The CCHD Petition - USCCB Inconsistencies Require Action

February 18, 2010 09:00 AM

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) petition, created by the Reform CCHD Now coalition, provides the concerned Catholic with a voice for opposing the growing scandal that surrounds this particular project of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The problems that have plagued the CCHD are not new, but the growing body of evidence begs the question: Isn’t it time for the USCCB to do something other than defend the indefensible?

Upon hearing of Reform CCHD Now’s actions, one religious sent a message to me saying, “I would like to ask you to look to the USCCB web site and see how the bishops have responded to the false allegations against the CCHD and against John Carr.”

This begs two questions: Are the allegations against the CCHD false? I know firsthand that the answer to that question is no, of course not.

The second question is: Why isn’t the USCCB researching this themselves and providing solid evidence to substantiate their allegation of falsehood instead of merely pointing fingers at those of us who have compiled the evidence? 

To be honest, I do not think that they can and so the game commences.  Perhaps this is why’s director, Deal Hudson, a member of the Reform CCHD Now coalition, decided to write a commentary entitled “Why I Signed the CCHD Petition.” In his own words:

The petition, launched on Wednesday, was made necessary by the dismissive attitude of the USCCB toward the hard evidence linking CCHD grants to organizations supporting abortion and same-sex marriage. USCCB spokeswoman Sr. Mary Ann Walsh admitted she had read only one of the two reports before she rejected their findings.

Furthermore, no subsequent comment by any bishop or USCCB official has addressed the substance of the findings. This is made all the more strange by the fact that the USCCB acted responsively after the first round of Reform CCHD Now reports last August, when they defunded two grantees.

Unfortunately, the USCCB quickly slammed the door shut on any further investigations. That didn't stop the reform efforts, and the second round of research uncovered troubling new evidence while reconfirming the findings of the original reports.

Some have questioned the petition in light of a statement made by Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, in which he attests to the pro-life convictions of John Carr, executive director of the USCCB's Office of Justice, Peace, and Human Development. But none of the reports contain anything about Carr's personal convictions, only his associations.

The tireless efforts of American Life League’s lead researcher on the CCHD expose, Michael Hichborn, coupled with those of Bellarmine Veritas Ministries’ Rob Gasper, Real Catholic TV’s Michael Voris, Human Life International’s communications manager Stephen Phelan, and blogger Mary Ann Kreitzer of Les Femmes – The Truth confirm what is, in fact, true: There is ample proof of what is actually being done, being paid for and being unceremoniously denied by the USCCB. This entire matter, which so desperately deserves the attention of every single Catholic bishop in this country, is indeed a debacle of the first order.

But don’t listen to me. Check out what bishops are saying, according to a Catholic News Service story published in several locations on the internet:

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.

The first matter for clarification is that Michael Hichborn’s extremely well-documented article, “Sleeping with the Enemy,” did not accuse anyone of “a systematic pattern of cooperation with evil” but rather pointed out with thorough research that the pattern of cooperation with organizations that promote evil goes back for decades. The footnotes are there.

Second, the so-called “attacks” are not against Mr. Carr, nor any particular person. What the documented revelations expose are a series of financial contributions to organizations that hold views and pursue actions in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. Mr. Hichborn makes it clear that “no less than 50 organizations (one-fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) … are in some capacity engaged in pro-abortion or pro-homosexual causes.”

There is nothing “calumnious” [i.e., the creation of falsehoods designed to harm someone’s reputation] about the statements that either Hichborn or the coalition has made. Nobody’s character was attacked, nor have any falsehoods been stated.

Perhaps this is why Bishop Robert Vasa, Diocese of Baker, Oregon, told a reporter with LifeSiteNews: “I am not well enough versed in the 'politics' of such associations to make any criticism of the motives or justifications which might be provided but, on the face of it, I would have to agree that support of this organization and an active endorsement of its principles and purposes would appear to be problematic.”

22 organizations currently work in coalition to bring the facts about the CCHD to light and to pray that the bishops will do something to clear up the confusion and clean up the problems that clearly exist.

We encourage you to do likewise. Begin today by signing the petition, which simply states, “To ensure no more Catholic dollars are spent to support organizations advocating abortion or same-sex marriage, I respectfully request the bishops suspend all national CCHD grants until the grants process has been reformed.”

Nothing could be easier and, we believe, more effective than joining with thousands of other concerned citizens who really are fed up with the manner in which Catholic dollars are being spent to undermine fundamental Catholic teaching.

I have signed; please do the same.

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