By Patrick B. Craine

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania, April 26, 2010 ( – Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg, Pennsylvania announced Thursday that his diocese will no longer support the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty arm, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), because the national organization has funded groups that promote activities contrary to Catholic teaching.

Speaking at a fundraising dinner for Catholic Charities of Greensburg, the bishop announced his plan to develop a Diocesan Poverty Relief Fund to support the poor locally with funds that had previously been sent to the national CCHD.

“This change allows our diocese to know exactly how the poverty relief funds are spent,” he said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “It also assures the parishioners who make generous contributions to the diocese that they are helping their neighbors right here in southwestern Pennsylvania.”

He explained that he made the decision at the end of 2009 following complaints to him and his priests.  He also stressed that no local CCHD grants, which are approved by the local bishop, had been given to groups advocating positions contrary to Church teaching

A statement from the diocese, reported by the Post-Gazette, noted that “Bishop Brandt and other U.S. bishops have been critical of CCHD because some of the national grants it awarded did not receive appropriate oversight, and monies were used to fund activities that were not in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Monsignor Raymond E. Riffle, managing director of Catholic Charities for the diocese, told the Herald Standard that the new diocesan program will allow the funds to be used to support direct services to the poor, which are specifically denied funds by CCHD.  “CCHD funds cannot be used, for example, to help a parish food pantry or a St. Vincent de Paul Society store expand its services or fill an emergency need,” Msgr. Riffle said. “The Diocesan Poverty Relief Fund also allows us to respond to requests from these worthwhile organizations for funds to buy food, clothing and other necessities and then distribute them to people in need.”

Bishop Brandt also made headlines last week after he denied his diocese's support to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pennsylvania because they went against the U.S. bishops in supporting the health care reform bill.

See related coverage:

Bishop Brandt Blocks Expansion Efforts of Nuns who Supported Health Bill

Seventh Bishop Won't Take Up CCHD Collection

List of Bishops:

Bishop Robert J. Baker – Birmingham, Alabama

Bishop John O. Barres – Allentown, Pennsylvania 

Bishop Lawrence Brandt – Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, Nebraska

Bishop Victor Galeone – St. Augustine, Florida Statement 

Bishop Robert C. Morlino – Madison, Wisconsin Statement 

Bishop David Ricken – Green Bay, Wisconsin LSN

Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, Oklahoma