22 November 2009

Should we give to the CCHD?

Catholics in the U.S. will be asked this morning to donate to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.  In the last few years the CCHD has been criticized for giving money to groups that support a variety of "social justice" causes that conflict with Catholic teaching.  The bishops have assured Catholics that these groups have been de-funded.  

Here's the difficult thing.  Community organizing groups often funnel grant money to secondary and tertiary groups that are not immediately known to the granting institution.  CCHD may give $50,000 to "Save Our Neighborhood," who grants $20,000 to the "Park Project," who then grants $10,000 to the local abortion clinic for improvements to its security fence.  Maybe some in the CCHD know about this, many don't.  It's hard to track the money.  Layers of groups with complex bureaucracies and innocent-sounding names, claiming to do worthwhile things can easily hide their activities from the original granter.  I used to write grants for one of the largest public universities in the South.  You wouldn't believe the layers of waste that the money has to filter through!

Now, should you give to the CCHD?  Here's what Archbishop Chaput has to say: 

People, first of all, should be prudent. They shouldn’t just jump to rash conclusions. I have seen some blogs that are excessive in their judgment of the issue and are harsh in what they say.

Some of the members of the CCHD staff who have allocated funds from the collection have made mistakes, and I think the Campaign itself admits that.

Whether these mistakes are frequent enough for people to be as upset as they are is a matter of the facts: They have to look what the facts are, not just jump to conclusions. People shouldn’t believe everything they read or be upset with the kind of intensity that I’ve seen, because I think that intensity leads to blindness.

I think that people can contribute to the collection without worrying that they are supporting causes that conflict with Church teaching.

At the same time, Jesus tells us that our treasure should be where our heart is. If people don’t like the decisions of the Campaign staff and their allocations, one of the ways they can show their displeasure is by withholding funds from their diocesan collections. It’s unfortunate that mistakes have been made, and I think the staff has to be more cautious and more critical in its judgment.

There are many ways of responding to the situation. We bishops serve ourselves and the collection well if we are honest about mistakes, try not to make them again, and move on appropriately. 

Fair enough.  So, give if you are called to it. . .but at the same time hold the CCHD accountable to Church teaching.


  1. Anonymous6:04 AM

    Yes, I like what Archbishop Chaput has to say. And on the same line, it is unfortunate that the link on the CCHD page for current funded works is down as we can not verify or deny information that we are receiving.

    We are not called to Blind Obedience.

    And the rule of thumb in our house is if I can't understand it, or if it has been questioned and questionable in the past, and I can't verify it....the answer is an easy NO.

  2. This year, at least, the answer is NO!

    For documentation why, I call your attention to Reform CCHD Now and to Bellarmine Vertitas Ministry, which list the most recent CCHD grantees who worked AGAINST the eternal truth that the Catholic Church teaches. By the way, the video at the first link, produced by American Life League, is EXCELLENT.

    But there's a bigger issue. As "Uncle Diogenes" puts it, "Skepticism about the CCHD's bait-and-switch rhetoric has been expressed ... on the grounds that the public appeal is aimed at the relief of poverty, while the funds collected are aimed at overcoming poverty: political manipulation of the state purse.


    And the question is: Why?

    You see, if you only fund groups that "empower the poor" or (insert your favorite buzz word here), then, inevitably, GRANTS WILL BE GIVEN TO THESE KINDS OF MARXIST-LENINIST ORGANIZATIONS.

    Bottom line: I'm not going to give to CCHD until their grant-giving criteria are changed so that groups that work directly with the poor CAN get grants.

    "Uncle Diogenes" has a great suggestion: Instead of CCHD, give directly to Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity. No doubt about the MCs!

  3. Anonymous9:13 AM

    I can't speak for the practice of the CCHD, but theoretically the goal of 'overcoming' poverty and 'empowering' the poor are not mere buzzwords or subterfuge, but are directed toward wiser use of resources. They reflect the wisdom of the adage 'Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.' Rather than merely giving food and shelter to the needy (as necessary as they are), one should also do what one can to help such persons overcome their poverty by 'empowering' them, e.g., by giving job training, child care, domestic violence counselling, etc. Offering both direct aid and other social services fit with the broader aims of Catholic social teaching which above all respects persons and works for a more just society. The funding of social services may have led to politically or religiously objectionable grants, but goal of aid beyond direct assistance is still a worthy one.

  4. Well-said, Anony.

    So the Bishops themselves should assemble actually-Catholic groups who do that work, rather than hoping that secularist 3rd-parties will do it.

    Remember: Bp. Bernardin was the one who established CCHD. Somehow, none of this comes as a surprise.

  5. I totally agree with CCHD's motivation about teaching a poor man to fish. But I dislike the CCHD because what it funds does no such thing. As a creature of the 70's, and therefore tainted by the Gramscian invasion of the Church, it thinks that a simple problem as poverty is a cultural problem.

    I've seen many successful programs that actually empower the poor by teaching them skills that they may use to make a living in the service industry, for instance. How does this compare with funding an NGO with lofty goals on paper and wealthy Marxist directors?

    The whole approach of the CCHD is a farce and it should be made extinct for good. I'm doing my part by not providing it any penny.

  6. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about this today...our second collection was for our parish music ministry :)

  7. I have always believed "charity should begin at home."

    Money should be collected in each deanery and doled out, in that deanery, by a lay board comprised of one person from each parish.

    Each charity should be thoroughly vetted and a report submitted before one dime goes out.

    And I agree with anon - give them something that will improve their life after their short term needs are met.

    Here in Idaho, the diocese spends money to print half our newspaper in Spanish. How about teaching immigrants to speak English so they can fully participate in the economic largess of our country?

    I donate my time and talents locally.

  8. Anonymous10:30 PM

    I have no words for how moving I found this. I know it's not in the correct "com" box but this is so important.


  9. It seems to me that the complexity of the beneficients makes the CCHD open to abuse or cooperation with evil, intended or unintended. Perhaps it would be time to start over with a similar charitable program, but simplify it so that the organizations so funded would be much easier to verify adequately, and vet for any proximate cooperation with evil.

    After the abuse scandal, it should not shock us that the laity want stronger checks. We relied on consultants, lawyers and psychiatrists wrt abusers and a great price was paid by innocents. I believe that we need simplicity and openness in this process. We cannot rely on good faith of the people at the USCCB.

  10. John Kasaian9:54 AM

    Unfortunately there is no way for the average Catholic to hold the SSHD accountable unless it is by not making a donation. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) there is no shortage of local and world wide Catholic Charities to support.