Thursday, August 26, 2010

CCHD facing key test of support among US bishops

Thanks to for this report.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is facing a critical test of support among the US bishops this week, CWN has learned.

All members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have been asked to respond by Friday, August 27, to a confidential report on the CCHD. The document—“The Review and Renewal of the Catholic Campaign for Human Deveopment”—was prepared in response to bishops’ concerns that the CCHD has strayed from its original and become too closely involved with radical political movements.

Although the “Review and Renewal” document has gone through 5 successive drafts, a number of bishops within the USCCB appear unsatisfied with the document, and supporters of the CHD are fearful that at their November meeting, the US bishops may call for sweeping changes in the program.

“CCHD is being closely examined and its mission questioned,” one ardent advocate for the program wrote in a letter to the heads of diocesan social agencies. Robert Gorman, the executive director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, urged allies to contact their bishops and urge them to express their satisfaction with the “Review and Renewal” document, thus giving their support to the current direction and leadership of the CCHD.

The urgency with which CCHD supporters are lobbying the American bishops suggests that they expect a showdown with the program’s critics in coming weeks. So Catholics who hope for a fundamental change in the CCHD approach might also be inclined contact their bishops this week, to express their own concerns before the Friday deadline for comments on the “Review and Renewal” document.

The CCHD was established by the US bishops in 1970 to attack the root causes of poverty in America. For years the program has been troubled by critics who have said the CCHD has become too closely aligned with radical activist groups. Last year that criticism reached a crescendo, as lay Catholic groups exposed CCHD funding for organizations that promote causes inimical to Catholic teaching, such as legal abortion and same-sex marriage. While the CCHD leadership said that such grants accounted for only a small percentage of the organization’s funding for self-help groups, several American bishops announced that they were withdrawing their dioceses from the nationwide campaign to support the CCHD.

The “Review and Renewal” document, which is currently available only to bishops and their staff members, is an effort to reassure the USSCB members that CCHD grants will go only to organizations whose purposes and activities are compatible with Catholic social teaching.

But critics of the current CCHD approach have called for more definitive reform of the organization’s activities. Rather than forming alliances with groups that promote radical social change, they say, the CCHD should recognize the underlying causes of poverty as seen through the eyes of Church social teaching: the breakdown of marriage and family life and the lack of access to quality education.


  1. I don't know what is worth saving in the CCHD. I'm all for giving money to the poor, but trying to do so by funding politically focused groups, or groups with a political nature seems like a very very bad practice prone to failure.

  2. Our Bishops have allowed monies to go to organizations that are political through CCHD since it's inception. I have not supported CCHD for years. And I don't plan on ever supporting CCHD because these groups support agendas that go directly AGAINST Church teaching.

    I would recommend everyone stop supporting CCHD.

  3. You may make a contribution by mail or telephone and specify that 100% of your contribution go towards “Chicago CCHD Local Grants” and designate which of the following categories you would like your tax-deductible donation to support:

    Access to Justice: enabling low-income persons and communities to have access to justice to legally protect their human and statutory rights;

    Community and Economic Development: community organizing efforts, economic development, job development and employment training;

    Human Development: programs that build up human dignity in individuals and social capital in disadvantaged communities, especially through education, thereby attacking root causes of poverty;

    Life and Family Initiatives: projects and programs that defend human dignity, life and authentic human communities.

  4. I have not supported CCHD for almost 20 years. Most people involved in pro-life activities have long understood that monies raised by this campaign go to fund activities which are less than pro-life, to say the least. This program should be done away with. Money raised by our bishops should go directly to the poor, and to pro-life organizations. The Catholic Church should not give funds to outside organizations whose polices run counter to the teaching of the Church. The Catholic Church as for centuries done a very good job on its own of helping those in need, without having the funds they raise funneled through outside, secular, and oftentimes radical groups.