May 23, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic Charities USA is a dues-paying member of an organization that advocates for public funding of abortion providers and of abortifacient contraceptives.
The Coalition on Human Needs fought against cutting federal funding of Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning in 2011.
Further, Lucreda Cobbs, CCUSA’s senior director of policy and legislative affairs, sits on CHN’s board as a representative for CCUSA.
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Catholic Charities USA for comment about its relationship with CHN and was directed to speak with Candy Hill, senior vice president for social policy.
She confirmed that CCUSA is a dues-paying member and that Cobbs sits on the board.
But Hill preempted any questions that LifeSiteNews might have asked about questionable CHN activities with the assurance, “We would like to be clear that our organization (Catholic Charities) follows the teachings and ethical practices of the Catholic Church.”
“As we and other Church institutions have done for decades, we engage in coalitions around reducing poverty in this nation while at the same time being clear and concrete that we must ensure that it is understood that we cannot and will not endorse any coalitions' public policy statements that would be inconsistent with our teachings and ethical practices,” she said.
She seemed satisfied that the “Coalition of Human Needs has consistently provided a disclaimer to policy statements which indicates that statements made by the coalition do not necessarily represent the positions of any of the individual organizations.”
Setting aside questions about the legitimacy of participating in a coalition so long as disclaimers are attached to every statement and move the coalition makes, LifeSiteNews endeavored to find the disclaimer on documents for which Catholic Charities, presumptively, would require a disclaimer.
We also found a lobbying letter to which CHN has signed its name and pro-abortion job listings (since scrubbed from the site, but archived here, here, here, and here) on which no disclaimer is present.
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How can Catholic Charities ensure that the casual observer or the beneficiary of CHN’s activities understands clearly that the pro-abortion, pro-contraception and whatever-other-anti-Catholic activities that are done in CHN’s name are not supported by one of its key member organizations? Does Catholic Charities issue separate press releases to distance itself from every problematic statement made by CHN?
We asked CCUSA and did not receive a response. Nor could we find any statements made by CCUSA publicly distancing itself from any problematic CHN activities.
Hill did tell LifeSiteNews that “for many years this statement,” or disclaimer, “has satisfied the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA, allowing our participation.”
However, the USCCB, a founding member of the CHN coalition, is no longer listed as a membership organization on CHN’s website.
Don Clemmer, USCCB assistant director of media relations, told LSN, that while “both organizations remain committed to addressing issues related to how the poor are affected by the federal budget, USCCB and CHN are currently in conversation about their relationship.”
At the moment, it appears the USCCB has ended even nominal involvement with CHN.
The question remains, why is CCUSA justifying its involvement with CHN by pointing to the USCCB’s alleged consent for CCUSA-CHN relationship when the USCCB is “in conversation” with CHN and not permitting its own name to be affiliated with the coalition?
“By its own admission, CCUSA is providing funding to an organization that is acting directly against the Catholic Church,” said Michael Hichborn, director of Defend the Faith with American Life League. “CHN used the full weight of its organization to demand that Congress maintain funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, and specified its desire to maintain federal funding for abortifacient birth control programs.”
“This means that Catholic Charities USA is giving Catholic money to, and sitting on the board of, a radically pro-abortion organization, despite its claims that it doesn’t support CHN’s pro-abortion advocacy,” Hichborn said.
Last month, LifeSiteNews.com reported that Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa LaPolt Snow served on the board of a Catholic Charities group in Florida before defending infanticide in the state legislature.
Critics were told at the time that it was an isolated incident at a regional office, and so had no bearing on the national Catholic Charities body. But now LifeSiteNews.com has uncovered a similar problem at the national office.
This is not to say that there are not good people in the organization trying to be faithful ambassadors of charity for the Catholic Church. LifeSiteNews has reported on Catholic Charities in different regions taking strong stands for marriage and religious liberty.