LifeSiteNews.com

CCHD Responds to Reform Movement

LifeSiteNews.com
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

Only 7 days left!

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Credit: John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

, ,

Vatican’s doctrine chief: ‘Absolutely anti-Catholic’ to let bishops conferences decide doctrine or discipline

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has rejected outright the idea floated by Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx that various bishops’ conferences around the world would decide for themselves on points of discipline or doctrine. 

“This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Müller told France’s Famille Chrétienne in an interview published today

The question was raised because Cardinal Marx, the head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Nine, told reporters that the German bishops would chart their own course on the question of allowing Communion for those in “irregular” sexual unions.

“We are not a subsidiary of Rome,” he said in February. “The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

Vatican Cardinal Müller remarked that while episcopal conferences may have authority over certain issues they are not a parallel magisterium apart from the pope or outside communion with the bishops united to him.

Asked specifically about Cardinal Marx saying that the Church in Germany is “not a subsidiary of Rome,” the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said pointedly “the president of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and as such has no special teaching authority.”  He added moreover, that the dioceses in a particular country “are not subsidiaries of the secretariat of an Episcopal conference or diocese whose Bishop presides over the Episcopal Conference.”

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

The CDF head warned that “this attitude makes the risk of waking some polarization between the local churches and the universal Church.” He did not however believe that there was the will for Episcopal conferences to separate from Rome.

The important interview also saw Cardinal Müller contest the notion that the pastoral practice or discipline could change while retaining the same doctrine. “We can not affirm the doctrine and initiate a practice that is contrary to the doctrine,” he said.

He added that not even the papal Magisterium is free to change doctrine. “Every word of God is entrusted to the Church, but it is not superior to the Word,” he said. “The Magisterium is not superior to the word of God. The reverse is true.”

Cardinal Müller rejected the notion that we would have to modify Christ’s unflinching words totally forbidding divorce and remarriage.  We cannot “say that our ministry should be more cautious than Jesus Christ Himself!”  Nor could we, he added, say that Christ’s teaching is out of date or that “we need to correct or refine Jesus Christ because He lived in an idealistic world.” 

Rather, the cardinal said, bishops must be ready for martyrdom.  Quoting Jesus he said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and if we speak all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

‘Groundbreaking’: Kansas may become first state to ban dismemberment abortions

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

TOPEKA, KS, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas will become the first state in the country to ban a procedure in which unborn children are dismembered in the womb, if Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill that recently passed the state legislature.

The state House passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, called dismemberment abortions in common parlance, by 98-26 on Wednesday.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which had already passed the state Senate in February 31-9, now heads to Gov. Brownback's desk.

Brownback, a staunch defender of life, is expected to sign the act into law.

"Because of the Kansas legislature's strong pro-life convictions, unborn children in the state will be protected from brutal dismemberment abortions," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made banning dismemberment abortions a national legislative focus.

The procedure, in which an abortionist separates the unborn child's limbs from his body one at a time, accounts for 600 abortions statewide every year.

Nationally, it is “the most prevalent method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA, accounting for 96 percent of all second trimester abortions,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook.

“It’s just unconscionable that something happens to children that we wouldn’t tolerate being done to pets,” Katie Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, told The Wichita Eagle.

Leading pro-life advocacy groups have made shifting the debate to dismemberment a national priority, with similar legislation being considered in Missouri and Oklahoma. Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., who is NRLC's director of state legislation, called the bill's passage in Topeka “groundbreaking.”

"When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone," she said.

The abortion lobby has made clear that it is uncomfortable engaging in a public relations tussle on this ground.

Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues associate of the Guttmacher Institute, said that dismemberment is “not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

On the state Senate floor, Democrats tried to alter the bill's language on the floor by replacing the term “unborn child” with fetus. “I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” said state Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City.

If the bill becomes law, the abortion industry has vowed to fight on.

Julie Burkhart, a former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, said the motion's only intention is “to intimidate, threaten and criminalize doctors.”

“Policymakers should be ashamed,” she said, adding, “if passed, we will challenge it in court.”

Gov. Brownback has previously signed conscience rights protections and sweeping pro-life protections into law.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
Anne Hendershott

,

How NOT to move beyond the abortion wars

Anne Hendershott
By Anne Hendershott

March 26, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him too much.” I jokingly told my student not to make eye contact with the theologian because he might begin to find himself agreeing with him that Catholic teachings “really allow” for women’s ordination and full reproductive rights—including access to abortion.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I began reading a new book by yet another engaging Catholic theology professor at a major metropolitan university who also claims (pg 6) that the argument he puts forward in his book, Beyond the Abortion Wars, is “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine.” Written by Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, the new book purports to be in line with Catholic teachings and promises “a way forward for a new generation.” But, Camosy delivers yet another argument for a woman’s right to choose abortion when confronted with an unborn child that he has described—in the past—as an “innocent aggressor.”

Indeed, Camosy has spent much of his career trying to convince us that he knows Catholic teachings better than the bishops. Criticizing Bishop Olmsted for his intervention and excommunication of a hospital administrator for her role in the direct abortion at a Phoenix Catholic hospital, Camosy suggested in 2013 that “the infamous Phoenix abortion case set us back in this regard.” Implying that Bishop Olmsted was not smart enough to understand the moral theology involved in the case, Camosy claimed that “The moral theology in the case was complex—which makes the decision to declare publicly that Sr. McBride had excommunicated herself even more inexplicable. The Church can do better.” For Camosy, “Catholics must be ready to help shape our new discussion on abortion. And we must do so in a way that draws people into the conversation—not only with respectful listening, but speaking in a way that is both coherent and sensitive.”

