By Patrick B. Craine and Steve Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Friday, EWTN's Raymond Arroyo hosted, on his The World Over program, representatives of Reform CCHD Now, a coalition of Catholic groups calling for reform of the USCCB's domestic anti-poverty arm, Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Arroyo and his two guests presented strong evidence that the CCHD is funding groups that are subverting Catholic teaching. The interview was aired only 9 days before American Catholics will be asked to contribute to the annual CCHD collection on November 22nd.
The effort to reform the CCHD began this year with a report in August from the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM), which revealed, in particular, that four current CCHD grantees were actively supporting abortion, contraception, and/or same-sex "marriage." While CCHD responded by defunding two of the groups, they continue to fund the others. At the beginning of this month, the Reform CCHD Now coalition formed and further evidence has since been reported of inappropriate activities by the CCHD partners.
Not long before the EWTN program, coalition member organization American Life League posted a 6 minute online video, with Michael Hichborn exposing the CCHD problems.
In the video Hichborn states that while CCHD pulled funding from just two of the offending groups, "the CCHD's explanation for continuing to fund some of these organizations is just plain bizarre." "The problem is much deeper than mere lack of oversight," he says, and explains, "the CCHD has a long history of working with and funding organizations inspired by the notorious Saul Alinsky." Hichborn mentions the radical Marxist character of Alinsky's methods and notes that the "CCHD gives over one-third of their funds to these organizations ever year."
The ALL video host bluntly surmises that there can only be two possibilities for why CCHD is funding such organizations: "Either the CCHD is incompetent and therefore unworthy of Catholic funds or, it's being run by pro-homosexual, pro-abortion socialists who got caught and therefore is also unworthy of Catholic funds."
On his program, EWTN's Arroyo hosted Hichborn and Rob Gasper, founder of BVM. The two men argued their case for the needed reforms, explaining the evidence they had compiled, and even revealing some new discoveries.
At one point, Arroyo concludes: "What you have discovered is that many of these groups are actually subverting the Catholic teaching, so on one front you've got bishops trying to defend marriage in a given state, meanwhile the same conference is funding organizations that are fighting against those efforts."
Beyond the efforts of CCHD-funded groups against Catholic moral teaching, Gasper explained that many CCHD grantees do not conform to Catholic social teaching. "We have to go back and look at the entire question of what is authentic Catholic human development," he said. And if you're reading the recent encyclicals by Benedict XVI you see that authentic human development addresses the entirety of man, all aspects of man - his spiritual nature as well as the material side. And so, when we see this, ... we see that ... the groups that [CCHD is] funding don't seem to have an actual authentic understanding of human development."
In light of their evidence, Arroyo also commented on CCHD's policy of not funding groups that directly serve the poor, reflecting on the extreme financial difficulties some Catholic inner city schools face while CCHD is giving money to groups that subvert Church teaching. "I can't think of a more important, wonderful way to support the poor in a community than giving them a Catholic education, because the values and the education is being imparted to them," he said. "What better foothold on the future could we give a poor child in a community than that?"
Responding to a question from Arroyo about how they uncovered their evidence, Hichborn explained how simple it is and how this points out the problems in CCHD's screening process. "The CCHD grants list is on their own website," he said. Using a process identical to that which led to the discovery of many identical problems with the Canadian Bishops' Development and Peace organization, Hichborn related, "We just took a look at some of the grantees and went to their own websites to see what they're doing."
"And this is the thing that really perplexes me, because if we can just go to their own websites ... and we can find this information, why can't their screeners?" Hichborn asked. "And the only conclusions that I can come to is either they're incompetent or they're complicit."
"That's a heavy charge," Arroyo responded, leading him to indicate that he will be pursuing this story more in the upcoming weeks, and that he would like to feature some CCHD officials as well.
Friday's The World Over video is available on the EWTN website (slower connections) until Nov. 19 or on the Reform CCHD Nowwebsite. The section featuring Gasper and Hichborn begins at 37:00 min on the EWTN hosted version of the program.
After Nov. 19 only the audio portion of the Nov. 13 program will be available on EWTN in the World Over archives.
A very detailed listing of the evidence uncovered thus far, including the new discoveries presented on the show, can be found on ALL's website.
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