Thursday, November 19, 2009

SF Archdiocesan Paper Whitewashes SF's CCHD Scandal

The November 20 issue of Catholic San Francisco, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has both an article about the CCHD's funding missteps and a long letter to the editor from Ms. Monica Landeros, associate director of the Office of Public Policy and Social Concern at the Archdiocese. The article is on the front page and Ms. Landeros letter is on page 12.

You will read the entire article and letter without learning that two of the most egregious examples of CCHD-funded groups are right here in San Francisco. You would also not learn from Catholic San Francisco that the two groups, the Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association made national news. You would also not learn that the CCHD was forced to pull its grants from these groups only a few weeks ago. In fact, from reading Catholic San Francisco, you would never learn anything about the Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association at all. They are not mentioned in any issue of the newspaper.

That's using a newspaper to try and hide news instead of publishing news. It's a foolish strategy in the age of the internet.

Ms. Landeros letter to the editor is even worse. She repeats the CCHD's "For the Record" talking points which have already been debunked, but we will gladly do so again. Ms. Landeros states:

"All grant applicants are thoroughly screened and funds are only provided to those groups and projects with objectives that are clearly in line with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. If evidence of non-compliance is discovered at any point during the term of an organization’s grant, they will be defunded immediately, and all monies will be returned to the Campaign."

Obvious question: if all groups are "thoroughly screened" how did the Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Organization end up getting funding? And Ms. Landeros cannot simply blame the CCHD. The CCHD's guidelines, published on November 11, 2008, clearly state:

"CCHD’s current (emphasis in original) 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."

So someone at the Archdiocese did not do their job in properly vetting the Young Workers United and Chinese Progressive Association. Instead of writing a self-justifying letter, Ms. Landeros should be apologizing to the parishioners whose hard-earned money ended up going into the collection basket for such groups.

Ms. Landeros could say, well, we made a mistake. But she doesn't. Addressing the issue of unacceptable local groups receiving CCHD funding, she writes:

"Locally, the Campaign has been attacked for funding two of our organizations."

But wait. Are those organizations the two we have mentioned, which were defunded? No. Nowhere in her letter is there an apology for funding, or even a mention of, the Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Organization. The two groups Ms. Landeros chooses to mention are one called "Nuestra Casa" and the San Francisco Organizing Project. And with her mention of the San Francisco Organizing Project Ms. Landeros goes into fantasy land:

"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. 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."

That's not only false, it's stupid, because the falsehood has already been exposed. We repeat that last sentence:

"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."

1) Simply visit the webpage of the San Francisco Organizing Project. It's "Healthcare" page boasts of "winning" $200,000 for the Mission Neighborhood Health Center.

2) Now simply visit the "Youth Services" page of Mission Neighborhood Health Center. It boasts that its Teen Clinic offers "emergency contraception," which will sometimes be abortion, to young women. (Added bonus: follow the links to "Reliable Health Information" at the bottom of the "Youth Services" page).

3) Just in case anyone is a little slow, that means: yes, the SFOP does support funding for abortion and other life issues contrary to the Church's teaching. Not only do they support it, they delivered it.

There were other letters on this issue sent to the editor of the CSF this week. None were published. I know this, because one of them was from me. Here it is:


On October 30, 2009, every parish in the United States was sent a letter by the US Catholic Bishops regarding HR 3962, the healthcare bill passed on November 7. The letter directly requested that priests and parishioners tell their representatives that unless the bill specifically removed funding for abortion, the bill must be opposed. The Bishops thus articulated a clear moral hierarchy--healthcare is good, but if the cost of healthcare is funding abortion, the evil outweighs the good.

Unfortunately, that same moral clarity is not being applied within Catholic institutions. On the weekend of November 21-22, the Archdiocese has mandated a second collection for the California Campaign for Human Development. For the past 5 years, right here in San Francisco, the CCHD has funded a group called the San Francisco Organizing Project. The website of the SFOP lists 20 Catholic Churches, and the Archdiocese itself, as either “organizing committees” or “partners.” The same SFOP website also boasts that it “won $200,000 for the “Mission Neighborhood Health Center.” Well, the MHNC offers “emergency contraception”-- which, depending on the circumstances, may in fact be abortion. The MNHC also offers referrals to other “reliable” health organizations, the first of which is called the “Center for Young Women’s Health,” whose “contraception” webpage directs young women to Planned Parenthood. Other referrals are to equally objectionable organizations.

The Archdiocese is obligated to apply the same clear moral standards to its own behavior that it applies to members of congress. Why then are they partnering with, and devoting parishioner’s money to, a group that supports “emergency contraception”? Why is the CCHD, which for five years has funded the SFOP, being allowed to take up a second collection from parishioners?"

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FYI - In regard to "emergency contraception", the U.S. Catholic Bishops in their Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services state that a woman "who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault" (Directive 36). She is not obliged when raped to accommodate the natural potential for conception. The USCCB openly states, "Hospitals can offer rape victims treatments that are truly contraceptive and address their other needs with compassion and respect."