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45 Comments
  1. November 24, 2008 12:05 pm

    Pond scum would protest being compared to James Dobson. I don’t know what state you’re in, Minion, but in California the anti-gay-rights campaign financed by Dobson, the Knights of Columbus and the Mormons was as despicable as it gets. “Protect your children. Protect marriage”. The once proud Republican party that actually had a stronghold in New England has become the representative of the proudly ignorant. It is a rare sight to see people wear their idiocy like a badge of honor. I must say that Europe doesn’t show these symptoms, at least not in comparable manner. Just as Thomas Kinkade and NASCAR don’t sell there. Obama was ridiculed for Arugula, counting on the hate from Wonderbread eaters, I suppose. Anything rising above the level of Home Town Buffet throws them into a fit. If you’ve ever looked at Thomas Kinkade paintings and know that its main clientele ($4 billion in sales !) are Evangelicals, you know everything about the ‘red states’. It’s like Care Bears throwing up half-digested fairies.

    The amazing thing about Neuhaus & Co. is that they have no excuse for this allegiance, they aren’t ignorant hicks. They willfully cooperate with the megachurch crowd. I don’t know who’s to blame, but this is all uniquely American, from the culture wars to the bad taste to the religious zealots to the country featuring the same *$#!ing mall 5 billion times in 20mile intervals.

    I am barely hanging on to civilization here, 50 minutes East of San Francisco. They certainly have some idiotic political ideas around there, and be prejudiced like anyone else, but at least there’s a philharmonic and opera house…and food that’s edible at restaurants that don’t freakin’ exist 50000 times across the country. Where Italian isn’t synonymous with “Olive Garden”. The snooty European in me has finally unleashed itself, I guess.

    I don’t know enough about this CCHD you mention, but I’d say the bona fides of Republican economic policies (which aren’t laissez faire anyway, it’s corporate socialism and Dickens for the ‘little guy’) is in the same league as China’s claims to humanitarianism.

    I don’t know enough about ACORN, I do know that urban Democrats usually are bad news for the people. Still, they can’t really aspire to the dastardly level of Dobson & Co. In general, one has to beware of organizations with ‘family’ in its name.

    Well, their political goose is cooked for the time being. They can always comfort themselves by gazing at their Thomas Kinkades, such as the newly released magnum opus “Christmas at Granceland”.

    I do need a vacation in Europe. Madrid & Vienna coming up. The former has gay marriage, the latter soon. Mind you, Europe had its religious fanatics (still does among Muslims), but they’re dead and gone, much like Generalissimo Franco, who is still dead. Except among some dreamy American Catholics, that is.

    Ah, to be back with the Vienna Philharmonic. If James Dobson went to Vienna, he’d go to the costumed concerts they sucker many American tourists into. And those are the ones that actually have a passport.

    Now I’m off for some sun salutation. Must calm down. Ommm :-)

  2. Michael permalink
    November 24, 2008 12:16 pm

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, one guy had a sign. Wow. Goodness, how did you ever survive?! This must have been a terrifying experience for you. Good thing nobody here at vn has posted anything about Obama stuffing his cabinet with radical pro-aborts. But, then what do the unborn matter compared to bashing Sarah Palin, lying about ACORN (it was a big deal on National Review, David Freddoso’s book, and any number of other non-MSM sources), and just generally pissing on ideological opponents.

  3. November 24, 2008 1:03 pm

    I worked in poverty programs and even with (and briefly in) ACORN for long enough to know that 99% of what the ACORN-ilk branch of these movements do is create or irritate political controversies in order to raise money, intimidate critics, and impact the electoral ambitions of their peers. The poor matter nothing to them, and the ONLY way to solve those problems of poverty related to the permanent underclass would be to advance the type of welfare reform that was Clinton’s best legacy and also enforce, if necessary through required WPA-style labor, paternal fiscal responsibilities on the “fathers” of every child on welfare, and their mothers as well. Sounds tough? Mean? It’s actually far more compassionate than abandoning those children and their future siblings to the welfare class in its current state and then getting in line to naively or knowingly politicize the subject. If you’re not disabled or elderly, and you have children, and you can’t support yourself, then why exactly is it Christian compassion to subsidize you subjecting your children to the non-parenting, violence, and pathologies that are the absolute, screeching norm in underclass communities? Subsidizing that underclass in its current state is child abuse, not piety, and I for one am glad to see the Church be a little more selective about whom they support. Sometimes I think the vast majority of people who defend organizations like ACORN have never set foot in a public housing complex or watched a little girl evolve from child into child prostitute while her “mom” has twelve other children we all subsidize in every way. Well, I have, and it changed my mind, not to mention my politics, in a lot of ways. These people really do exist, and we are failing them. And the idea that ACORN makes a positive contribution to the situation is just risible.

