A story from The Catholic World Report available
at Ignatius Insight chronicles a policy paper put out by Catholic
Relief Services the charitable arm of the USCCB. Their
position includes giving information on condom use and the report
chronicles tactics used by CRS against those who conscientiously object
to doing this. Germain Grisez has provides a in depth report
on this that shows how they have taken some older documents from the
bishops out of context and that they are probably presenting one thing
to the donors and the bishops while their actual practice on this issue
has been along secular lines.
The authors believes that there needs to
be an investigation of CRS and concludes.
Since CRS is an agency of the United
States bishops, its officials should act as their agents. If CRS
officials have been pretending to follow the bishops� policy while
disregarding it, they have betrayed their responsibility and misled the
bishops. Any bishop would fire a real estate agent who did that to him.
As the bishops� agency, CRS acts in the person of the Church. CRS
officials should be managing a charitable apostolate of the Catholic
Church in the United States. But they have been distributing material
on which they have prohibited putting the CRS logo. If they are doing
what they cannot make clear that the Church is doing, how can they be
conducting a charitable apostolate in the Church�s name? But if and
insofar as they have not been conducting a charitable apostolate in the
Church�s name, they are betraying the Church herself�not only the
bishops but all the faithful, and even Jesus himself, the Church�s Head.
Moreover, it seems that some partners have been pressed to cooperate
despite their conscientious objections. Negative reactions of bishops
and churches in other countries seem to be regarded as a problem to be
dealt with rather than as expressions of conscientious judgment to be
Faithful Catholics who have donated to CRS in recent years for AIDS
relief did so because they expected the program to be carried out in a
distinctively Catholic way. Had they not expected this, they could have
donated to a secular organization fighting AIDS. If CRS officials have
used donations otherwise than they have led donors to expect, CRS
officials have misappropriated those funds.
Finally, even by secular standards, people encouraged to use condoms to
prevent the transmission of HIV have been ill-served. Genuine
charitable apostolate in regard to the prevention of HIV transmission
helps save lives but also does something infinitely more important,
namely, offers everyone it reaches help to rise from the life of this
corruption to the life that never dies. However, the opposite was
offered if, as it seems, people who should have received loving service
in the Church�s name were scandalized in the strict sense by being
encouraged to continue engaging�or worse, as early adolescents, to
begin engaging�in sinful sexual activity rather than to live chastely.
What has been going on at CRS must be investigated. The CRS board is
ultimately responsible for its operations. I urge the board to begin by
examining the items described in this article. The questions those
items raise suggest many further questions.
It does remind me of the line George Weigel recently used where he mentioned “salvation-through-latex approach to AIDS prevention.”