By Patrick B. Craine
TULSA, Oklahoma, November 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma also chose not to contribute to the national collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) has confirmed, making him the sixth bishop confirmed to have done so.
In a letter to the pastors of his diocese, read at Masses on the weekend of the November 21-22 collection, Bishop Slattery informed the faithful that the funds contributed to the CCHD collection would be reserved for use within the diocese.
Msgr. Patrick Brankin told LSN that Bishop Slattery made his decision in the week before the collection, in light of the evidence released this fall implicating numerous CCHD grantees in activities contrary to Catholic teaching.
"What [the Bishop] decided was that he would take up the collection, but any of the funds that were generated would be used in the diocese," said Msgr. Brankin. "[The funds] would be used for the kind of self-help promotion groups that would be normally funded by [CCHD], but they would be under the bishop's oversight."
In the months leading up to the November collection, members of the newly-formed Reform CCHD Now (RCN) coalition produced several reports documenting how numerous CCHD grantees have promoted or are promoting activities contrary to Church teaching, including abortion, contraception, and same-sex "marriage." In fact, on the Friday before the collection, RCN claimed that $1.3 million is allocated to questionable groups.
Bishop Slattery made his decision due to concern about the "scandal" of CCHD's inappropriate use of funds, said Msgr. Brankin. "Obviously the reason [for his decision] is the bishop did not want to cause scandal, considering the lack of oversight that's been evidenced at the [CCHD]," he explained.
"It's an embarrassment that this scandal, that that sort of stuff, goes on," Msgr. Brankin continued. "Bishop Slattery did not want the people of the diocese to be scandalized, or God forbid, that the money that they contribute would be used for something that is inconsistent, or contrary, to Catholic moral and ethical teaching. Pro-life, pro-family - we've got to support that."
The week before the collection, Bishop Slattery joined the rest of his brother bishops at the USCCB plenary meeting in Baltimore. There they heard a defence of the CCHD from Bishop Roger Morin, chairman of the USCCB subcommittee that oversees the organization.
In making his decision, Bishop Slattery was "very conscious" of Bishop Morin's report, said Msgr. Brankin, in which, he says, Bishop Morin "addressed" the problems with CCHD and admitted the need for more "responsible" oversight.
"That's fine," he said, "but I think [Bishop Slattery] is taking a cautious stand in saying 'I want [CCHD] to succeed. I want them to correct mistakes. But I don't want our people to be afraid that by contributing to the [CCHD], somehow they might be contributing to this kind of anti-life, anti-Catholic effort.'"
This is the first year Bishop Slattery has chosen not to contribute to the national CCHD, and "he's leaving next year's an open question," said Msgr. Brankin.
"The bishop is very strongly pro-life," he added, noting, for example, that he had just been to a diocesan meeting planning for the January March for Life. "He wants as many people as can, here in Tulsa, to march in support and in solidarity with the March in Washington. So, he's just very strong in that."
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Fifth Bishop Didn't Take Up National CCHD Collection
Bishop Bruskewitz on CCHD: Bishop Morin Was a "Bit Too Dismissive" of Concerns
Four US Bishops Did Not Take up Collection for Embattled CCHD
$1.3 Million in CCHD Funds Going to Questionable Groups: Reform Coalition
List of Bishops:
Bishop Robert J. Baker - Birmingham, Alabama LSN
Bishop Edward J. Slattery - Tulsa, Oklahoma