Three More Bishops Look for CCHD Reform



By Patrick B. Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 25, 2009 ( - At least three U.S. bishops have called for reform of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), in addition to the five bishops (at last count) who chose not to take up the collection for the national organization this year.

This episcopal response follows the controversy that erupted after it was discovered earlier this year that the CCHD was funding numerous organizations that have promoted or are promoting activities contrary to Church teaching, including abortion, contraception, and same-sex "marriage." The Reform CCHD Now Coalition, which formed in response to these revelations about CCHD's funding practices, now contends that $1.3 million is allocated to questionable groups.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Virginia wrote a letter to the faithful of his diocese on November 13th to express his support for the work of the CCHD, but, in so doing, made it clear that this support is only in light of the organization's promised reform.

"I have been deeply distressed by reports of the misuse of some national funds collected through the CCHD, specifically by their distribution to organizations which pursue policies and advance causes contrary to the teachings of our Church," he wrote.

While he accepts the commitment of the USCCB's CCHD subcommittee, chaired by Bishop Roger Morin, to ensure proper oversight of grantees, he said that he has written to Bishop Morin to insist on the need for policy reform.

"I have written to [Bishop Morin] to convey my serious concerns and to urge that the criteria for evaluating grants be revised so as to ensure in advance, as far as is humanly possible, that grants will be awarded only to those programs and initiatives in accord with Church teaching," he wrote.

In concluding Bishop Loverde implies that failure to make the necessary improvements could lead him to stopping the collection in future years.  "I am confident that the CCHD subcommittee will take advantage of this period of grace, so as to develop criteria which will lead to a faithful and fruitful future for CCHD," he wrote. "Therefore, I am authorizing the CCHD second collection to be taken this year on the weekend of November 21-22 in all the parishes of our diocese."

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, in a November 5th letter, applauded the CCHD's work over the last 40 years, but also maintained that "there have been some legitimate concerns over the funding of some programs by the CCHD."

"As a member of the USCCB, I am doing everything in my power to address these issues," he wrote, "and ensure that money donated in our diocese, and throughout the United States, is used for programs that respect the dignity of the human person from the moment of conception until natural death."

The bishop goes on to pledge his continued careful oversight of his diocese's grantees, and says that due to the large number of national grants awarded to his diocese, their local CCHD program "is uniquely positioned to be a model of the best of what the CCHD is about, moving people out of poverty and toward integral development."

Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph issued a statement to his diocese on November 19th relating the CCHD's commitment to upholding the Church's teaching, but insisting future support of the organization will depend on its success in living out this commitment.

He assured the faithful, as well, that he is diligent regarding the grantees in his diocese, only approving them "after a careful review."  "I take every precaution to ensure that groups that receive CCHD funds are appropriate," he states.

The CCHD has "done much good" over the years, he says, but its "continuation ... will depend on how seriously the Campaign takes the mandate of its benefactors to act within the parameters of Church teaching."

"I expect the CCHD collection to be taken this year," he concludes, "but individual donors will show their support—or lack thereof—according to their own choice."

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 

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