The American Life League has released an investigative report on the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which, it turns out, has been funding dozens of thoroughly unchristian organizations in its fight against domestic poverty. Catholics in the pews who have given to the annual CCHD collection might not be happy to learn that the program’s efforts are frequently right out of line with its “fight poverty: defend human dignity” slogan.

At Acton, we believe that in the long run, the poor are harmed by patronizing aid schemes that, well intentioned though they may be, don’t account for the dignity of the human person whom they try to help. It’s certainly inconvenient that you can’t end poverty by giving lots of people lots of money, but we’ve tried just that for decades, and poverty is nowhere near eradicated.

People are pulled out of poverty by the creation of wealth through productive work, and that is the only way that is truly appreciative of the dignity of the poor. Marxism fails as an economic system and as a means of bettering the condition of the poor because it misunderstands human nature. It debases men and women.

It’s disheartening, then, to see that a quarter of the organizations funded by the CCHD for 2010 – 2011 are either directly involved in materialistic poverty alleviation campaigns based on false anthropologies, or else are proud partners of such organizations. They promote abortion and birth control as ways to keep the poor from reproducing, because, you know, the poor deserve dignified treatment, but we sure don’t want to deal with more of them. And then these organizations tell the poor that if only Lenin were in charge, they’d all be well-off.

In 2010, after public pressure from the American Life League and others, and an internal investigation, the CCHD promised to stop funding groups that trample on human dignity. Unfortunately, the ALL reports that “the number, and percentage, of offending organizations has actually INCREASED in the last year — from 51 to 54 groups and from 21% to 24%. ”

If the program can’t be rehabilitated, it needs to be ended, because the only kinds of poverty programs the USCCB should be supporting are those that cleave to the Judeo-Christian understanding of human nature. (See, for example, Acton’s partner PovertyCure.)


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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.e.sweet John Sweet

    As a practicing Catholic, it is very disheartening to see the lack of good leadership in the RC Church. I have, sadly, learned to separate religion from institution. The Church, Body of Christ, doesn’t cover up for pederasts or donate to gay/abortionist organizations. The church, conciliarist, apparently does. WWJD?

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  • Brad Cunningham24

    If this report is true, there is a very easy way to end the entire situation. When all Catholics of good will stop giving their money to the CCHD, the diocesan leaders will stop funding the offensive programs.

  • http://blog.acton.org/archives/author/kspence Kenneth Spence

    Thanks to ThePulp.it and PewSitter for the links!

  • Vogelhaus

    You have to stop giving to the Church, period.  It is not just the CCHD.  Notice the grants.  For every dollar you give in the plate, the dollar is given to the federal for grants and so it is known as in-kind money.  For every $1 given to the feds, the feds give back $3.  in grants! All the churches are doing this.  They serve the federal gov’t and not to save souls!  Every dioceses does this and are not catholic. Give no money, whats so ever!  And when you say a rosary in front of an abortion clinic, try saying one in front of the your dioceses!  All the organizations hide the abortion and homosexual supporting groups. It maybe hard to believe but do your investigating.

  • Arturo Gallegos

    I just watched an episode of The World Over with Raymond Arroyo and Father Robert Sirico. When the topic of abortion came up, just as quickly as it did, it went back down. What is going on here? Is the Church afraid to speak about abortion? I also noticed, here on the Acton.org website, there is a brief mention of it, but just like the Jehovah Witnesses’ regard for Jesus as God, Acton has avoided the topic. Why? Father Frank Pavone would be aghast to see these otherwise embarrassing acts of neglect of the youngest members of the human race. Father Sirico should review his interview with Raymond Arroyo, and see how he really evades the real and serious issue of abortion, that scourge on our failing country and world.

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  • Bob S.

    This post shows a complete misunderstanding of CCHD’s methodology and mission, as usual from critics who reduce it to Marxism and other arguments ad absurdem. I suggest, rather than reading these horrendously fallacious reports, one go and see the organizations CCHD bestows with grants first hand. I guarantee almost every time you’ll find people who are committed to empowering those suffering from poverty in a thoroughly Christian manner (even if not explicitly stated). If one has such a problem with throwing money at poverty (and this approach is a poor one, I will agree), CCHD does exactly the opposite by funding organizations that enable the poor to gain a voice and the tools to help themselves in unity. Instead of just giving handouts, CCHD is helping people to improve the situations they find themselves in through their own abilities. What could be more reinvigorating for a person’s dignity than making them a partner in the quest for justice, rather than a dependent!

  • Felix

    Anyone promoting leftist ideology is not doing so out of good intentions. They do so out of their hatred for anyone who is prosperous. They routinely violate the commands not to covet what another has. Intead their entire ideology is based upon covetousness. It’s no wonder that they have no problem with abortion.

  • Felix

    It is definitely true that Marxism, socialism, statism, or leftist ideology fails because it misunderstands human nature, but Satan understands it well. The so called good intentions of this ideology have led to perhaps 200 million deaths in the last century. Let us not forget that the laws of economics were not created by capitalists of even humans. The laws of economics were created by God himself in the creation of the universe. We can no more change the laws of economics than we can change the laws of physics. We only make progress when we learn to work with these laws not against them.

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