By Patrick B. Craine
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two more U.S. bishops have discontinued their diocesan collection for the national fund of the U.S. Bishops' domestic anti-poverty arm, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), LifeSiteNews (LSN) has learned.
Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown decided to discontinue the CCHD collection in the fall of 2009, said Tony DeGol, the diocese's secretary for communications.
“The bishop felt that we needed to do an annual special collection for Catholic Charities, so he decided to replace the Catholic Campaign for Human Development with the collection for Catholic Charities, that will benefit our diocese,” Degol told LSN. The diocese's Catholic Charities was “hit hard” with increased demand starting in the summer, Degol said, because other organizations had to reduce their services due to a loss in state funding.
CCHD, long criticized for its funding practices, has come under intense pressure since last August with a number of reports revealing that the organization has funded numerous groups advocating abortion, same-sex “marriage,” contraception, and other questionable activities.
Degol insisted, however, that Bishop Adamec did not mention any concerns about these allegations when he discussed his decision with diocesan staff. “The reason was that we wanted to do something for Catholic Charities, rather than add another collection,” Degol reiterated.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg also decided in the fall to substitute the annual CCHD collection with a “Matthew 25 collection,” said Peter Biasucci, the diocese's assistant director for Catholic Charities. The diocese announced the decision, which was made in consultation with the Presbyteral Council, in September and it took effect in 2010. While Bishop Rhoades moved to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in January, Biasucci said the new setup is intended to continue.
“I think that there were some issues regarding the ability to control some of the national grants and the applications,” Biasucci told LSN.
The new collection will take place the Sunday before Thanksgiving, as the CCHD collection had. According to Biasucci, it will “serve the needy persons in our diocese,” being allocated to “poverty associated projects, basic survival needs, those sorts of things.” He noted that the diocese is still developing the criteria for the grants and is putting together a committee to review and approve grants. He did say, however, that 10% of the collection is to remain in parishes for poverty relief, and 90% will go to a “restricted fund” at the diocese that would be allocated to “parish-based organizations.”
“This collection has more benefit in that all the money will remain here, and we'll be able to allocate the resources in a way that we feel is necessary, and allow the parishes to have a little more autonomy in meeting their own local needs,” he said.
LSN was alerted to the two new dioceses by a report last week from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which focused on Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg's decision to end the CCHD collection.
In the same article, the paper also indicated that they had obtained a copy of a preliminary, unreleased, report that Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh had submitted about CCHD last month. Bishop Zubik sits on the U.S. bishops' CCHD subcommittee and is serving as the chairman of a working group set up in response to the allegations against CCHD.
Bishop Zubik's report, says the Post-Gazette, called for administrative changes, but supported CCHD's mission and efforts. The bishop said that CCHD needs to clarify its Catholic identity and principles, and must also be more clear with grant applicants about prohibited activities.
“I am hopeful and confident these efforts will build on the many strengths and achievements of CCHD to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives and to set the downtrodden free,” he wrote.
The two new dioceses bring the list of those discontinuing the CCHD collection to at least ten, representing over 5% of America's 195 dioceses.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Eighth U.S. Bishop Severs Ties with Anti-Poverty Arm, CCHD
List of Bishops:
Bishop Joseph Adamec – Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Bishop Robert J. Baker – Birmingham, Alabama
Bishop John O. Barres – Allentown, Pennsylvania
Bishop Lawrence Brandt – Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, Nebraska
Bishop Victor Galeone – St. Augustine, Florida
Bishop Robert C. Morlino – Madison, Wisconsin
Bishop Kevin Rhoades (formerly) – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Bishop David Ricken – Green Bay, Wisconsin
Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, Oklahoma