN’s national president, was a speaker at Expo ‘96 for Woman’s Empowerment.32 The purpose of the exposition was to develop a response to “the conservative use of ballot initiatives to attack women’s rights and to galvanize a right-wing vote…”33 The Expo promotional material stated that: “The attack on women’s rights and sex discrimination law has galvanized our coming together….Never before has the woman’s movement been under so much attack…”34 This network of feminists seeks to “…ignite the women’s movement on the fight to saveaffirmative action and sex discrimination law; will develop a feminist national budget for the United States; and will envision a feminist future.”35

Since politics, to the Alinskyan trained mind, is about building power, ACORN allies itself to progressive politicians – many of them Catholic. For example, ACORN was the originator of the Living Wage movement, which is also supported by the IAF. They have waged dozens of living wage campaigns across the country.36

The Harvard Living Wage Campaign, run by the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) is one such localized effort. It staged a student “sit-in” that demanded raises for Harvard employees who were paid less than a “living wage.” AFL-CIO president John Sweeney (who not only leads the country’s largest union organization but also serves as an advisor to the United States Conferenceof Catholic Bishops)and Sen. Ted Kennedy gave speeches at the sit-in and the AFL-CIO sent 2 of its lawyers to negotiate with the Harvard administration. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry also endorsed the campaign. A local Catholic Church held Mass for the sit-in students. 37 The (C)CHD-funded Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (an IAF affiliate) and local ACORN are both supporters.38

Kennedy and Kerry are at home in the above scenario. They have progressive viewpoints that compliment the aims of the student protestors. They are also two of the “Deadly Dozen” identified by the American Life League as politicians who campaign as Catholics, make a point of receiving Communion, but who feel free to dissent from Church teaching in their public lives. 39

The Catholic members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, of which there are well over a hundred, cast more votes in favor of abortion than not. In fact, Catholic politicians – whose Church teaches the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception – have demonstrated a worse voting record on life issues than their Presbyterian and Methodist counterparts.40

Defenders of progressive politics argue that politicians like Kennedy and Kerry are important for their broad spectrum of positions and that no single issue – like abortion – ought to disqualify them from representing a constituency that, after all, voted them into office and is itself extremely diverse.

Catholics respond that once there is a failure to respect life at its beginning and at its end, a critical injustice has been perpetrated that has such magnitude, such darkness, that issues of well-being are dwarfed. After all, a dead man is beyond the reach of economics, health care, education and other worldly considerations.

The network of politics and power grabs and self-interest makes it painful to accept that we Catholics are as much – if not more – to blame for our aborting country than our pro-abortion neighbors. We know. We have Church teaching, with its constant reminder that human life is sacred.

This year, when the collection plate comes around, remember that you can sabotage Church teaching with a flick of your wrist. You can shoot it down by paying for organizations to fight for health clinics that dispense contraceptives and make abortion referrals. You can shoot it down by paying for organizing that supports pro-abortion politicians. You can shoot it down by paying for organizing that trains Catholics to dissent.

Just don’t be surprised by the blood on your hands.


1 We have written the acronym for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development with parentheses around the first “C” – (C)CHD – to indicate that we are referring to the organization both before and after the word “Catholic” was added to the name in 1998.

2 Margot Patterson, “Employees Unionize at Four Texas Parishes,” National Catholic Reporter, July 19, 2002.

CHD grants to the UFW in McAllen date back to 1970-1971 (CHD 1970-71 Annual Report).

Jeannine Zeleznik, “Employees of the Four Valley Catholic Parishes Unionize,” The Monitor, July 3, 2002.

3 Sarah Ovaska, “Bishop: Protests ‘Carefully Orchestrated,'” The Monitor, June 21, 2003.

4 “Member and Supporting Churches of Valley Interfaith,” May 1984; Valley Interfaith has received the following (C)CHD grants, according to (C)CHD annual reports: 1992 – $55,000; 1993 – $60,000; 1994- $58,000; 1995 – $50,000; 1996 – $65,000; 1997 – $50,000; 1998 – $50,000; 1999 – $90,000; 2000 – $80,000; 2001 – $90,000. Total (C)CHD grants to Valley Interfaith over the 10 years between 1992-2001: $ 640,000.

