“Substance” ought to be meaty. Against the 210 pages of a report issued by American Life League (ALL)[i] documenting scores of Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grantees that violate, in one form or another, CCHD’s own grant guidelines, CCHD issued a page-long press release[ii] and an accompanying one-page “enclosure.” [iii] The fact that this preemptive rebuttal was issued on September 28, 2011, several days before the ALL Report was released on October 3, 2011, may account for the paucity of its self-defense but, then again, it may not.
As we have done with prior CCHD communications, here is a response to the response:
1. CCHD argues that the ALL Report is nothing more than “recycled allegations.”
“Recycled allegations” are perfectly legitimate if they have not been addressed. Conservationists don’t stop complaining about undrinkable water just because the corporation spewing chemicals into the river says it has performed numerous tests that show the water is pure, pure, pure.
But, as a matter of fact, the 2011 ALL Report is not simply last year’s report, repackaged, unless CCHD means that ALL continues to complain that the water is toxic.
However, the ALL Report contains scores of newly documented offenses.
2. CCHD argues that most of the ALL allegations are without merit. “In one case, a clear violation occurred after the grant was approved and CCHD funding was swiftly and completely terminated. We expressed our appreciation for this information. However, other ALL allegations are without substance and our reasons for this conclusion are in the attached summary.” [emphasis added]
However, the attached “summary” does nothing more than detail the very stringent vetting process prospective CCHD grantees must endure before receiving their awards. A detailed vetting process, filled with well-intentioned bishops and priests and ever-evolving guidelines, is a lovely piece of bureaucracy…IF it results in grantees whose work conforms to Catholic moral principles.
If the grantees’ work does not conform to Catholic moral principles, however, the vetting process wasn’t good enough.
The object to look at is not the process but the outcome.
3. CCHD argues that “It is important to note serious overall problems with the accusations of Hichborn and ALL. They rely almost exclusively on unverified web-based information and primarily on internet sites of organizations that are NOT funded by CCHD. These accusations are almost always made without contact with the CCHD funded groups or diocesan staff.”
Much of the web-based information, however, comes from the home-sites of the CCHD grantees. This is the material the grantee is showing the world about its work, its mission, and its affiliations. It is, in fact, contact with the CCHD-funded group.
While some web-based information is unreliable, some is “source material” – including organizational fliers and newspaper clippings that have been posted online. The ALL Report has made the distinction between valid sources and “opinion” pieces. CCHD has not.
4. CCHD argues that when ALL has identified any of its grantees as working within an objectionable coalition, it is consistently misunderstanding the situation. Either the coalition listed the grantee as a “member” or a “partner” without permission, OR an over-enthusiastic staff member signed the grantee into “membership” or a “partnership” without proper authorization, OR grantees perhaps spoke at such coalition gatherings but only about their own topics, OR perhaps the materials are outdated, and anyway, the local bishop bears the final responsibility for screening grantees in his area.
If there were only one or two grantees in question, the occasional communication snafu would be entirely understandable. When, however, grantee after grantee is shown to be entangled with coalitions promoting abortion or homosexual “rights,” it becomes more difficult to dismiss this as an aberration.
And it is not an aberration. As has been discussed elsewhere [Catholic Campaign for Human Development 2011: Part I Guilt by Association – Funding the Idaho Community Action Network. http://www.speroforum.com/site/print.asp?idarticle=61285], many CCHD grantees are actively engaged in progressive political network building. Whatever the grantee’s particular area of concern may be, to be part of such a political network means promoting moral evil. It really is that black and white.
5. CCHD argues that it has begun to fund new, pro-life initiatives. That’s nice… so long as it isn’t simultaneously funding the same old, pro-abortion, political progressives that will vitiate them. And, unfortunately, CCHD is doing exactly that.
So the issue we come back to is whether or not CCHD funds a high percentage of groups with an anti-Catholic agenda in some aspect of their work. Are the ALL allegations without substance? Look at a few of them:
CCHD gave $30,000 to the New York City AIDS Housing Network, which is listed as a condom distribution site at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene webpage.[iv] Is this not a substantive problem for a CCHD grantee?
