By Patrick B. Craine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida, November 25, 2009 ( – Bishop Victor Galeone of St. Augustine, Florida also decided to discontinue the CCHD collection, has confirmed, bringing the list of bishops who decided against holding this year's collection to five.

In a November article for his diocesan magazine, Bishop Galeone explains that he had made this decision in May – many months prior to the controversy that erupted this fall over reports that the CCHD is funding groups that support abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage.”

The bishop lists three reasons for his decision.

First, he says, “over the years some CCHD funds were disbursed to certain organizations hostile to key Catholic positions.” He specifically highlighted the funding of ACORN as an instance of this.

Second, he explains, “Catholic organizations or groups cannot receive CCHD funding since their guidelines exclude all 'organizations controlled by governmental, educational, or ecclesiastical bodies.'” While Catholic inner-city schools are “struggling to make ends meet,” he says, “… they cannot receive a single dollar of our own CCHD donations for that purpose!”

Third, he decries the fact that CCHD does not fund projects that work to support family values.  “If CCHD's mission is to address the root causes of poverty in America, why are no funds earmarked to address the greatest cause of poverty in our country today – single motherhood?” he asks.  “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.”

Diocesan chancellor Fr. Michael Morgan told that the bishop has replaced the annual CCHD collection with a new “Diocesan Schools & Social Action Appeal,” which is meant to support similar initiatives as the CCHD, but at the diocesan level and without funding activities contrary to Catholic teaching.

“I think that the concern was that it would be better to support the same basic goals of the [CCHD], but to do it within the diocese exclusively,” Fr. Morgan said.  “We would have more control to make sure that the money collected went to, perhaps similar purposes, but organizations that would not have the problems that surface with the [CCHD].”

In his article, Bishop Galeone explains that the funds collected from the new appeal will be disbursed equally between (1) local pregnancy centers, (2) tuition assistance for needy students in Catholic schools, and (3) self-help community groups.

The collection for the appeal was held this past weekend, in lieu of the CCHD collection, and Fr. Morgan says Bishop Galeone plans to continue this approach in the years to come.

See related coverage:

Bishop Bruskewitz on CCHD: Bishop Morin Was a “Bit Too Dismissive” of Concerns 

Four US Bishops Did Not Take up Collection for Embattled CCHD 

$1.3 Million in CCHD Funds Going to Questionable Groups: Reform Coalition 

List of Bishops:

Bishop Robert J. Baker – Birmingham, Alabama  LSN coverage

Bishop John O. Barres – Allentown, Pennsylvania  LSN coverage

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, Nebraska  LSN coverage

Bishop Victor Galeone – St. Augustine, Florida  Statement

Bishop Robert C. Morlino – Madison, Wisconsin  Statement  LSN coverage