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CCHD Responds to Reform Movement

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Patrick B. Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The national office of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the USCCB's domestic anti-poverty arm, has responded to the movement calling for their reform in a new document posted to their website on Friday.  At the same time, new evidence implicating several more CCHD grantees in activities contrary to Catholic teaching has been reported by the reform movement.

The CCHD document, entitled "For the Record - The Truth about CCHD Funding," seeks to convince Catholics of the organization's commitment to Catholic moral teaching and to assuage any misgivings raised by the recent revelation regarding a number of their grantees.  In the first section of "For the Record," the CCHD assures supporters that, "All grant applicants are carefully screened and funds are provided only to projects with objectives and actions that are fully in accord with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church." 

However, Michael Hichborn, a researcher with American Life League (ALL) and spokesman for the Reform CCHD Now (RCM) movement, told LSN that despite the CCHD's insistence on their fidelity, "they never address the fact that yes, they are giving funds to organizations closely associated with the pro-abortion movement.  They never once deny that.  They just point to their criteria and say 'See, we have a strict criteria.  We don't give to organizations that do that.'  But you do."

The Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) agreed with Hichborn's analysis, charging that the CCHD has simply exonerated several implicated grantees, but without addressing the evidence against them.

CCHD goes on to again exonerate the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), which was one of the two groups defended after BVM's first report.  They state, simply, that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles "determined the organization does not engage in any activity contrary to Church teaching, and has recommended continued funding for the organization."  BVM has rebutted however, that the CCHD does not address the evidence they presented from LACAN's own newsletters.  "We still await explanation of how promotion of homosexual marriage and contraceptive services meets the CCHD's guidelines," BVM states.

CCHD also exonerates the San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP), which strongly supports health clinics that offer "family planning" and emergency contraception.  They defend their grant by indicating that the Archdiocese of San Francisco "strongly supports the work of [this group] to expand access to health care to children."  But, as BVM notes again, "this does not address the information we discovered concerning the SFOP.  We would like to see a specific response to the charges we made in our report concerning SFOP."

Regarding the Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), which was the other group originally exonerated following BVM's first report, they now state that they "continue to gather the facts," and that the grant has "been placed on hold."  They have made the same determination regarding Preble Street, a group offering homeless shelters and soup kitchens that makes "family planning" services available at one of their day shelters.

CCHD's shift in approach to WCRP follows BVM's recently-revealed evidence that this group received a grant from Women's Way, a feminist organization whose funding policies restrict grants to pro-abortion groups.  "We hope this third screening of WCRP will be more successful, and look forward to learning the results of the investigation," states BVM.

BVM had revealed in one report that several CCHD grantees were members of a coalition called Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV), which formulated ballot initiatives in favor of abortion and same-sex "marriage" through consultation with their members.

CCHD says, however, that each group "confirmed to CCHD they were never consulted about MIV taking positions on ballot initiatives contrary to Catholic social teaching."

BVM responds by pointing to statements previously documented from Nancy Berlin, Executive Committee Chair of MIV, "which stated that the voter's guide was produced in consultation with MIV's coalition partners."  BVM also points out that several of the grantees are, in fact, even more closely related to MIV through a program that gives a "higher level of support to approximately thirty grassroots groups."

"Due to their higher level of involvement, we find it difficult to believe that these grantees were in the dark about the MIV ballot initiatives," the BVM report reads, "and simply taking these grantees' word that they were not consulted about the MIV platform does not constitute a proper investigation."

Stephanie Block, who began researching the CCHD for the Wanderer Forum Foundation in 1993, said that key sections of the 2009 document are nearly identical with an earlier version from 1997.  These include the section dealing with their support for pro-abortion grantees and a section responding to allegations that their grants are fungible.

"They have never dealt with the real criticism," she said.  "They are putting up a straw man to knock down.  They did that before and they are doing that again.  They aren't really addressing the criticism, because they can't.  It isn't entirely recycled, but you still have the same false response in that you're not dealing directly with the criticism."

According to Hichborn, this "recycled" response, "just shows that over twelve years, nothing's changed.  They're fighting off the same allegations and they keep telling us that 'Oh no, we're fixing the problem.  We're making sure that nothing goes to anything else.' And the same problem still exists."

"It's funny that they keep claiming that they don't do any of this stuff and they keep getting caught doing it, and they keep using the exact same language to defend themselves for several decades," commented Stephen Phelan, communications director for Human Life International (HLI) and another RCN spokesman.  "It's obvious that their leadership's incapable of responding genuinely."

Yesterday, American Life League, an RCN member, announced that they had discovered six more CCHD grantees engaged in activities contrary to Catholic teaching.  In total these groups are allocated $220,000 for the year.

"Given how easily we discovered CCHD funding going to anti-Catholic causes, the only two possibilities are that the CCHD is incompetent or complicit," stated Hichborn in a press release.  "We're finding more and more evidence every day with far less information than the CCHD receives through its granting process."

"We are calling on Catholics everywhere to boycott the CCHD donation this Sunday by dropping our 'No, Thank You" statement in the collection basket,' said Hichborn.


CCHD's "For the Record - The Truth about CCHD Funding"

BVM's rebuttal

Full listing of the evidence compiled thus far click here.

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 LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Reform CCHD Reps Reveal on EWTN Shocking Evidence Against USCCB Anti-Poverty Arm
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09111612.html

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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