WASHINGTON, D.C., November 24, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has appointed a prelate with a strong reputation for defending the Church’s teachings on life and family to head the beleaguered Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, who, for example, is known to lead prayerful processions to abortion facilities, will be charged especially with overseeing the implementation of the organization’s recently-launched “review and renewal”.
In a USCCB press release, the bishop said he is “honored” to have been entrusted with the position by his brother bishops. “CCHD has been an important national pastoral enterprise dedicated to infusing American Society with the Catholic values of human dignity, solidarity, and communion,” he said.
Bishop Soto earned praise from faithful Catholics in 2008 after he shocked attendees at a conference for homosexualist ‘Catholics’ with an address insisting the homosexual lifestyle is “sinful.”
“Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals,” he said, “but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all. For this reason, it is sinful.”
In January, the bishop organized a day of penance on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to offer reparation for “the sinful national scourge of abortion.”
And last month, in a column for the diocese’s magazine, he bemoaned the fact that contraception has become “the unquestioned default mode of marriage.” “Marriage is no longer understood as the covenant of love between a man and a woman that creates life, because procreation is no longer associated with sexual intercourse,” he wrote.
CCHD, long criticized for its funding practices, has come under intense pressure in the last year after reports that the organization has funded numerous groups advocating abortion, same-sex “marriage,” contraception, and other questionable activities.
These reports led a coalition of Catholic and pro-life groups to launch a boycott of the national collection, and at least ten bishops chose to cease contributing to the national pot.
In response, the organization launched a “review and renewal” this fall, pledging to strengthen their Catholic identity and tighten the funding protocols. At the same time, the reform’s authenticity was questioned - and the boycott reinstituted - because CCHD continues to dismiss evidence about many of their grantees’ questionable positions.
“I am grateful for the work of the previous committee that has re-tooled CCHD so that it can be even more effective in its mission,” said Bishop Soto. “My committee will continue to monitor the progress for the implementations of the new guidelines.”
“God’s people are the Church’s best resource for the mission of New Evangelization,” he added. “CCHD will continue to invest in them so that they can be the protagonists of the Gospel, announcing the joy and hope of the Lord Jesus to a weary world.”