Editor’s note: Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) latest scandal bears scrutiny because there is a distinct possibility that recent developments like this one contribute to the argument that, when it comes to the Obama administration’s HHS contraceptive mandate, the Catholic Church does not have a leg to stand on. Sad but true, it is Catholic entities themselves that have made the bishops’ opposition to the mandate difficult to take seriously.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), “the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops” has recently given millions to an organization that doles out contraceptives, including abortifacient “emergency contraception.”
The most recent CRS annual returns (2010) indicate that the largest CRS grant—$5.3 million—went to CARE, an international “relief and development organization,” that actively promotes and provides contraceptives for women in developing countries, and supports pro-abortion groups and legislation.
According to the 2010 990s, CRS gave $5,380,466 to CARE, which is noted on page 86 of the filing.
Noted theologian Dr. William Marshner told LifeSiteNews that he believes the CRS’ funding of CARE is “ghastly.”
“Obviously this expenditure of funds on the part of Catholic Relief Services is an immoral use of the money,” he said.
Upon hearing of this scandalous situation, a friend told me that this report was exactly the kind of thing that caused him to stop contributing to CRS, for in the past it was caught supporting the contraceptive initiatives of other agencies, yet denied it. But what is most disturbing about his comments was that he also pointed out that this is exactly the kind of thing that is going to kill the bishops’ lawsuits opposing the HHS mandate. Furthermore, many Catholic institutions and dioceses, like those in Wisconsin, are already being forced to do what these lawsuits say the Church cannot allow.
Most Catholics are perhaps unaware of this sad state of affairs. And, from what I have been reading, most view the Obama administration’s strong-arm effort to force religious institutions to provide contraceptive coverage for employees as tantamount to a ho-hum moment anyway. After all, Catholics, for the most part, have no problem with contraception. Perhaps this is why even giant charities like Catholic Relief Services take steps to facilitate contraceptive use in the third world while claiming they do no such thing.
The best response to these muddied waters would be, of course, for the Catholic bishops to take the reins unto themselves, as is their right, and stop all the underhanded tactics being pursued by agencies calling themselves Catholic, make a clear declaration about what it means to be Catholic, and deny the use of the word Catholic to any entity that continues to persist in scandalous activities.
Of course the bishops could have done this ages ago and, perhaps if they had, the Obama mandate would never have been issued in the first place because Catholics would never have voted for anyone so enamored with the culture of death.
That’s all water over the dam now, of course. The time for righting the wrongs that led to this moment in time has passed. The only question now is whether or not the scandals are so bad that the contraceptive mandate will be upheld as a no-brainer. After all, the American Catholic Church already has a history of teaching one thing while permitting another.