Thursday February 18, 2010

Pro-Life Coalition Questions 2nd CCHD Official’s Ties with Pro-Abort Group

By Patrick B. Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 18, 2010 ( – The U.S. Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) recently defended John Carr, the executive director of the USCCB’s Office of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, from criticisms by the Reform CCHD Now Coalition (RCN) by asserting that a group he chaired only began its abortion and homosexual advocacy after he left the board. But the RCN Coalition is now asking how the USCCB can explain the fact that another USCCB official joined the same board after Carr left, and continues to serve on that board while acting as an official consultant to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

Stephen Phelan, communications manager for Human Life International, and a representative of RCN, told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that RCN is “dismayed” that the only response from the USCCB following two February 1st reports documenting the pro-abortion and homosexualist activities of the Center for Community Change has been to defend Carr.

“It’s never about a single person. It’s a pattern,” he said.

CCHD has been subject to criticism for years, but the pressure has mounted in the last couple years following revelations that they have funded groups who promote abortion, contraception, and homosexualism. This led at least six bishops to opt out of the collection in 2009.

Since August, RCN has claimed to have found evidence implicating 45 CCHD grantees in questionable activities; however, so far only two grants have been ended, with two other groups being defended, and two further groups getting renewed investigation.

While members of the USCCB have made several general statements reproving the calls for reform, no direct response has been given to specific charges against grant recipients.

RCN had highlighted John Carr’s long-term involvement with the CCC as evidence of an alleged “pattern” of cooperation with groups advocating against Church teaching. But they say the pattern is even more strongly apparent in former CCHD associate director of programs Tom Chabolla’s involvement with the CCC.

Chabolla joined the board of CCC in 2006, and continues now as a board member. He worked for CCHD until 2008 and now serves as Assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). But he has stayed on with the CCHD, now serving as a “lay consultant” to the bishops’ CCHD subcommittee, which oversees the organization.

As Rob Gasper of the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry told LSN, Chabolla has served on the CCC board “during the time period when CCC ramped up its anti-life activities.”

The CCC’s Movement Vision Lab, which the CCC suddenly dissociated itself from after the February 1st RCN reports, was launched in 2004 – while Carr was still on the board. Founded and still headed by pro-abortion homosexual activist Sally Kohn, the Lab has the goal of “identifying and advancing a shared, progressive vision for the future of the United States.”

They make clear that abortion is included in this “progressive vision” when, explaining the intersection between progressive issues, they state: “Certainly the issues are intersectional – foreign policy is inextricably intertwined with economic development policy; abortion rights and reproductive freedom intersect with criminal justice. Our solutions must intersect as well.”

In 2007, CCC received (see page 17) a grant of $75,000 from the Arcus Foundation, which was specifically earmarked for training young homosexual activists. They received another grant of $50,000 in 2008 from the Gill Foundation, which is one of the U.S.’s largest homosexual funding groups.

RCN members also have noted that Chabolla is a member in the Facebook group “I bet we can find 1,000,000 People who Support Same Sex Marriage” – a possible indication of his stance on CCC’s homosexualist advocacy.

E-mails and a phone call to Chabolla for comment were not answered.

In 2009, CCC joined a Stop Stupak coalition, in opposition to the health care amendment that would prevent federal funds from paying for abortions. Chabolla had left his job at CCHD by this time, but was still serving as a consultant.

“How can the CCHD claim that John Carr left the CCC’s board before it became active in promoting abortion and same sex marriage , and simultaneously ignore the fact that Tom Chabolla worked for Carr while serving on the CCC’s board at the time it was doing these things?” asked Michael Hichborn, lead researcher into CCHD for American Life League.

Gasper asked the same question, but added, “We are not questioning Chabolla’s pro-life convictions. However, we are questioning his prudence concerning which groups are appropriate for Catholics to support. Our concern is that this lack of prudence is part of what led to the CCHD’s funding of problematic organizations.”

Repeated calls and e-mails over the course of a week to USCCB media director Sr. Mary Ann Walsh and the office of media relations were not answered. Other news sites, such as and the National Catholic Register, have pointed out in the last two weeks that the USCCB has not responded to their inquiries regarding the CCHD.

“We know there’s good people [in the USCCB],” said Phelan, “but we’re left wondering why they won’t even address our charges and why they misrepresent our claims in public, why they scrub their sites while claiming that the charges are baseless.”

Phelan asked the Catholic faithful “to pray that the truth is being served in all this, so the ugliness can give way to the truth.” In scandal, he said, “there’s always this period of tension and struggle, and at some point the truth does win out. We’ll just have to pray – not our side, not their side, just the truth.”

Contact Information:

Bishop William Murphy, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

Diocese of Rockville Centre

50 North Park Ave. (PO Box 9023)

Rockville Centre, NY 11571-9023

Phone: 516-678-5800 ext. 400

Fax: 516-764-3316

E-mail: [email protected]

Bishop Roger Morin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Diocese of Biloxi

1790 Popps Ferry Rd.

Biloxi, MS


Phone: 228-702-2111

Fax: 228-702-2178

John Carr, Executive Director (Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development)

3211 4th Street, N.E.

Washington, D.C.


Phone: 202-541-3181

E-mail: [email protected]

Ralph McCloud, Director (Catholic Campaign for Human Development)

3211 4th Street, N.E.

Washington, D.C.


Phone: 202-541-3367

E-mail: [email protected]

See related coverage:

CCHD Scandal Picks Up Steam as Bishops React

U.S. Bishops’ Media Director Who Exonerated Exec Admits to Not Reading Key Report

U.S. Bishops’ Exec Responds to Charges of Cooperation with Pro-Abortion, Homosexualist Group

Sixth Bishop Didn’t Take Up CCHD Collection

Three More Bishops Look for CCHD Reform

USCCB’s Social Justice Arm Caught Funding Pro-Abortion/Prostitution Groups: Takes “Decisive” Action in Response