LifeSiteNews.com

Call for Reform of U.S. Bishops’ CCHD Bolstered by New Evidence

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

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.

Contact Information:

Catholic Campaign for Human Development
3211 Fourth St. NE
Washington DC 20017
v: 202-541-3210
f: 202-541-3329
cchdpromo@usccb.org


See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

USCCB's Social Justice Arm Caught Funding Pro-Abortion/Prostitution Groups: Takes "Decisive" Action in Response

Coalition of Catholic Groups Calls for Massive Reform of U.S. Bishops' Social Justice Arm 


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

“It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities,” Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. “Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

“While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” she said. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, “People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society.”

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the “difficult and confusing time” when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience “negative attitudes.”

“What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information,” the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the hurch they attend in New Jersey, “because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that 'it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.' Shutterstock
Steve Weatherbe

,

Pope Francis: steps must be taken to halt ‘unjust aggressor’ in Iraq

Steve Weatherbe
By

Pope Francis and his emissary to Iraq’s persecuted non-Muslim minorities, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, have both called on the United Nations to act in concert to protect Iraqis Christian and Yazidi minorities from the radical Islamic forces of ISIS.

Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.”

He added, however, that “halt” does not mean to “bomb” and lamented “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor…have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!”

He also cautioned that no single nation could determine the right measures. Any intervention must be multilateral and preferably by the United Nations, he said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Foloni, who is visiting Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis, issued a joint statement this week with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Iraqi bishops that urged the international community to “liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.”

The statement also urged efforts to “assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.”

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Vatican nuncio to Iraq, was also asked by Vatican Radio earlier this month about the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

“This is something that had to be done, otherwise [the Islamic State] could not be stopped,” the archbishop said. 

Although Pope Francis’ own remarks about an intervention in the war-torn country were carefully guarded, Catholic commentator Robert Spencer, author of such bestselling exposes of Islam as “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion,” told LifeSiteNews he believes the pope was clearly calling for an “armed intervention, though a very limited one.”  

“Only a fool would think there is another way to stop an ‘unjust aggressor,’” he said.

Spencer expressed concerns that both Francis and Pope John Paul II before him have both referred to Islam a “religion of peace,” which Spencer says is “completely false.” However, he suggested that Francis’ remarks calling for action in Iraq are a sign of a more realistic attitude towards Islam.   

On this, Spencer would likely have the support of Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who issued a letter last week warning the West in stark terms about the encroaching threat of Islam.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer,” Nona warned. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here.

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles,” he said

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”


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'Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses,' said Dawkins. 'They are aborted.' Shutterstock
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Richard Dawkins: it’s ‘immoral’ NOT to abort babies with Down syndrome

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By Dustin Siggins

In a bizarre rant on Twitter earlier today, atheist Richard Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be "immoral."

The conversation started when Dawkins tweeted that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area." The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases.

A Twitter user then asked Dawkins if "994 human beings with Down's Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012" was "civilised."

Dawkins replied "yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

Later, Dawkins said that "the question is not ‘is it 'human'?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’"

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that he or she "honestly [doesn't] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Dawkins advised the writer to "abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. "Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."

Later, however, he said that people on the autism spectrum "have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. [Down Syndrome] not enhanced."

When Dawkins received some blowback from Twitter followers, he replied: "Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted."

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child. 

A number of Dawkins' statements in the Twitter thread about fetal development are at odds with scientific realities. For example, it is well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli -- such as a mother's stress levels -- months before being born. 

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