  4. November 24, 2008 1:15 pm

    I generally frown on standing around with large signs, and indeed all forms of protesting, as a means of expression. So I can at least find that small area of common ground with you. Picketing a church, no matter how good the cause, strikes me as inappropriate. (In the wider sense, this is one of the things that puts me very much out of sympathy with progressivism as found in the US — it’s so heavy on protesting and sloganeering and wearing bracelets for this cause, pins for that cause, and covering one’s Prius or VS Golf with so many pithy expressions of alleged thought.)

    However, I was grateful for Fr. Neuhaus bringing to everyone’s attentions the general tenor of the work the CHD puts itself to. While I recognize that some such as yourself consider that work valuable (and have no problem with you donating as much as you like) it allowed me to skip the $25 that I generally devote to secondarly collections for programs I don’t know much about, and drop an extra $50 to our own parish’s St. Vincent de Paul instead — since they actually help the poor in our area rather than running about engaging in advocacy which I may or may not agree with.

    In that sense, I’d tend to say that Neuhaus did the poor a favor with this one.

  5. November 24, 2008 1:22 pm

    This post is very unhelpful and misses the point. This viewpoint will not help that second collection in the long run

    There are problems and there needs to be ACCOUNTABILITY

    I don’ think the Bishops have a clue of what os being funded

    First some Clarification the ACORN scandal is not some McCain tactic. It came about partly because law enforcement was raiding offices all over the place

    Second whatis left out is that we were giving money to a organization that was committing fraud!! THe Bishops suspended payments partly because of the fraud and criminal activity in New Orleans and where the money was going. THe CHurch has had to hire investigaotrs to see where the money was spent!!

    That is on top of voter fraud problems. Also other groups that this collection funds has come under question. You can not blame people if they donate if they think there money is going to very partisna grpoups espeically in registering voters.

    My recommendation was for Catholics to call their Diocese express their concerns and find out what was being funded in their Diocese. THe Dicocese of Kanasas City did this and published it. That was a good pro active response. Other Dioceses in this country decided to fund other groups like Catholic Charities till the problems are sorted out.

    Social Justice Catholics need to be the people holding Bishops feet to the fire on this to make sure all this money is being spent in a wise way. Not helping in a whitewash

  6. Kurt permalink
    November 24, 2008 1:34 pm

    CCHD seeks to actually empower the poor and break the cycle of poverty rather than just make them recipients of charity. For that reason, the right wing has long (pre-ACORN) had its big guns out for it. I upped by usual contribution x5 to make up for those putting little acorns in the collection plate.

    The archdiocese here also has long published a listing of groups and projects being funded. All dioceses have been encouraged to do so.

  7. November 24, 2008 1:44 pm

    I believe the most in people-to-people charity. I’d think it’s better to donate to a local shelter, parish etc. People with no political agenda or huge bureaucracy. I just looked for something in town to give tons and tons of food to since I can’t eat wheat products anymore but had enough food stored for a small village and found a family homeless shelter. Imagine that kind of misery. On the other hand, at least they’re together. Well, that’s part of the Bush Legacy, people out of their houses and onto the street. As opposed to corporate cronies, they’re S.O.L. on ‘bailouts’. It’s like “It’s a Wonderful World” all over again.

    I don’t even understand the raison d’être of Focus on the Family and its ilk. Working against other people’s rights while affirming one’s sanctity ? Their latest story is eHarmony being forced to offer matchmaking for gay people. Surely matching dogs with humans for beastiality cannot be far behind.

