Patrick Craine

News

At least 10 bishops skip national collection for U.S. bishop’s social justice arm

Patrick Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Despite a recent “review and renewal” of the U.S. Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), designed in part to “woo back” bishops upset over their distribution of funds to groups advocating abortion and same-sex “marriage,” at least 10 bishops opted not to contribute to the national collection this year.

(If your diocese did not hold the CCHD national collection this year, let us know here.)

The U.S. Bishops’ domestic social justice arm launched a large-scale renewal this fall with a commitment to strengthen their Catholic identity and funding protocols after widespread criticism from numerous bishops, as well as a coalition of Catholic and pro-life groups.

Nevertheless, many of the bishops who had discontinued contributing to the national pot maintained their position this year, and at least two more were added to their ranks.

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano of Burlington, Vermont has replaced the CCHD collection with the Bishop deGoesbriand Appeal for Human Advancement.  Named after the diocese’s first bishop, it seeks to “help Vermonters achieve self-sufficiency and recognize their dignity in life” through funding local initiatives.

The decision came after a review of CCHD by the Diocesan Presbyteral Council.  “All of the monies collected through this annual appeal will remain here in Vermont and 100% of the funds will be distributed to worthy grant applicants,” a diocesan statement explains.

Bishop James Johnston of Springfield, Missouri has replaced the annual pre-Thanksgiving CCHD collection with one for the diocese’s new Catholic Charities agency.  In a November 5th column the bishop explains that his decision was motivated by the desire to serve “the needs of the poor at the local level.”

He notes that CCHD “has undergone criticism in the past year because of the misuse of some of the grants by organizations that have supported issues which are in opposition to Catholic teaching.”  At the same time, he assures the faithful that funds designated for CCHD will be forwarded, and indicates that he will consider whether to hold the CCHD collection next year.

Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon told LifeSiteNews by e-mail that his diocese sends a “nominal amount” to CCHD, but has not taken national collections “for many years.”

The nationwide collection for CCHD takes place annually the Sunday before Thanksgiving, though some dioceses do it at other times.  Traditionally, dioceses keep 25% of the funds to distribute locally, and send 75% to the national pot.  The local bishop vets the grants - both local and national - distributed in his diocese, but has no say in how the national funds are distributed outside his diocese.

Bishops Joseph Adamec (Altoona-Johnstown, PA), Victor Galeone (St. Augustine, FL), Lawrence Brandt (Greensburg, PA), John Barres (Allentown, PA), Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln, NE), and Robert Morlino (Madison WI) have again chosen not to contribute to the national collection.

Bishop Joseph McFadden of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who replaced Bishop Kevin Rhoades after the latter moved to Fort Wayne-South Bend, has maintained his predecessor’s decision to institute instead a “Matthew 25 collection” to serve the needy of the diocese.  Bishop Rhoades’ new diocese took up the collection this year.

Bishop Bruskewitz told LifeSiteNews last fall that they “question the ideology of [CCHD],” and so had already not been taking up the collection.  His diocese was “shocked at the scandalous participation” with groups “of questionable moral values or standards,” he said, and he would only reconsider the collection if there were “some changes in the organization itself, or its purposes, or its goals.”

Bishop Galeone replaced the collection with a Diocesan Schools & Social Action Appeal in May 2009, prior to the launch of the major reform movement.  In a letter at the time, he criticized CCHD not only for disbursing funds to groups working against Catholic teaching, but also because they do not support “family values,” and had prohibited funding Catholic organizations.

“Why are no funds earmarked to address the greatest cause of poverty in our country today - single motherhood?” he asked.  “Moreover, 80% of the male inmates incarcerated in America come from fatherless homes.  Yet no CCHD funds go to groups striving to strengthen family values.”

LifeSiteNews still awaits response about three further bishops who stopped taking up the collection last year - Bishops Robert Baker of Birmingham, AL; David Ricken of Green Bay, WI; and Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK.


U.S. bishops not contributing to CCHD’s national collection:

1. Bishop Joseph Adamec (Altoona-Johnstown, PA)
2. Bishop John Barres (Allentown, PA)
3. Bishop Lawrence Brandt (Greensburg, PA)
4. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln, NE)
5. Bishop Victor Galeone (St. Augustine, FL)
6. Bishop James Johnston (Springfield, MO)
7. Bishop Salvatore R. Matano (Burlington, VT)
8. Bishop Joseph McFadden (Harrisburg, PA)
9. Bishop Robert Morlino (Madison, WI)
10. Bishop Robert Vasa (Baker, OR)

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