The Continuing Challenges for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

There are legitimate grounds for disagreement with Fr. Val Peter’s article on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, but Richard Wood’s reply, posted this past Wednesday, does not offer a single concrete counterexample to the initial charges. Instead, the reply begins, continues, and ends with a broad reassurance that has much in common with the raw assertion of a press release.

Wood claims that Fr. Peter is simply “living in the past”—specifically, the 1960s and 70s—for arguing that the CCHD might possibly still be in need of oversight and reform. Yet Wood, in his response, did not address the abundant source material provided at the end of Fr. Peter’s piece, a collection of supporting evidence which included a direct link to documents detailing CCHD grantees in the latter part of this past decade. There is it recorded, for instance, that the CCHD was funding ACORN, a group which practically embodied Alinskyite principles, right up until the organization’s near-total collapse in 2009. The money was flowing as little as two years ago.

And the money continues to flow to dozens of other questionable recipients. A just-published survey by the American Life League highlights case after case of CCHD-funded groups either cooperating with or tacitly endorsing the promotion of abortion, contraception, and alternative lifestyles. Furthermore, as the report indicates, many of these organizations have reputations for being overtly political, engaging in lobbying efforts targeting specific elected officials, grassroots activism pushing voters to back specific options in statewide referenda, and more nebulous activities under the umbrella of “voter mobilization.” This report, by the way, was released on October 27, 2011 and covers the 2010-2011 fiscal year—hardly “living in the past.”

Wood, perhaps understandably, is eager to write off the continuing controversy over the CCHD as a dead issue. Wood wants readers to believe that the CCHD has successfully reformed itself from within (that it is now engaged in “only those efforts that reflect core Catholic commitments”). It’s not clear that has transpired as perfectly as he thinks. [more]

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First Things