Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CCHD Issues New Guidelines

Just in time for their nationwide November second collection (more on this below), the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has published new guidelines that will, hopefully, prevent the funding of groups who act in opposition to Catholic teaching. The new guidelines can be found in full here, the Executive Summary here.

#9 of the CCHD's new "Ten Commitments" includes:

"Ethical Guidance – No group that advocates or acts in opposition to fundamental Catholic social and moral teaching is eligible for or will receive CCHD funding. CCHD is developing greater capacity for ethical guidance in applying Catholic moral teaching to matters of funding, collaboration, coalitions and relationships. This includes regular consultation with moral theologians and the use of a Review Board to advise bishops, CCHD and dioceses in disputed cases."

On the face of it, that would rule out, for example, the San Francisco Organizing Project's receiving grants from the CCHD. When the CCHD uses parishioner's money to fund a political action group (the SFOP) which uses its muscle to advocate (acquiring $200,000) for another group (the Mission Neighborhood Health Center) which offers "emergency contraception" to young women in its youth clinic, that is a clear violation of Commitment #9.

We mention the proximity of the document's publication to the CCHD's nationwide second collection because last year, in the week of the CCHD second collection, Catholic San Francisco published a long letter to the editor by Ms. Monica Landeros, associate director of the Office of Public Policy and Social Concern at the Archdiocese, in which she tried to defend the CCHD's funding of the SFOP:

"The San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP) is a community organizing group that has always maintained a strong relationship with our office and the Archbishop. SFOP has not engaged in any activities contrary to Church teaching."

Stop. False. See above.

"Most recently, SFOP has worked to expand access to health care to children and low-income communities. SFOP is fully aware of the Catholic Church’s position on health care, and they in no way support or endorse funding for abortion or any other life issue that would be contrary to the Church’s teaching."

Stop. False. See above.

The new guidelines cannot be dismissed out of hand, of course, but the previous guidelines should have prevented the SFOP from receiving funding from the CCHD, and they didn't. It's not the plan, but the execution. Commitment #9's reference to "moral theologians" does not cut much ice, either. It was moral theologians who advised His Excellency Archbishop Niederauer to allow the Catholic Charities/Family Builders by Adoptions disaster to go forward. As Monsignor William Smith, professor of moral theology at St. Joseph's Seminary, said at the time "Bishops could find a moral theologian to tell them that water runs uphill."

I sincerely hope the CCHD will get its house in order. But I will wait a year before I consider donating again.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

1 comment:

Ray from MN said...

I'm very suspicious when the Administrative Committee" of the USCCBG approves anything.

They used to have a major problem when laypeople were approving and distributing documents without the bishops even seeing them.

The Bishops are meeting next month. Why was this promulgated now?

Look for "weasel words." The Voters Guide, "Faithful Citizenship", a couple of years ago was destroyed by one paragraph on about page 35 or so.