    It is the great sham, shame and scam in the history of humanity, and particularly in contemporary America, to create scapegoats to distract from the very abyss the powerful shove the people towards. Whether it’s demonizing Jews, gays, unbelievers or starting a war, the song remains the same. The family they’re focusing on is the equivalent of judenrein. It is a shame that many Catholics gladly get sucked into this. While I certainly am not in agreement with Catholicism, one has to say that the intellectual vigor that used to exist, and still does to some degree, is either gone or has voluntarily succumbed to and allied itself with people to whom Seventh Heaven was a revelation, Jerry Falwell was a moral compass and Liberty University passed as higher education. Apart from pockets of nuts, what’s left of European Catholics are in no way comparable to this strain of American Catholicism – is an increasingly strong force among laity and clerics.

    The Republican party is mired in this noxious swamp of bigotry and proudly lowbrow culture and has managed to outrage me more than the Democrats, an achievement indeed.

  8. November 24, 2008 2:09 pm

    Catholics, including Neuhaus, were lambasting an anti-poverty program because it simply did not fit with the the ideological talking points of the hour.

    Criticism of CCHD precedes anything Neuhaus has ever written.

  9. November 24, 2008 2:11 pm

    Kurt,

    I have big concerns and I am wondering why so much of these money seems to be going to just a few organziations. I tmakes me wonder friends are funding friendsin the Head Office

  10. Kurt permalink
    November 24, 2008 2:39 pm

    Kurt,

    I have big concerns and I am wondering why so much of these money seems to be going to just a few organziations. It makes me wonder friends are funding friends in the Head Office>/i>

    I would be the first to agree that the lay faithful have an obligation towards good stewardship of their temporal gifts to the church. The sorry state we are in regarding parish finance councils, trustees and diocesan financial oversight would seem to be the leading issues, rather than the stellar record of CCHD.

    I think the CCHD’s transparency and openness puts most parishes, dioceses and other Catholic entities to shame. Its always a losing debate to compare an actually existing organization to some idealistic construct, but I would gladly defend CCHD over most any other Catholic organization or diocese, or for that matter, most non-Catholic or secular groups with a related mission.

    CCHD grantees are limited in the number of consecutive years they may receive grants. They are overwhelmingly local, community based organizations, not national groups. CCHD publishes a full listing of grantees, available to the public and sent to every diocese with the request it be published in the diocesan newspaper. And CCHD will only fund grantees that include members of their client population in their governing structure.

    The grant making process is also decentralized with decisions shared by national and diocesan review teams.

    However, whenever the initiative is the empowerment of the poor and breaking the cycle of poverty rather than the temporary charitable relief of the poor, the right wing gets its hackles up. CCHD attacks are not new and will continue so long as they keep doing the work they do for economic justice.

  11. Nathan permalink
    November 24, 2008 2:55 pm

    Check out: http://www.usccb.org/cchd/grants/criteria.shtm for CCHD Community Organizing Grants Criteria and Guidelines

    Some of which include:
    * The organization must be fully nonpartisan when engaging in political activities. Organizations engaged in partisan political activity are not eligible.

    The following general classifications do not meet CCHD criteria and/or guidelines for community organizing grants:
    * Organizations with primary focus on direct service (e.g., daycare centers, recreation programs, community centers, scholarships, subsidies, counseling programs, referral services, cultural enrichment programs, direct clinical services, emergency shelters and other services, refugee resettlement programs, etc.).

  12. Paul in the GNW permalink
    November 24, 2008 3:01 pm

    The root problem with CHD is that it hands out money to outside groups ala United Way. We have St. V’s, individual parishes, countless ministries and plenty of religious orders within the the Church. Handing money to outside organizations is just asking for trouble.

    Keep Catholic Donations CATHOLIC. If you want to give your money to non-Catholic run charities, by all means go ahead, but don’t collect it in the the Catholic Parish.

