American Life League is just days away from publishing the latest report on groups receiving funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Without revealing too much of what ALL has discovered, it must be said that it is upsetting to find so many pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-contraception, and Marxist organizations receiving funding from a project of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
One of the organizations profiled in this year’s report is a group called the Chelsea Collaborative.
The Chelsea Collaborative, which received $40,000 from the national CCHD, was listed as a grantee under the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts. In March, when American Life League began to investigate this organization, serious red flags jumped out almost immediately. Chelsea Collaborative is not only a member of the radically pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and militantly Marxist Jobs with Justice, but its executive director was honored by MassEquality (a homosexual activist organization) at its signature fundraising event for “her work on behalf of a newly passed Transgender Equal Rights Bill.” Seeing this kind of pedigree, we wondered how such an organization was ever cleared to receive Catholic funding to begin with. What happened after the Chelsea Collaborative was confronted with this information? In July, the Chelsea Collaborative reportedly returned its $40,000 grant from the CCHD, claiming that “funding restrictions were too severe.” To its credit, the Archdiocese of Boston accepted the return of the money. However, according to a Catholic News Service article, the executive director of the national CCHD said, “CCHD officials were dismayed that they failed to persuade the collaborative’s leaders to keep the funds.”
This little revelation about national CCHD’s efforts to convince a pro-homosexual organization to keep the funding it is returning, because it did not believe it could adhere to the CCHD’s guidelines, raises questions about CCHD’s purported efforts to ensure that no funding goes to organizations that act against the Catholic Church. The Chelsea Collaborative fails two very specific guidelines of the CCHD: First, “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.” And second, “Applicant organizations must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church.”
In light of these clear violations (because its executive director stated her intent on behalf of the organization to pursue pro-homosexual activities, and because of Chelsea Collaborative’s membership in Jobs with Justice), page 5, section G-2 of the CCHD’s grant agreement specifically states the following: “In the event of termination of this CCHD grant, USCCB shall provide Grantee written notice of such termination and of the cancellation of any portions of the grant that remain to be paid. USCCB may, in its discretion, require Grantee to refund to USCCB the full amount of the CCHD grant and to transfer title to USCCB of any property purchased by the Grantee with CCHD grant funds.” (emphasis added)
This is certainly not what happened. Instead of accepting the money in the face of Chelsea Collaborative’s stated desire to violate CCHD guidelines, the executive director for the CCHD attempted to persuade Chelsea to keep the funds. The big question here is: Why? Why has the CCHD so completely failed to uphold Catholic principles, defend the bride of Christ from Her enemies, and adhere to its own stated guidelines? For the answer, I turn to Matthew 14:28-31:
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When Peter got out of the boat, his eyes were fixed on Jesus, and as long as his eyes remained on Our Blessed Lord, Peter literally walked on top of the water. But it was when Peter began to take account of the wind and the waves that he took his eyes away from Our Savior—and he began to sink.
The problem with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and many other similar “social justice” organizations, is that they have completely lost sight of Jesus, focusing only on the world around them. They’ve lost the eternal perspective that this mortal existence is a mere drop of water in the ocean of eternity and that the path to salvation is through the Cross. Instead, they fund secular organizations focused on materialistic solutions to secular and social problems. And while there is good in fighting for the rights of the poor and oppressed, it can never be done to the neglect of the salvation of souls, which is the primary mission of the Catholic Church.
It was recently announced by the USCCB that it has placed a new person, selected from outside the current ranks of USCCB bureaucrats, to head up its Peace and Justice operations (which includes the CCHD). We pray that this is the first step in returning the CCHD to compliance with its own policies.
Michael Hichborn is the director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith project and the host of the ALL Report.