Friday February 26, 2010

Seventh Bishop Won’t Take Up CCHD Collection

By Patrick B. Craine

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin, February 26, 2010 ( – Bishop David Ricken from the Diocese of Green Bay has decided not to take up a collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) this year, reports the diocesan paper The Compass. Bishop Ricken is the seventh bishop confirmed thus far to have decided against taking up the collection for the national CCHD since the controversy over the organization erupted again this fall.

“There have been some questions about programs that have received funding from CCHD,” chancellor and vicar general Fr. John Doerfler told The Compass. “That, along with the enormous post-earthquake needs in Haiti, we decided this is an appropriate time to give additional support to Catholic Relief Services while we analyze the situation with CCHD.”

The Diocese of Green Bay takes up an annual collection on the fourth Sunday of Lent for “The World’s Poor.” Ordinarily, the funds collected are distributed between Peter’s Pence (given to the Pope for charitable purposes), Catholic Relief Services, and CCHD, but this year the funds will be divided between the first two.

The Compass report noted that there does not seem to be any problems with the CCHD grants distributed in the Green Bay diocese, but explained that Bishop Ricken wants to take time to fully investigate the local and national situation with CCHD.

Bishops are responsible for approving the groups that receive CCHD grants within their own diocese. Normally, 75% of the CCHD collection is contributed to a national fund, and 25% is kept for distribution in the diocese. A bishop can control whether CCHD funding supports groups in harmony with Catholic teaching within his own diocese, but cannot control where the funds are distributed at the national level.

LifeSiteNews (LSN) confirmed in November that at least six bishops had chosen not to take up the annual national CCHD collection, which is conducted on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in most dioceses. Bishop Ricken is the seventh, and the first to be confirmed in 2010.

The controversy over CCHD heated up this Fall after a series of reports from members of the Reform CCHD Now coalition, who have found evidence indicating that numerous CCHD grantees are engaged in advocacy for activities in violation of Catholic teaching, such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

In response to the reports, the CCHD defunded two of the groups and have said they are investigating others. CCHD has defended at least two of the implicated groups without addressing the evidence, however, and have not responded to any charges concerning their grantees since before the November collection.

“Bishop Ricken’s decision to suspend CCHD grants in the Green Bay diocese is a model of prudence in dealing with the ongoing CCHD scandal,” stated Stephen Phelan, communications manager with Human Life International, a member of the Reform CCHD Now coalition. “This is what faithful Catholics want and deserve: confidence that their money is being well spent, in accordance with Church teaching and authentic human development.”

The Reform CCHD Now coalition is calling on the U.S. Bishops to suspend all national CCHD grants until the grants process has been reformed to ensure that Catholic donations are not used to fund activities contrary to Catholic teaching. Supporters are being encouraged to join them by signing their petition.

See related coverage:

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

Bishop Vasa Cautiously Concerned Over USCCB Membership in Pro-Abortion Coalition

CCHD Scandal Picks Up Steam as Bishops React