    Paul in the GNW

  13. November 24, 2008 3:23 pm

    Kurt,

    I’m glad that events inspired you to give more in this collection — since sacrificial giving is certainly always a good thing — however it seems to me that you over-reach with your claim that it is because the CCHD seeks to “break the cycle of poverty” that the “right wing” opposes it. Rather, it seems to me, it is because there is a great deal of difference between the so called left and right wings over how exactly the cycle of poverty is broken that they have different reactiongs to different types of efforts.

    Myself, I do not think that the sort of community organizing which ACORN apparently does is actually very efficacious in breaking the cycle of poverty. And I think that the work my parish’s St. Vincent de Paul office does in helping local families meet bills and rent during brief periods of hard times (often having to do with injury or illness and lost work) and running a food pantry, achieves much more in the long run for real people facing poverty than does activism and more politically oriented forms of organizing.

    I don’t really see how it’s a problem that we think differently on this, though of course each of us may think that the efforts of the other are something of a waste of time, but it does little good to assert that one’s opponents have as their goal to keep the poor down. (And indeed, if one is to look at the evidence, though it’s true that radical inequality tends to result in Democratic voting patterns, bringing in a Democratic city and state government usually achieves nothing more than making the inequality — and thus the voting margins for the new rulers — even greater than it was before.)

  14. Kurt permalink
    November 24, 2008 4:17 pm

    Paul —

    I don’t think we have to decide between Catholics dispensing relief to the poor (Catholic Charities and St.VdeP) and helping to poor to solve their own problems (CCHD). If the poor (Catholic and non-Catholic) are good enough to give a bowl of soup or a winter coat to, I think they are good enough to participate in the governance of the organizations meant to assist them.

    DC —

    I applaud the work of St. VdeP does for those with brief periods of hard times (and I applaud the moral support St.VdeP gives to CCHD, even if some of their local volunteers have reservations).

    As a Catholic, I am not comfortable sitting by idle as we also have the social tragedy of people living not in brief periods of hard times but long term or even life long want.

    I think it is a beautiful thing if we can form a credit union for a community of the working poor that can then make loans to themselves to start a small business, by a first home or pay for a kid’s education. And with the help of CCHD, such credit unions have been formed and operate with long term soundness. Now, their formation diverts the community’s deposits from the very banks that collected high fees, demanded high balances and failed to make loans back into the community. Sure, this is a threat to the established economic order. And they and their camp followers will do what they can to bad mouth even such a minor threat.

  15. November 24, 2008 5:13 pm

    Minion:

    This post devolved from defending a Church initiative to a rant against the Republicans. Minion, you have used the poor in an ill-advised hateful vendetta against anything republican instead of caring for the poor. What you have accused the pro-life movement of doing with the unborn you yourself have done to the poor.

    While I agree that Neuhaus’s claim that the CCHD dropped the Catholic part is fairly bizarre, there are parts of that post which deserve attention. Namely, Neuhaus challenges the idea that Catholic money should go to non-Catholic funds. To me this is an excellent question. What is our money going to and should we be spending money on non-Catholic groups, especially considering Benedict’s call in Deus Caritas Est that charity must be infused by love, implying a superiority of Catholic charity over other forms b/c of Catholic charity’s unique ability to care for the whole the person? I don’t have a ready answer to this, but I’d like to see some discussion of it.

    You don’t respond to Neuhaus on those points and instead have launched more vitriol. You abandoned an opportunity to demonstrate love for an opportunity to demonstrate hate. Very sad.

  16. November 24, 2008 5:42 pm

    Perhaps the author of this post can inform us about his personal work on behalf of the poor. Is he involved in St Vincent dePaul? Does he volunteer at a food kitchen or a homeless shelter? What concrete action does he take in fulfilling the mandate of Matthew 25? Besides voting Democratic, that is.

    I ask because posts like this – so full of indignant self-righteousness – only objectify the poor and reduce them to a cudgel with which to beat up political opponents.

  17. November 24, 2008 6:19 pm

    Kurt,

    I’m all for starting local credit unions — but honestly I don’t think that a Catholic charitable agency is the best way to get such a thing off the ground.