5 Nate Blakeslee, “A Victory in the Valley,” The Texas Observer, September 3, 1999: “…Father Jerry Frank, pastor of Holy Spirit parish and one of Valley Interfaith’s most outspoken leaders.”

National Pastoral Life Center, San Antonio, The 2000 Parish Ministry Awards Banquet program: It announces the Communion and Mission Award to The Parish of St. Joseph the Worker, McAllen, Texas, for the parish’s Valley Interfaith activism, accepted by its pastor Rev. Bart Flaat and Sr. Maria Sanchez.

6 Call to Action’s webpage: Regional Chapters section. Local contact for Rio Grande Valley CTA chapter is David Saavedra www.cta-usa.org

David Saavedra is identified in several articles as a “member of Call to Action” and a parishioner at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen, TX, e.g. Sarah Ovaska, “Call to Action Moves to Pry Loose Church Documents,” The Monitor, July 1, 2003; Sarah Ovaska, “Holy Spirit Members Gather to Plan Protest,” The Monitor, June 23, 2003. Holy Spirit in McAllen was Fr. Jerry Frank’s parish until June 2003 — “Bishop: Protests ‘Carefully Orchestrated…'”

Our Lady Queen of Angels Communities, a member of the Texas IAF Valley Interfaith, is listed as a Call to Action participating community. The listing includes a description of Our Lady Queen of Angels Communities:”We… are actively involved in working to change our social reality through Valley Interfaith of the Industrial Areas Foundation.” [Call to Action Renewal Directory, 1998 Internet Edition, Texas listings.]

7 “Bishop: Protests ‘Carefully Orchestrated…”

8 Sarah Ovaska, “Holy Spirit Members Gather to Plan Protest,” June 23, 2003.

9 Lee Hockstader, “In Texas, Parishioners Protest Church Firings,” Washington Post, July 5, 2003.

10 Stanley Interrante, “A Plan for Revolution through Church Structures and Finance,” The Wanderer Press, 1982.

11 “El Milagro 5th Anniversary,” December 12, 2001: www.sjwmallen.homestead.com/files/milagro/milagro.html

12 South Texas Academic and Outreach Program, School of Rural Public Health, “The Achievements of the Center Include,” undated.

Also, Texas A & M University System, Health Science Center, Press Release for the Integrated Health Outreach System Project, November 25, 2002.

13 California Right to Life, “Mobile SBCs/Parish Nurses,” November 9, 2000 & “Healthy Families Program, Cont’d.” November 22, 2000.

14. The Wanderer, March 16, 1995, citing an undated Chicago Sun-Times article by Andrew Herrmann.

15 The Chicago IAF affiliate is called United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ).

16 Robert McClory, “Wherever Two or Three Thousand Are Gathered…,” US Catholic, March 2000.

17 . Crain’s Chicago Business, February 20-26, 1995.

18 In 2001, (C)CHD granted $40,000 to the Diocese of Joliet’s “DuPage Sponsors,” which became DuPage United and works with the Chicago United Power of Action and Justice (UPAJ) and Lake County United. A few examples of (C)CHD funded organizations that belong to UPAJ are the Southwest Organizing Project that received a $45,000 (C)CHD grants in 2001and 2000, Logan Square Neighborhood Association that received a $40,000 (C)CHD grant in 2000 and $30,000 in 1999, and the Resurrection Project that received $25,000 in 1999.

