Politics Afoot? Catholic Campaign for Human Development Under Scrutiny

Those of us in the pews are used to the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. My CCHD envelope for November 21st notes:

“Your gift will help groups of low-income Americans address the causes of poverty in their communities. Your generosity will secure job training opportunities, improved education, affordable housing, and other tools for reducing poverty in our nation.”

According Daniel Burke writing for the Religious News Service (RNS) – the CCHD is under scrutiny – I  would say attack – by some  Catholic bishops in advance of the annual meeting of  U. S.  Bishops  next week in Baltimore.

In fact, some bishops already ban the annual CCHD collection asserting that it funds ” left-wing activists, some of whom undermine church doctrine on homosexuality and abortion.”  Supporters see Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and its activities as exemplifying “Jesus’ preference for the poor and downtrodden.”

Within the article the charges and judgment noted – of  “community organizers committed to the left”  or  the anti-poverty program “philosophically flawed right from the outset” or  “sin as the root cause of poverty” seem  not so charitable towards the poor or even in the spirit of  Pope Benedict XVI’s attitude that the “institutional path” of charity is “no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbor directly.” The charges seem political.

Be that as it may, the CCHD will offer a report at the November 15-18 meeting that addresses the charges and criticism.

At the bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, CCHD officials will present a 15-page report that details reforms they say will bolster the program’s Catholic identity. The new policies will also ensure that groups whose activities conflict with the church’s stance on social issues do not receive funding, they said.


Fueling these criticisms of the CCHD are such sites as  InsideCatholic.com with the stated mission  “to be a voice for authentic Catholicism in the public square.”  It should be disclosed that InsideCatholic’s  director is Deal W. Hudson – a  former adviser to the Republican National Committee and former President George W. Bush – who denies the politics.

Read the full Burke article at HuffingtonPost.com.
Check the website of the U. S. Conference of Bishops for an article on Fr. Daniel Mindling who will serve as a consulting theologian for the CCHD.

For a local note:

 InsideCatholic and others seem to have put a target on Chelmsford native – the Reverend J. Bryan Hehir –  an internationally renowned theologian who specializes in Catholic social teaching and international relations – former President of Catholic Charities USA – former advisor to the U. S. Conference of Bishops and current Secretary for Health and Social Services for the Archdiocese of Boston.  They claim he “undermines Catholic teaching.”

Hopefully, the essence of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development  – addressing the causes of poverty in our communities – remains after the bishops meet next week. Stay tuned.

2 Responses to Politics Afoot? Catholic Campaign for Human Development Under Scrutiny

  1. C R Krieger says:

    I would note that Father J. Bryan Hehir has also been a lecturer at the US National War College, talking on Just War Theory.  I know this because as a course director I invited him to talk.  He did a wonderful job talking about Just War Theory to the students, mostly people in their late 30s and early 40s, who have had positions of responsibility and who might go on to high military rank or, for 25 percent of the class, important positions in the Department of State, Department of Justice or other Executive Branch office.

    That said, I don’t hold a brief for CCHD.  Those institutions that associate themselves with the Catholic Church or take money from collects taken up in parishes should adhere to Catholic moral and social teachings.  Otherwise, they are not Catholic social institutions and should go secular.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  2. Dan Morgan says:

    I have heard Fr. Hehir speak on Just War Theory and he does fine. When it comes to abortion, he is still recycling his old “seamless garment” and “consistent ethic of life” language that incorrectly puts the defense of life on the same level along with poverty, immigration, and war & peace.He has come out publicly and stated that the Church’s teachings on sexual morality were contorted. He spoke at the Marxist/Socialist-leaning Institute for Policy Studies back in the ’80s in a discussion series entitled “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John.” I would concur with those who believe he is undermining Church teachings.Just look at the chronology at the blog bryanhehirexposed.wordpress.com for the history.