    I’d be very willing to support such an endevour if it came to me directly, rather than trying to get itself funded out of the collection plate via several layers of agencies giving money to each other.

  18. kurt permalink
    November 24, 2008 6:55 pm

    DC —

    I appreciate your agreement that a typical CCHD project is a worthy initiative.

    As to their means of fundraising, people who do the admirable (and often unthanked) work of raising funds for non-profit organizations will tell you CCHD has one of the least bureaucratic ways of gathering resources and the means that has the most minimal administrative expenses.

  19. November 24, 2008 8:59 pm

    Mr. Naus, having never met you, I don’t know if you are a snob. But your comments sure make you sound like one. People who eat Wonderbread/go to family restaraunts/buy pedestrian art are not up to the refined cultural taste you prefer, and therefore they are… what. Sub-humans? Stupid? Unable to judge between right and wrong?

    By talking the way you do, you join the ranks of people who look down their noses at cleaning ladies and are nasty to the wait staff.

    It’s the working poor you are demeaning, Mr. Naus. Yes, they have them in Europe, too.

  20. Jean Brodie permalink
    November 24, 2008 9:03 pm

    Mr. Minion,
    One guy with a sign made you go off like this?! In all seriousness, get back on your medication or at least schedule another sit-down with your anger management therapist.

  21. S.B. permalink
    November 24, 2008 11:55 pm

    However, whenever the initiative is the empowerment of the poor and breaking the cycle of poverty rather than the temporary charitable relief of the poor, the right wing gets its hackles up.

    This is a rather bizarre claim. Assuming that “breaking the cycle of poverty” means helping poor people to find gainful and responsible employment, the “right wing” would most definitely be in favor of such results.

  22. Paladin permalink
    November 25, 2008 9:18 am

    In all earnestness: the Dr. Dobson bashing, and the “indignation” that Focus on the Family would “dare” protest law-enforced accommodation of same-sex “couplings”… are these seriously coming from Catholics? If these were coming from atheists, agnostics, or pagans, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash (save to sigh, and offer another prayer for their conversion); but I was under at least the vague impression that Vox Nova was attempting to be something at least approximating a *Catholic* voice, and that its contributors (or at least writers) laid claim to the title of “Catholic”…

    Clarify, please?

  23. David Nickol permalink
    November 25, 2008 10:00 am

    I was looking at the link to MM’s post about Dobson, and it’s interesting that homosexuality is treated kind of like a heresy that must be resisted and eliminated, when in reality gay people don’t disappear if they are denied things like hate-crime-law protection or gay marriage, and their ranks don’t grow if they get legal rights and protections. People who condemn the “gay lifestyle” also don’t want to see gay people getting married and becoming part of the “straight” lifestyle, pairing off, owning homes, raising children, and going to PTA meetings. What are “Christians” so scared of?

    I understand the Catholic teachings against homosexuality, and they are intimately related to other sexual teaching like those on birth control, which 95 percent of Catholic married couples ignore without being declared unfit to raise children.

    I don’t like to use the word “homophobia,” but it does seem there is a lot of irrational fear surrounding the issue of homosexuality, and it is fear that the right often exploits for political purposes.

    Why are “same-sex couplings” so much more of an “abomination” than out-of-wedlock couplings, especially when the out-of-wedlock birth rate in the United States is close to 40 percent, and over 50 percent in some minority groups? The answer, I think, is that the thought of same-sex couplings turns a lot of people’s stomachs, whereas out-of-wedlock couplings are celebrated in movies and on television and don’t make heterosexuals panic or throw up.

  24. November 25, 2008 10:02 am

    Paladin, why are you bringing gay marriage into this? This has nothing to do with the point I am making in this context, which is simple: the Dobson approach to economics is about as far from Catholic social teaching as can be imagined, and people like Neuhaus and Donohue like to gloss over these differences (largely because they are not comfortable with the Church teaching itself, I believe). So, nice attempt to divert the argument (abortion is the typical Trohan horse, but gay marriage works too), but sorry, no.

  25. November 25, 2008 10:13 am

    Kurt,

    I’d think it was a worthy project to open a grocery store or a brewery or a coffee shop or a barber shop in a low income neighborhood as well — but I don’t think that using CCHD to fund the startup would be the right way to achieve that.