CCHD gave $25,000 to Michigan Interfaith Voice, an affiliate of the Gamaliel Alinskyian organizing network. Michigan Interfaith Voice has also received multiple grants from the Arcus Foundation specifically for the promotion of homosexual “rights.”[v] Is this not a substantive problem for a CCHD grantee?
CCHD gave $40,000 to Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), which has been an “associate member agency” of Women’s Way[vi] and long-time grant recipient of its “Community Women’s Fund,”[vii] which only funds pro-abortion, pro-birth control organizations.[viii] Is this not a substantive problem for a CCHD grantee?
CCHD gave $40,000 to Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, which believes that those rights include universal access to abortion, as evidenced by – but not limited to – its membership in the abortion-advocacy groups Healthcare for All coalition,[ix] and US Human Rights Network.[x] An official representing GLAHR spoke at the Atlanta LGBT Immigration Forum that had been organized “for a timely discussion about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer immigration.”[xi] Is this not a substantive problem for a CCHD grantee?
CCHD gave $40,000 to Coalition LA, which printed its own voter guide, calling for votes in favor of same-sex marriage.[xii] Is this not a substantive problem for a CCHD grantee?
And if these are not substantive problems for a CCHD grantee, CCHD is a substantive problem for the US Catholic Church.
Stephanie Block is Spero columnist. She also edits the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper and is a member of the Catholic Media Coalition.
[i] The entire report can be read and downloaded at www.reformcchdnow.com
[ii] Bishop Jaime Soto, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, “Memorandum of Bishop Soto and Bishop Blaire Memo Regarding CCHD,” sent to all United States Catholic Bishops, 9-28-11: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/Who-We-Are/soto-blaire-cchd-memo.cfm
[iii] “Response to Recent Attacks on CCHD,” www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/Who-We-Are/cchd-report-9-28-2011.cfm
[iv] New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “Get Some NYC Condom,” Condom Locations: https://a816-healthpsi.nyc.gov/CondomOrder/IndividualsGetSome.jsp
[v] Arcus Foundation, social justice awards category: www.arcusfoundation.org/socialjustice/grants/awarded
[vi] Women’s Way no longer lists WCRP as a member agency. Nora Lichtash, WCRP Executive Director, was on the Advisory Board of “A Change of Pace,” Women’s Way 2008-updated signature research report in support of “reproductive rights.”
[vii] Women’s Way, “Community Women’s Fund Grantee in the News,” www.womensway.org/index.asp
[viii] Women’s Way, “Community Women’s Fund Information,”www.womensway.org/resources-community-fund-general.asp; The American Life League report states that in 2009 the CCHD was informed of WCRP’s membership in Women Vote PA, a pro-abortion coalition. Shortly after, WCRP was removed from Women Vote PA’s coalition list and was awarded a CCHD grant the following year.
[ix] Healthcare for All coalition members list: healthcareforamericanow.org/site/content/who_we_are
[x] US Human Rights Network coalition members list: www.ushrnetwork.org (as of 9-11, this website address was inactive and no other web address was available for the organization.) GLAHR is also a member institution of Atlanta Jobs with Justice, a local affiliate of Jobs for Justice, which actively promotes abortion, homosexual rights and Marxism. The American Life League Report documents these assertions with photocopies from pertinent webpages.
[xi] National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Atlanta LGBT Immigration Forum announcement – speaker Xochitl Bervera, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights: georgiastandup.org/node/510
[xii] Coalition LA, “Voter Guide,” pp. 1, 3: digital.library.ucla.edu/campaign/librarian?VIEWPDF=2000_009_004_a The American Life League report states that the CCHD was informed of the Coalition Voter Guide in 2009 and that not only did CCHD never address the concern, it gave Coalition LA another grant in 2010. Coalition LA is also a partner of the Center for Community Change, which has, among other things, worked for continued federal funding of the abortion-provider Planned Parenthood.