Sunday, January 1, 2012

Catholic Charities: "We get government funds, so we are not Catholic."

In the Winter, 2000 issue of City Journal, Brian C. Anderson, analyzed the corruption of Catholic Charities following its ever-increasing acceptance of government funding. The article began:

"As advanced social thinkers rediscover the power of faith-based institutions to rescue the down-and-out by transforming the dysfunctional worldview that often lies at the root of their difficulties, you would think that Catholic Charities USA would be a perfect model to emulate, getting the poor into the mainstream by emphasizing moral values and ethical conduct. But no: rather than trying to promote traditional values and God-fearing behavior, Catholic Charities—and the same could be said about the Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies or the Lutheran Services in America—has become over the last three decades an arm of the welfare state, with 65 percent of its $2.3 billion annual budget now flowing from government sources and little that is explicitly religious, or even values-laden, about most of the services its 1,400 member agencies and 46,000 paid employees provide."

We at A Shepherd's Voice have been discussing for some time, too. See here and here.

Mr. Anderson continues:

"For wayward kids, for welfare moms trying to break free of dependency, for heroin addicts or drunks trying to kick the habit, faith-based programs work best. Psychologist David Larson at the National Institute for Healthcare Research cites many studies that show a strong correlation between religious participation and rejecting crime and substance abuse; criminologist Byron Johnson of Lamar University has shown big drops in recidivism for prisoners who go through Charles Colson's faith-based Prison Fellowship Program."

And he gives this example:

"Catholic Charities would have found none of this surprising 70 years ago, but many of today's Catholic Charities agencies pay little attention to the power of faith to transform lives. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum sparked a fierce controversy in 1996 when he rebuked Catholic Charities for drifting away from the faith under the pressure of government funding. Santorum told of a priest he knows who began a psychology internship at a Catholic Charities clinic. The clinic supervisor tested him on three hypothetical counselling situations: a depressed pregnant woman who wants to abort her child, two homosexuals seeking advice on their relationship, and a divorcing couple asking for counselling. In keeping with Catholic teachings, the priest advised against the abortion, refused to endorse homosexual unions, and encouraged the divorcing couple to save their marriage. He failed the test. His supervisor explained: 'We get government funds, so we are not Catholic.'"

The link to Mr. Anderson's article came from a December 21 article in Philanthropy Daily by Scott Walter called "Conquering the Private Sector", which extensively quotes the late Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Senator Moynihan, who grew up in a tough neighborhood in New York, and knew something about the causes of poverty, expressed great fear at the government's ongoing takeover of private charitable institutuions.

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