Is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development…Catholic?

…That’s the doubt angry conservatives are trying to sow as a way to undermine the CCHD, the principal anti-poverty program of the U.S. bishops conference, and the Roman Catholic Church in America. Among the harshest critics are some bishops themselves, though a group oddly named “Laity for Life” (they apparently find poverty pro-life, at least for others) is leading one charge against the CCHD.
It is an ugly political fight led by the likes of Father Richard John Neuhaus at “First Things,” and it derives from the ongoing internal church warfare over secular politics. The opening for conservatives was of course the revelations that the CCHD had funded ACORN, the anti-poverty community organizing group that Republicans sought to tie around Obama’s neck, as they tried to disparage “community organizing” and other forms of Christian witness as somehow un-American. God help us if that’s the case.
God help the poor too–this ugly campaign comes just ahead of the CCHD’s annual collection this Sunday, the chief source of its income. Read my take on the controversy over at “America Connects,” the web-only portion of America magazine. And don’t let false accusations and innuendo be an excuse for not donating.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 11:15 am

It’s easy for conservatives who believe in the prosperity gospels instead of the works of Christ to make such criticism.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 1:06 pm

The ACORN scandal has awoken Catholics who have been overlooking the fact that CCHD fails to place priority on protection of pre-born children.
Sadly, CCHD is founded on a philosophy of class war that views the poor as a resource to be “used” to achieve social revolution, rather than individuals made in the image of God that should be served.
When CCHD starts serving the poor, and stops working to elect pro-abotion “progressive” democrats, lay faithful will be ready to resume financial support.

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Jimmy Mac

posted November 20, 2008 at 2:20 am

There are no “pre-born children.”
A child is a child upon birth.

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posted November 20, 2008 at 10:45 am

This post is BS and a prime example of why, despite your best efforts, you are never going to be taken seriously as serious commentor on Catholic matters.
People who are concerned about CCHD (which includes many bishops -take my word for it) are not unconcerned about the poor. That is a strawman and dishonest. They are concerned that some agencies that receive CCHD funds have agendas that are in conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is true.
When will you ever be able to just examine issues dispassionately instead of injecting your own snide insinuations into the matter?

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posted November 20, 2008 at 10:49 am

Yeah, Neuhaus is a priest. He went into that field because he’s obsessed with “prosperity”.

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posted November 20, 2008 at 11:18 am

Those who argue the CCHD should be terminated are curious blood brothers and sisters with the folks who thought the sex abuse crisis revealed the episcopacy as a scandal-ridden country club that also needed to be put out of business.____Usually, when an institution is credibly accused, a proper investigation ensues. If and when individual parties are found guilty, individual error is corrected, sometimes by people losing their positions. Less often is a whole organization deep-sixed.____That said, it is telling that CCHD’s main opponent this week has resorted to deception. Count it as a lie or as a foolish error: either way, the critics themselves have been soiled.____Losing power and influence is tough. Many conservatives are behaving like adolescents. In a healthy family, when a fourteen-year-old has a falling out with the parents, there’s usually a long period in which trust must be rebuilt. Usually that path does not include posing as a deceptive tattletale on one’s siblings or friends.

