By Patrick B. Craine
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) has released a new report presenting evidence that raises concerns about additional groups being funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
This new evidence, explains the report, contains "borderline cases where we felt we did not have quite enough evidence to call for their defunding," but which "warrant further investigation by the CCHD and the USCCB and bolster our case that the CCHD grants process is in need of major reform."
BVM's first report on the CCHD, released in August, revealed that four CCHD-funded groups were actively supporting abortion and/or contraception and numerous others were advocating for health-care reform without prejudice to abortion funding. The CCHD responded by defunding two of the former groups, but defended their grants to the others and did not address the issue about how the groups were given funding in the first place.
Then last week a number of Catholic organizations, including BVM, Human Life International, and American Life League, formed a coalition - Reform CCHD Now - calling for a massive reform of CCHD and exhorting Catholics to boycott the upcoming collection on November 21-22.
The first part of BVM's second report exposes two groups as examples of CCHD grantees that are offering or supporting 'family planning' services, a euphemism that typically includes contraception.
The first is Preble Street, a Maine group which offers homeless shelters and soup kitchens, but that makes "family planning" services available at one of their day shelters.
The second is the San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP), which has strongly supported health centers that offer emergency contraception and 'family planning' services. One offers these services to youth aged 12 to 21 without need for parental consent. Notably, SFOP successfully campaigned to secure a $200,000 grant for two such health centers.
The second part of the report reveals that seven CCHD grantees, as well as several Catholic Charities branches, are part of a California coalition of campaign partners called Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV). MIV brings together community organizations and equips them "to register, educate, and mobilize their constituents for electoral participation."
As BVM founder Rob Gasper told LifeSiteNews.com, however, MIV is not simply focused on encouraging people to vote, but to vote according to MIV's agenda, which includes support for abortion and same-sex 'marriage.'
MIV's policy platform advocates for 'reproductive health' services, a vague and oft-used euphemism that typically includes contraception and abortion. This stance is further clarified by their 2008 voters guide, which urged voting against parental notifications for minors seeking abortion (Proposition 4). The voters guide also came out against Proposition 8, which prevented same-sex 'marriage.' Notably, Planned Parenthood is listed as a campaign partner alongside CCHD's grantees.
"They don't just want to register people to vote," said Gasper. "They basically want to ... indoctrinate them on these social issues. That's their major goal."
Indeed, as one MIV leader explained, they focus on educating people to vote according to their member groups' interests. "We don't think it's responsible or very good organizing to just get people out to vote," said Nancy Berlin, MIV Executive Committee Chair. "We want to make sure that the work that we do is linked to the broader missions of our community organizations and fosters the work that they are already doing."
Of course, "the grantees might be able to say 'Well, we just used their materials. We didn't know what they were all about.'," said Gasper. However, according to BVM's report, "this in actuality cannot be the case," since MIV insists that they developed their platform and voters guide in conjunction with their campaign partners, presumably including the CCHD grantees.
"[These groups'] association with MIV raises questions which must be answered immediately," the BVM report reads. "Did they distribute the MIV produced voter material? Why would they participate in a voter mobilization drive led by a group acting directly against Church teaching? Will they publicly state their adherence to the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church?"
"We again ask the USCCB to reform the CCHD grants process," the report continues, "so Catholics can be assured that not a single penny of their donations are used to fund groups which support or are sympathetic to grave evils condemned by Church teaching."
While BVM's reports on the CCHD have focused strictly on grantees' promotion of policies contrary to Church teaching, primarily in regard to life issues, the CCHD has been accused for decades of supporting radical left-wing organizations.
The CCHD is meant to be the USCCB's domestic anti-poverty campaign, and through their advertising they present themselves as fighting poverty in America. As critics have noted, however, many Catholics are not aware that the organization specifically does not fund groups that work directly with the poor, such as crisis pregnancy centers. In fact, despite the advertising, the CCHD's mandate is rather to work with "community-controlled, self-help organizations."
The Reform CCHD Now coalition is calling on American Catholics to download and print out special coupons that can be put in the collection basket on November 21-22 in lieu of money. The coupons indicate that the money which would have been given to CCHD is being given instead to a group that conforms to Church teaching on social justice and life and family issues.
See the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry report on their website.
See the Reform CCHD Now website.
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
3211 Fourth St. NE
Washington DC 20017
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