19 Gilead Campaign for the Uninsured, http://www.tresser.com/gilead.htm

20 Advocate Health Care, “Advocate Parish Nursing Program, www.advocatehealth.com

21 By Liz Townsend, “Abortions Continue at Controversial Hospital in Illinois,” National Right to Life News, November 1999. http://www.nrlc.org/news/1999/NRL1199/illi.html

22 Jonathan D. Salant, “Abortion Rights Groups Call for March,” Associated Press, June 10, 2003.

23 United Power for Action and Justice, Inaugural Assembly agenda October 19, 1997.

24 Gilead Campaign for the Uninsured, http://www.tresser.com/gilead.htm

25 The 2001 (C)CHD Annual Report showed $25,000 going to FLOC in the Diocese of Raleigh and $25,000 in the Diocese of Toledo; $30,000 was granted to FLOC in the Diocese of Raleigh in 2000; $25,000 was granted to FLOC in the Diocese of Toledo and $30,000 in the Diocese of Raleigh in 1999.

26 John Hinshaw, “The Labor Party’s First Constitutional Convention: Building a Working Class Party,” Against the Current, 1999.

27 Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, “Chilean Senate Fears for Sovereignty if UN Document Is Ratified,” Friday FAX, 1/25/02.


28 Wayne State University Labor Studies Center, Living Wage Campaigns: An Activists Guide to Organizing a Movement for Economic Justice www.laborstudies.wayne.edu/Resources/guide2002.pdf

29 Zach Polett, “Fair Housing Drives New Party Growth in Little Rock,” National Housing Institute Shelterforce Online, September/October 1998.

30 Sol Stern, “ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities,” City Journal, Spring 2003.


Also: “New Party Gains,” The Progressive Populist, May 1999

31 www.newparty.org/links.html

32 “Expo ’96 Speakers Include Over 160 Leaders, Thinkers, Activists,” Feminist Majority Foundation webpage: http://www.feminist.org/action/speakers.html. Held in Washington, DC, the 1996 National Feminist Exposition was a Who’s Who of radically pro-abortion groups: National Organization of Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), Catholics for a Free Choice, and many others.

33 “First Ever National Feminist Exposition Draws Over 3200 Feminists from Across the Nation despite Winter Storm,” Feminist Majority Foundation/Expo ’96 Press Release, Washington DC, February 2-4, 1996. Feminist Majority Foundation webpage, http://www.feminist.org/action/expo.html.

34 “First Ever National Feminist Exposition to be Held in Washington, DC” Press Release put out by the Feminist Majority Foundation, January 17, 1996. Feminist Majority Foundation webpage, http://www.feminist.org/news/pr/pr011796.html. Quoting Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the convening group of Expo ’96.

35 Ibid. The Feminist Majority Foundation, primary coordinator of the Feminist Expo, has been an advocate in the campaign to legalize the abortifacient RU 486 in the United States. [“Statement of Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation President, on FDA Hearings Concerning the Approval of Mifpristone (formerly known as RU 486].” Feminist Majority Foundation webpage, http://www.feminist.org/news/pr/pr071996.html.]

36 Employment Policy Foundation: “The Living Wage Movement: Gaining Momentum, Executive Summary,” undated.

37 Alexander Gourevitch, “Awakening the Giant: How Living Wage Movement can Revive Progressive Politics,” The American Prospect, May 30, 2001.


38 Harvard Living Wage Campaign endorsers: http://hcs.harvard.edu/~pslm/livingwage/originalpage/endorsements.html

39 American Life League ad, “The Deadly Dozen: Crusade for the defense of Our Catholic Church,” launched January 2003. Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry both voted in favor of the U.S. Senate / Harkin resolution (SA 260) which declared that the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade was appropriate, secures an important constitutional right, and should not be overturned.

Kennedy sponsored a bill to lift the current moratorium on preborn tissue transplantation, opposed a bill to ban the cloning of human embryos, and opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion/infanticide. He supports federal funding of abortions and, in 1987, was instrumental in the defeat of pro-life Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

John Kerry supports federal funding of abortions and abortion counseling. He has voted against requiring parental notification for minors’ abortions and voted three times against banning partial-birth abortion procedures.

40 Robert Kendra, Pro-life (Anti-Abortion) Legislators and the Catholic Population for 2000.