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Charles Evans

posted November 20, 2008 at 11:20 am

November 11, 2008
For nearly forty years, the Catholic Campaign For Human Development has practiced what the Church teaches about the option for the poor, subsidiarity and solidarity in helping people living in poverty defend their dignity and work for greater justice. Local CCHD-funded groups have made real differences on safer neighborhoods, better schools, decent wages, affordable housing, and immigrant rights. Because the mission of CCHD is so important, the Bishops work very hard to promote it and protect it by careful review and monitoring of CCHD grants to make sure they comply with CCHD’s guidelines and Catholic teaching.
This report covers the steps CCHD and our Conference have taken and are taking to address our serious concerns regarding controversies involving the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN. In the past, CCHD has funded proposals from local organizations affiliated with ACORN when those activities conform to the CCHD guidelines and when the local diocesan CCHD director and the local diocesan bishop explicitly approve the proposal. Many of these local ACORN groups have done impressive work preventing home foreclosures, creating jobs opportunities, raising wages, addressing crime and improving education.
Last June, CCHD cut off funding to all ACORN groups when we learned about a major case of embezzlement eight years ago that was covered up by ACORN staff leadership. This theft and cover-up raised serious concerns about national ACORN’s financial accountability, transparency, governance and organizational integrity. Even though CCHD was only funding local ACORN organizations, and not these national structures, we felt it was necessary to cut off CCHD funding and review support of all ACORN groups.
More recently, the Subcommittee also became concerned about widespread reports of ACORN involvement in alleged voter registration fraud and political partisanship. As a result of the cut-off earlier this year, no CCHD funds were involved in any of these activities. However, the allegations intensified our questions and problems around ACORN’s organizational integrity, competence and non-partisanship. Therefore, we extended the cut off of CCHD funding of any ACORN organizations.
The Bishops’ CCHD Subcommittee met November 8-9 and reviewed this matter at length and discussed it in depth. The Bishop members of the Subcommittee voted unanimously to reaffirm, extend and formalize the decision to end CCHD funding of ACORN organizations because of serious concerns about financial accountability, organizational performance and political partisanship. While not all the specifics can be known, we simply had too many continuing questions and concerns about these serious matters to permit CCHD funding of ACORN groups. Dioceses have told us about the good work done by local ACORN affiliates and we regret that they will not be able to receive CCHD support. We simply could not be absolutely sure that CCHD resources would be used in a manner consistent with our criteria and funding guidelines. This cut off means that no CCHD grants were given to ACORN groups this year (using funds from the 2007 CCHD collection) and no funds from the coming collection (to be taken up in on November 23-24 in many dioceses) will go to ACORN in any place or at any level.
In addition to this funding cutoff, the CCHD Subcommittee and staff have taken a number of other steps:
I chair a special working group within the Bishops’ CCHD Subcommittee to monitor and act on this continuing situation.
CCHD and the USCCB have secured the services of specialists in forensic accounting to help determine if any CCHD money was taken or misused. This investigation is thorough and ongoing.
CCHD, USCCB staff and I have met with ACORN leaders to express our serious concerns and to seek answers to specific questions.
We continue to consult with our CCHD Diocesan Directors to seek their guidance.
The Subcommittee also voted that CCHD should work with others to assist low-income community organizations to adopt and model best practices in areas of financial accountability, organizational management and effective governance. The Subcommittee believes that these efforts can help community organizations and CCHD to carry out more effectively our essential mission of empowering and assisting low-income communities in pursuing economic and social justice.
CCHD’s current criteria and guidelines prohibit partisan activity and funding of any group that engages in activities contrary to Catholic moral teaching, whether or not those activities are funded by CCHD. These criteria are actively enforced and have led CCHD to deny funding to many groups and to quickly terminate any group that violates these prohibitions. The Bishops’ CCHD Subcommittee and staff are reviewing these existing CCHD’s policies, grant agreements, and other safeguards in order to reaffirm and strengthen our protections in areas of Church teaching, financial and organizational accountability, and partisan political activity. We are also examining ways to affirm and articulate the continuing efforts of CCHD in language clearly reflecting the principles of Catholic social teaching, which are at the heart of our mission.
Supporters of CCHD can be reassured for the way CCHD has responded to these challenges and take pride in the impressive and creative ways CCHD carries out the values of the Gospel and the principles of our Catholic faith in rural communities and urban neighborhoods across our nation. Everyday countless numbers of our brothers and sisters are able to say they have been lifted from the scourge of poverty and are able to achieve self sufficiency.
CCHD is fully committed to protecting and carrying out our essential mission “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free” (Luke 4). That was Jesus’ mission on earth and that is CCHD’s mission today.

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posted November 20, 2008 at 12:21 pm

All this infighting is becoming increasingly distressful for me and others within the Catholic Church.
I wish it would stop.

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Jimmy Martello

posted January 13, 2009 at 11:13 pm

I live in New Orleans and have a great fondness for many of our locals that are intimately involved in CCHD. Having been honest about my warm feelings for some people involved in CCHD, it would be intellectually dishonest to say they are the most faithful, adhererant Catholics I know. Most revel in class-warfare, theological relativism, and a gleeful hatred of anyone that disagrees with them or questions the moral integrity of opening opposing Catholic teaches while accepting money from Catholic Churches nationwide. If the purpose of CCHD is to foster peace, it must work for justice for all of God’s children. It must acknowledge that everyone is entitled to justice, both those with and those without financial means, precisely because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Justice isn’t an end in itself, it leads to transcendent, Objective Reality without motivations, prejudices, or preconceptions. If you follow the money trail, any person who is truly honest has to admit that this is not the case with CCHD. The people that I know who are most active in CCHD admit, at least to me privately, they are dissenters.

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posted September 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm


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