This new book is likely Camosy’s attempt to “draw people into the conversation.” But, there is little in his book that is either coherent or sensitive. Claiming to want to move “beyond” the abortion wars, Camosy creates an argument that seems designed to offend the pro-life side, while giving great respect to those who want to make sure abortion remains legal.

Especially offensive for pro-life readers will be Camosy’s description of the abortifacient, RU-486 as a form of “indirect abortion.” The reality is that RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” effectively ends an early pregnancy (up to 8 weeks) by turning off the pregnancy hormone (progesterone). Progesterone is necessary to maintain the pregnancy and when it is made inoperative, the fetus is aborted. For Camosy, who claims that his book is “consistent with settled Catholic doctrine,” this is not a “direct” abortion. To illustrate this, Camosy enlists philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s 1971 “Defense of Abortion”—the hypothetical story of the young woman who is kidnapped and wakes up in a hospital bed to find that her healthy circulatory system has been hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. The woman’s body is being used to keep the violinist alive until a “cure” for the violinist can be found. Camosy makes the case—as hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents have made in the past four decades—that one cannot be guilty of directly killing the violinist if one simply disconnects oneself from him. Likewise, for Camosy, simply taking the drug RU 486 is not “directly” killing the fetus. He writes:

The drugs present in RU 486 do not by their very nature appear to attack the fetus. Instead, the drug cuts off the pregnancy hormone and the fetus is detached from the woman’s body…. Using RU 486 is like removing yourself from [Judith Jarvis Thompson’s] violinist once you are attached. You don’t aim at his death, but instead remove yourself because you don’t think you have the duty to support his life with your body…. Some abortions are indirect and better understood as refusals to aid (pp 82-83).

Perhaps there are some readers who will find Camosy’s argument convincing, but I am not sure that many faithful Catholic readers will agree that it is consistent with settled Catholic doctrine.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

As one who is hardly a bystander in the abortion wars, I wanted to like this book. As an incrementalist who celebrates every small step in creating policy to protect the unborn, I had high hopes that this book would at last begin to bridge the divide. A decade ago, in my own book, The Politics of Abortion, I joined the argument begun by writers like Marvin Olasky in his Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, that it is more effective to attempt to change the hearts and minds of people than to create divisive public policy at the federal level. I share Charles Camosy’s desire to end the abortion wars—but this war cannot end until the real war on the unborn ends. This does not mean that the two sides cannot work together—battling it out at the state level—where there is the opportunity for the greatest success. But, complex philosophical arguments on whether RU 486 is a direct or indirect form of abortion are not helpful to these conversations.

Camosy must know that we can never really “end” the abortion wars as long as unborn children are still viewed as “aggressors” or “invaders” and can still be legally aborted. Faithful Catholics know that there is no middle ground on this—the pro-life side has to prevail in any war on the unborn. It can be done incrementally but ground has to be gained—not ceded—for the pro-life side. Besides, Camosy seems a bit late to the battlefield to begin with. In many ways, he seems to have missed the fact that the pro-life side is already winning many of the battles through waiting periods, ultrasound and parental notification requirements, and restrictions on late term abortion at the state level. More than 300 policies to protect the unborn have been passed at the state level just in the past few years. The number of abortions each year has fallen to pre-Roe era levels—the lowest in more than four decade.   Much of these gains are due to the selfless efforts of the pro-life community and their religious leaders. Yet, just as victory appears possible in many more states, Camosy seems to want to surrender by resurrecting the tired rhetoric—and the unconscious violinists—of forty years ago.

While it is disappointing, it is not unexpected considering Camosy’s last book lauded the contributions of Princeton’s most notorious professor, Peter Singer—the proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Claiming that Singer is “motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals,” Camosy’s 2012 book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, argues that, “Though Singer is pro-choice for infanticide, on all the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion but one, Singer sounds an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”  In a post at New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a progressive organization led by Rev. Richard Cizik (a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals who was removed from his position because of his public support for same sex unions, and his softening stance on abortion) Camosy wrote that he found Singer to be “friendly and compassionate.”  Camosy currently serves on the Advisory Board of Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership—where he has posted Peter Singer-like articles including: “Why Christians Should Support Rationing Health Care.”

One cannot know the motivations of another—we can never know what is in another’s heart so it is difficult to know why Charles Camosy wrote this book. It must be difficult to be a pro-life professor at Fordham University—a school known for dissenting theologians like Elizabeth Johnson. But, if one truly wants to advance a culture of life in which all children are welcomed into the world, it would seem that inviting Peter Singer to be an honored speaker to students at Fordham in 2012 is not the way to do it, nor would claiming that RU-486 “may not aim at death by intention.” Perhaps it is unwise to continue to critically review Camosy’s work from a Catholic perspective because it gives such statements credibility—and notoriety. But, as long as Camosy continues to claim that his writings and policy suggestions—including his newly proposed “Mother and Prenatal Child Protection Act”—are “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine,” faithful Catholics will have to continue to denounce them.

Reprinted with permission from Crisis Magazine. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook