CCHD: The Sequel

The annual CCHD collection is coming up in a few months. No surprise that the Catholic Right is packing for a shootout. Again. Deal Hudson has his usual pink-slip solution ready. (Doesn’t this man ever think of something besides putting people out of jobs? What if he were in charge of executive compensation in the bank & mortgage crisis?) We had our go-round on CCHD here several months ago. I wondered openly if this wasn’t part of the post-election sour grapes. “The Left is in control of all our money,” came the complaint.

Too much of CCHD money goes to ideological and political activities that are dear to the left wing, and it’s been pointed out, with painstaking detail, for at least 10 years now.

My commentariat never came to the table with examples of anti-poverty efforts supported by the Right. It might be that the younger of the set still believe in voodoo … I mean trickle-down Reaganism. And local bishops are steering CCHD money to left-wing-dear groups because … well … there are precious few right wing groups that advocate for the end of poverty, oppression, and the like. Do you think the Acton Institute is interested in this kind of work? Have they ever applied for a CCHD grant?

Catholics have a certain cheapskate streak. This is not news. Charitable giving within Catholicism generally ranks half that of most Protestants. If there’s a reason not to give to the parish, or to some other church-connected charity, it usually doesn’t have to be a big one. It’s a common meme on the blogosphere to deny funding to some priest, bishop, diocese, parish, the Vatican, or whatnot for some offense felt. Sometimes, but not always, alternatives are given. I usually don’t read that Deal Hudson has an alternate charity for you to plunk down your ten-percent. I’m generally skeptical of the suggestion to withhold money, unless it’s accompanied by a genuine alternative to send cash elsewhere. (But not the original complainer.)

The Catholic Right has also shown itself willing to be more political than charitable. So when LifeSiteNews comes up with some major CCHD scandal, how much cred does it have? Like Deal Hudson, it will also take your charity dollar–happily so, I expect–but be aware you’re funding a lot of middle-class folks. They’re doing mostly honest work, I’m sure. But they don’t exactly come under the prescription of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So while the scattered scandals of CCHD money going to bad places is a concern, certainly, if such claims are indeed true and can be substantiated. I would keep watchful of those who are calling for the dissolution of an agency. See if alternatives aren’t being proposed. And if they’re not, do some investigation on your own and ask Mr Hudson and his confreres where instead they would suggest you fight poverty, hunger, homelessness, and a lack of medical care. That would seem reasonable, no? What sort of answer do you suppose you’ll get?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to CCHD: The Sequel

  1. DP says:

    From an article by Father Richard Neuhaus at First Things…

    “Which brings me, finally, to another and related matter that will surely be discussed in Baltimore and deserves to be on the agenda. The Campaign for Human Development (CHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.

    Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.

    What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations. Yes, that’s bizarre, but the history of CHD is bizarre. The bishops could really help poor people by promptly shutting down CHD and giving any remaining funds to, for instance, Catholic inner-city schools. In any event, if there is a collection at your parish this month, I suggest that you can return the envelope empty—and perhaps with a note of explanation—without the slightest moral hesitation.”

    Certainly we should always be looking to help the poor…both materially and spiritually. But can’t we be pure in our giving. God calls us to be stewards of the gifts he gives us…would he not want us to be diligent and careful with these gifts?

  2. Todd says:

    Fr Neuhaus actually has it backwards as you have quoted him. It has been known as CCHD for at least the last ten years–I see the sample petitions and collection materials every year they come to the parish.

    I agree on diligence and care when it comes to our monetary gifts to the poor and to agencies that work with them. I also agree that we handle critics with due diligence and, if need be, skepticism, when their testimony doesn’t quite jive with the known facts.

  3. Jim McK says:

    If there were some way to get funding for grass roots community organizing, Fr Neuhaus might be able to coordinate and promote his plan to withhold contributions.

    Would this plan (to oppose the US bishops) pass the first question on the eligibility quizzes that begins every grant process:
    “1. Organizations thar receive CCHD funds must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church.”

  4. Katherine says:

    “ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license.”

    Simply untrue. ACORN takes no position on abortion.

  5. Tony says:

    We will always have roughly the same number of people below the poverty line, because when there’s less people, we move the line.

  6. Norris Hall says:

    Isn’t Deal Hudson the same guy who lost his tenure at a university for conducting an illicit sexual affair with one of his 18 year old students??

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