Saturday, August 3, 2013

What's all this talk about CCHD grants and Cardinal George?

From the Catholic Conference of Illinois:

We wanted to let you know about the unfortunate politicization of Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants.

Most dioceses participate in the CCHD program, collecting money from parishioners for grants to local organizations that serve the poor. When applying for and receiving a CCHD grant, an organization agrees to adhere to Catholic teaching.

Some of these organizations that receive CCHD grants in the Chicago area also belong to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). On May 23, ICIRR issued a statement --  a week before the end of the legislative session -- saying it supported redefinition of marriage legislation pending at the state Capitol. The ICIRR board did not consult its member organizations when reaching this decision.

ICIRR member organizations that were awarded CCHD grants were informed by the Archdiocese of Chicago that in order to adhere to Church teaching and therefore keep the grant, they should disassociate from ICIRR. If they chose to stay with ICIRR, they would lose the CCHD grant since they would be supporting a violation of Church teaching.

Several Chicago and Cook County politicians took out an ad in the Chicago Tribune on Monday, July 29 in the form of a letter to Cardinal George, asking him to allow ICIRR member organizations to keep the CCHD grants. Cardinal George responded to the ad with an open letter posted on the Archdiocese's website.

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley on Wednesday, July 31 made public a similar letter he had sent to Cardinal George in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times. Cardinal George on Thursday responded to Daley's criticisms during interviews with two Chicago television stations (here and here), noting that the poor and immigrants are suffering because of the politicization of the CCHD grants.

The national CCHD office, housed in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, today sent Cardinal George a letter in support of his decision. The letter notes that CCHD application materials and website information state that "organizations that receive CCHD funds must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church. For example, organizations that support or promote same-sex marriage, discrimination, racism, capital punishment, abortion, or euthanasia are not eligible for CCHD funding."

The letter further notes that "violations of these regulations are taken seriously and result in the removal of CCHD support for an organization."

The situation begs an obvious question: Why are Bill Daley and other politicians interfering in how the Church spends its own money that is collected from Catholics in the pews?

The Catholic Conference of Illinois

Kudos to Cardinal George. By the way, isn’t Daley supposed to be a Catholic? Once again, political expediency rules over a politician’s faith and morals. If Dante was alive today, I wonder what circle he would put Daley and his ilk in?