In September the USCCB released a document on the “Review and Renewal” of The Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
This Review and Renewal is putting in place stronger policies and clearer mechanisms to screen and monitor grants and groups to ensure that these past violations, though very limited, are not repeated. CCHD will do all it can to ensure that groups abide by these strengthened requirements and will act immediately and decisively if it is discovered that any group is violating these essential conditions for CCHD support.
Sounds good, but what about actual practice? Well in the same document they also praise one group.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is an organization of Latino, and Haitian migrant farm workers in Florida. Working with the local diocese, the Florida Catholic Conference and many other groups, CIW has won groundbreaking agreements with major fast food chains to increase wages and improve better working conditions for their members who pick tomatoes.
This group participated in the US Social Forum 2010 (USSF) which sets as part of its national agenda abortion for low-income women, Marxism for the 21st Century (Young Communist League), and LGBT issues including “Radical Queer Festivals.” That they had participated in this was previously reported by Reform CCHD.
CCHD really needs a more radical reform and a look at how it sees its mission. CCHD does not directly fund any charities, but gives grants to groups involved in anti-poverty efforts. As long as this is true CCHD is going to cause scandal simply because it is exactly these types of groups that get themselves involved in an agenda that includes much more than anti-poverty efforts. The people who populate these groups seem to me to have a mindset identical to so many liberal groups. While a group might not personally be involved in activities contrary to Church teaching they are almost always sympathetic to them and will align themselves with such groups. There is very little variety in the types of groups that CCHD has funded which almost always have a more socialist view of economics and why poverty exists in the first place. Just reading over previous grant lists pretty much demonstrate this. CIW saw no inconsistency attending the Social Forum because they are fellow travelers.
So while I am certainly generalizing, it seems to me that as long as CCHD targets such groups for grants in the first place they will continue to cause scandal. It is a prudential question how much good these types of groups have actually achieved in the first place. I am certainly skeptical about this, but no expert on the subject.
From my own point of view I would much rather see such annual collections be directed by the local ordinary who would decide where such money could best serve the poor and other aspects of Catholic social teaching. This is what my bishop is doing since he replaced it with a “Diocesan Schools and Social Action Appeal.” I think this approach is much more effective and in keeping with subsidarity.