As a publisher of a Catholic website, I receive lots of information that may be of interest to readers. Lately, that has included press releases about the activities of USCCB-related organizations like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
The CCHD has been under scrutiny by pro-life Catholics for about as long as I can remember. The reason? For appropriating funds to groups with records incompatible with the Church’s pro-life teachings. In 2011, 1P5 contributor Pat Archbold revealed that CCHD head Ralph McCloud had, during his first year working for the US bishops, simultaneously served as Treasurer for the campaign of Wendy Davis – then in the process of unseating a pro-life incumbent in the Texas state senate. (Two years later, she would become best known for her 11-hour filibuster in the Texas state legislature to block a bill seeking to enact more restrictive abortion regulations. Davis was also endorsed by Planned Parenthood.)
Despite this, McCloud is still the head of the CCHD. And since 2011, not a few stories have come out about the organization’s consistent failure to identify appropriate recipients of its funding. Just this month alone, three additional press releases have crossed my desk from the Lepanto Institute alone:
- January 5th – CCHD linked by funding to Planned Parenthood-affiliated Merced Organizing Project.
- January 13th – CCHD linked by funding to an organization performing same-sex “marriage.”
- January 20th – CCHD linked by funding to an organization tasked with helping to establish marijuana farms.
These are only the most recent stories that I’ve seen. This sort of thing appears to be happening with embarrassing regularity – making it pretty hard to ignore. The Lepanto Institute encourages Catholics to contact CCHD about the sizable grants they’re giving to suspect organizations:
The main phone number for the CCHD is 202-541-3210. The email address for the CCHD is email@example.com. And to contact Ralph McCloud, the director of the CCHD, call 202-541-3367 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I decided to contact Mr. McCloud on Friday of last week, to ask why the CCHD doesn’t partner with an independent group like Lepanto — clearly very effective at finding this information — to vet their grant recipients ahead of time. It seems like a great strategy – it would save CCHD a lot of negative attention, and move everyone toward the shared goal of ensuring that the funds of faithful Catholics are not going to organizations that promote abortion, contraception, same-sex “marriage,” and other anti-Catholic agendas. I don’t claim to know how the logistics of such a partnership would work, but from my outsider’s perspective, it seems preferable to an endless barrage of bad press based on even worse funding decisions.
As of this writing, I have not received a response from Mr. McCloud.
Making matters worse, I received yet another release from the Lepanto Institute this evening, revealing that Catholic Relief Services was involved in the development of an African sex-education program “aimed at children as young as 10, encourages condom use, promotes abortifacient contraception, normalizes homosexuality and masturbation and lists Planned Parenthood as a resource.”
I found myself thinking, At least it isn’t CCHD this time.
This is a sad state of affairs. Obviously, people make mistakes. Administrative work is often quite tedious, and things can be overlooked. But grant after grant, affiliation after affiliation, USCCB organizations have shown an inexcusable lack of discernment.
Enough to make any reasonable person wonder if it’s really a mistake.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to question if, when I give my money to a Catholic organization, it’s going instead to something evil. Which is why I don’t give money to anything USCCB-related. Neither do any of my friends.
Maybe they don’t need my money – or yours. But they do need to follow God’s laws. I hope and pray that they’ll commit themselves to right action, and soon. I really don’t want to read any more press releases like these.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.