LifeNews.com Note: A previous version of this story indicated CIW had been designated the first grantee in the 2010 campaign. That is not the case. We regret the error and have corrected our news story.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development faces renewed criticism from pro-life advocates who say it is promoting a prior pro-abortion grantee, and doing so in a document intended to set a new course for the embattled funding organization.
The Reform CCHD Now (RCN) coalition, a collection of various pro-life groups with a Catholic mission, has released a report detailing multiple problems with the Coalition of Imokalee Workers (CIW). CIW is the featured in a document intended to outline the review and renewal of the CCHD program.
CIW has not been awarded another grant yet, but could be, and the coalition is complaining CCHD organizers have not yet released the 2010 grantee list, although they are proceeding with the collection. They are featured in the renewal document as a great example of the work of the CCHD.
Michael Hichborn, lead researcher for RCN member American Life League, told LifeNews.com today that CCHD officials are still not doing due diligence on grantees before assigning them funds from the fundraising campaign.
“The very idea that the CCHD would praise CIW in a document that apologizes for funding pro-abortion, pro-homosexual organizations in the past and promises to make a stronger effort to avoid doing so in the future undermines their credibility,” he said. “If CCHD can’t get it right at the beginning of this process, what confidence can we have that it will be able to do so later on.”
RCN’s report outlines in specific detail how CIW participated in the US Social Forum 2010; something the pro-life groups noted in June. The US Social Forum ran a collection of workshops, many of which were devoted to abortion and other political ideas that run counter to the teachings of the Catholic Church. RCN’s report also specifies three of CIW’s coalition and network partnerships are pro-abortion and have the mission of encouraging cross-issues advocacy of their members.
Rob Gasper, founder of RCN member Bellarmine Veritas Ministry, also commented on the Coalition of Imokalee Workers becoming a Catholic Campaign for Human Development grantee.
“The CIW’s participation with these groups directly violates the CCHD Renewal documents restriction on participating in coalitions which have positions or actions which contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching,” he said. “The CCHD’s lack of oversight even in its renewal document underscores our concern and call for a delay in the national collection until the 2010 grants list is released.”
In previous analysis in August
of the US Social Forum 2010 in which the CCHD grantee CIW participated, Catholic writer Deal Hudson, made some observations.
Dozens of People’s Movement Assemblies (PMAs) from across the country attended the Forum, “to set a national action agenda,” Hudson notes, and 21 CCHD grantees also attended the event.
“Unfortunately, the program attended by these groups supported by the donations of U.S. Catholics contains numerous workshops promoting abortion,” Hudson writes. “Is there any reason not to conclude these are elements of the “national action agenda” being defined at the Forum?”
Some of the workshop titles at the event included “Reproductive Justice 101: Creative Vision, Innovative Strategies, and Powerful Networks,” “Maintaining abortion as a reproductive right for low-income women,” and “Reproductive Justice in the Age of Obama.”
Hudson said in August one of the criticisms leveled against those pointing out the CCHD grant problems is that it was alleging “guilt by association.”
“But that misses the point completely,” Hudson writes today. “The presence of 21 CCHD grantees at U.S. Social Forum isn’t problematic because grantees are keeping company with the wrong people, but because they’re actively participating in a forum designed “to set a national action agenda.” Looking at the program, it’s safe to assume that the agenda includes the right to abortion.”
“Those participating in the forum can hardly claim they were innocent bystanders; that wouldn’t pass the smell test. The stated purpose of the U.S. Social Forum was to stress the importance of working on a unified front. Thus, the evidence from the forum itself suggests not so much guilt by association as guilt by participation,” he continued.
The Reform CCHD Now coalition is renewing its call for complete transparency in CCHD’s grants process, and a delay of the annual collection, slated for November 21, until the new list of grant recipients is released and can be analyzed by pro-life advocates for potential concerns.
The anti-poverty program run by the USCCB received criticism as early as October 2009
for funding groups who were explicitly supporting abortion.