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

By Patrick B. Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2009 ( - 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, 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
[email protected]

See related 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 

Share this article

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

Share this article

Featured Image
Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

Share this article

Featured Image
A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

, ,

‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook