It isn’t a mere few weeks before the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection but rather the season during which new grants are under consideration. What better time for another report from the American Life League (ALL) about the plethora of CCHD grants that have, in the past, violated Church teaching and fundamental moral principles by funding organizations with powerful pro-death affiliations?
The American Life League’s full report can be read at its website. This report looks at “50 CCHD grantees engaged in some manner in the promotion of activities and ideologies antithetical to Church teaching.” For example, there’s the CCHD’s extraordinary funding of the Center for Community Change , an organization that was not only awarded a $150,000 CCHD grant in 2001 but is promoted on the US Catholic bishops’ website and has sent speakers to CCHD functions.
A former chair of the Center’s board heads one of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ departments. Furthermore, at least 31 other CCHD grantees a “partnered” with the Center. Some of those grantees have extensive networks of their own CCHD-funded affiliates and many of these partners and their affiliates work directly within Catholic parishes. This makes the Center for Community Change’s sphere of influence within the US Catholic Church enormous.
What’s the problem with that? Well! The ALL report states, “[T]he culture of death is pervasive throughout the Center for Community Change, from its board members to the grants it receives, to its projects and its promoted literature. Any group partnering with this organization is directly involved with this pervasive attitude.”
For example, the Center for Community Change’s “Movement Vision Project” promotes “abortion rights” and “reproductive freedom,” according to an introduction describing the project. One of the Center for Community Change’s Board of Advisors promotes same-sex marriage; another was a consultant to the National Organization for Women (NOW) and, in 1965, organized a group called “Jane” to help women find illegal abortion providers; still another is the president and CEO of the pro-abortion Ms. Foundation for Women. That’s three egregiously engaged in organizations that fundamentally contradict Church teaching but one could make a case for many other members of the Center’s board whose activities, while less aggressively objectionable, are nevertheless deeply challenging to the moral truth.
The Center for Community Change has received substantial grant money ($75,000) from the Arcus Foundation for “project Generation Change, an initiative to recruit, support and train the next generation of community organizers and emerging social justice leaders … from the GLBT community.” The Center for Community Change hosted a 2009 training seminar for homosexual groups. The Center for Community Change publishes a Tool Kit that equates resistance to homosexual demands to racism. The Center for Community Change’s resource library contains materials supporting abortion “rights.”
In other words, The Center for Community Change’s (CCC) progressive – abortion and homosexual politic activism – is an essential part of its work, not an accidental consequence of a few, unfortunate alliances. “Through their ‘Generation Change’ program,” the ALL report explains, “CCC trains and develops staff as ‘community organizers’ for their partner groups, including those receiving CCHD funds. CCC provides a resource library with books promoting ‘reproductive freedom’ and its ‘Movement Vision Lab’ equates access to abortion and ‘reproductive justice’ with seeking criminal justice. This project aims to build a ‘progressive movement’ with a ‘coherent, compelling, shared vision – one that represents our values and dreams for society’.”
If the report stopped there, and CCHD defunded “just” the organizations and their affiliates directly partnered with the Center for Community Change, an enormous dent would be made toward reforming CCHD’s anti-Catholic funding record. Hundreds of grantees would be affected.
But the ALL report identifies more – almost 4 dozen more – CCHD grantees making specific challenges against Church teaching. Chicago’s CCHD-funded Southwest Organizing Project is a lead agency in the Elev8 project “to create a new model for middle schools” that includes “comprehensive sex education” – that is contraceptive and “safe sex” protection information, coupled with the cheerful message that abstinence is great but if you just can’t wait, here’s what to do.
California’sLA Community Action Network (AKA: CANGRESS) has promoted emergency “contraception” – that is, early abortion in some cases – and “family planning” – that is, contraception, which is abortifacient is many cases – in its newsletter promotion of a local clinic providing these services.
Pennsylvania’s Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) is a Coalition Partner with Women Vote PA, supporting same-sex marriage, “comprehensive” sex education, “reproductive health care” and “family planning,” and emergency “contraception.”
One could go on – and the ALL report does, in brutal detail. Please read the report for yourself. The bottom line, however, is that CCHD has been funding anti-Catholic organizations for decades, many of them profoundly anti-life. During this midterm season of considering how Catholic charitable money is to be awarded, it’s time for a serious change of direction, a change in which Catholics could believe.
Stephanie Block is the editor of the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper and a founder of the Catholic Media Coalition.