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Compiled by Steve Jalsevac

Richard Viguerie Writes to Catholic Laymen Regarding CCHD
You probably think you've never given money to ACORN and its allies. But if you've contributed to the annual November Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) appeal of the Catholic bishops, you've done just that.

Arlington Bishop Decides to Continue CCHD Collection
Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Virginia, has acknowledged a lively debate about the direction of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), but asked his priests to take up the annual CCHD collection “without any negative commentary.”

ACORN’s Catholic Collection Plate Money
Starting in 2007 as ACORN ramped up its voter registration drive, the Catholic Campaign also ramped up its support for ACORN, awarding ACORN 37 grants totaling at least $1,037,000 — more than double the dollar amount in any one of the previous three years. 

In June 2008, the Catholic Campaign authorized $1.2 million in grants, according to a memo obtained by the Register and issued by Bishop Roger Morin, chairman of the Catholic Campaign subcommittee. The memo says 38 ACORN groups were set to receive the money. Ralph McCloud, Catholic Campaign for Human Development executive director, said he did not know what accounted for the higher funding levels.

The 2008 grants were put on hold this summer due to a separate ACORN scandal unrelated to voter fraud. Bishop Morin confirmed to the Register that all Catholic Campaign contributions to ACORN are now on hold. The Register’s research revealed that the bulk of new ACORN voters were registered in electoral swing states, like Ohio and Michigan, while larger states received only a fraction of the organization’s attention.

Left-Wing Radicalism in the Church: The Catholic Campaign for Human Development
After channeling $7.3 million of parishioners’ money to ACORN over the last decade, the Catholic bishops were coming under intense pressure from conservative Catholics who were outraged by reports of gross legal and ethical improprieties involving ACORN.
On Nov. 11, 2008, Bishop Roger Morin, chairman of the Bishops’ subcommittee on CCHD, announced that ACORN was permanently cut off as a grant recipient. CCHD and ACORN are cousins in a sense, and their common bonds must have made it excruciating for CCHD to disown ACORN.

But not much of CCHD’s money over the years has actually gone to the poor. Almost
all of it has been disbursed to ACORN-like groups for political activities and community organizing – and many of those groups have been founded or are run by Catholic priests.

According to “The Catholic Case for Obama,” a monograph published by a group called Catholic Democrats, Barack Obama “received support in his community organizing work for Chicago from the Archdiocese of Chicago and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through the Campaign for Human Development.” Candidate Obama himself acknowledged CCHD’s importance to his early career in community organizing in an October 2008 interview with Catholic Digest.

Archbishops Nienstedt and Chaput Defend CCHD as Criticisms Continue
Responding to concerns about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), Archbishop John Nienstedt and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput have said the CCHD still does “much good,” despite several “disturbing” incidents and “mistakes” in which the campaign funded groups that worked against Catholic teachings.

The CCHD’s response to concerns that all grant money is “fungible,” Hichborn said, was “inadequate and inaccurate.” If one project of an organization is well funded, he said, money in the organization’s general fund is freed up for other projects.
If an unworthy organization is running a good project, Hichborn argued, a Catholic cannot donate to that project because it “lends credibility” to the organization, causes scandal to the laity, and frees up the organization’s general fund for other “evil projects.”

Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput also commented on the CCHD controversy in an interview with Mike Sullivan of the group Catholics United for the Faith. He said that people should be “prudent” and shouldn’t jump to “rash conclusions.” He said that he believed that some CCHD staff has made mistakes, but he said some blogs had been “excessive in their judgment.”

“If people don’t like the decisions of the Campaign staff and their allocations, one of the ways they can show their displeasure is by withholding funds from their diocesan collections,” the archbishop added.