    Just because something is a good idea does not mean that it’s a good idea to fund by a given means.

    Look, I’m kind of inspired that someone with your political beliefs actually thinks that a bank is a means for growing wealth (both via savings and loans) among a community. That’s certainly not generally the message that normally gets put out from the left. But starting a bank via the Sunday collection strikes me as off base. Tell me you want to fund a startup in a low income neighborhood and show me a business plan and we can talk.

  26. November 25, 2008 10:18 am

    I see many of you think I’m too mean to the Republican party, blaming this entity for the actions of one single loon. My point is a little more nuanced: the rapid descent of the party of Lincoln into the party of Palin (double Guantanamo! drill baby drill! they hate us for our freedom! no surrender!) is also dragging any Catholic groups that ally with it for pro-life reasons down into the mud with it. The attack on the CCHD, which is well grounded in the tenets of Catholic social teaching, is a case in point.

  27. Kurt permalink
    November 25, 2008 10:45 am

    DC —

    First, I would say that such actions ARE the general messages that the democratic center-left puts out. Admittedly, it is not the general message the center-right portrays of the center-left.

    I appreciate your point that such is a worthy initiative. I take it your objection is not that the means of funding CCHD is inefficient or bureaucratic. I think we are all aware that CCHD does not take funds from the regular Sunday collection, but from a second offering that is clearly stated to be for CCHD and which the Church actually provides more information and transparency than the uses of its other collections.

    So, while I hear your objection to CCHD, I’m totally unclear as to what the reason for it is.

  28. November 25, 2008 12:06 pm

    Kurt,

    So when Obama mocked the “ownership society” as meaning “you’re on your own” in his convention speech, was he falling into a right wing meme there and failing to remember that he was actually in favor of a jobs, loans and savings approach to ending poverty in the long term — rather than simply the litney of programs that he then went into?

    What’s my objection with the CCHD funding stuff like credit unions?

    Well, first off, I frankly didn’t know what they did in much of any detail until a couple months ago. Between one thing and another we have a special collection nearly every week (both recurring ones like StVdP every first Sunday, and annual ones such as CRS, CCHD, SPotF, Retirement Fund for the Religious, Maryknoll, Peters Pence, Food for the Poor, etc.), and although I generally write a check for everything there’s an envelope for, I don’t necessarily know a whole lot about it other than the name. If you’d asked me what CCHD did a year ago, I would have said, “Probably the same stuff Catholic Relief Services does.”

    Now that I do know more about them (both Neuhaus’s negative take and your and MM’s defense of them), I have two concerns:

    1) While the one example you gave is worthy so far as it goes, I do frankly have some concerns about a group which is pouring 7mil into ACORN. Call it guilt by association, but I’m not impressed with much I’ve heard about them over the last year. Nor, now that I’ve read about “community organizing” in various newspaper articles and Obama’s book am I all that convinced that it’s a real benefit to society.

    2) If CCHD’s role is often providing start-up capital to institutions such as credit unions in order to kick-start economic activity in low income areas, I’m really not sure that a Catholic charitable agency is the best way to approach such things. Credit unions are, in the end, business ventures. Now I certainly think that business can do an awful lot of good for a community — especially if run by good people with an understanding of the common good. But I think a business will generally be best served and best run if it is set up as a business, rather than as a charity. If someone told me that he was putting together a fund to provide startup capital for businesses in low income areas, and if I thought he was sound, I might be very much in favor of investing money in his fund. But I’m just not sure that a Catholic non-profit is the best means of starting good businesses — and even if it is, I’m not sure that is a very high priority for me compared to all the other very worthy Catholic charities out there. If I’m looking at an appear from Food For The Poor about children without food in Haiti, and an appeal from CCHD about people without a credit union in Compton, I’m more likely to give to the former.

  29. Kurt permalink
    November 25, 2008 1:02 pm

    Kurt,
    So when Obama mocked the “ownership society” as meaning “you’re on your own” in his convention speech, was he falling into a right wing meme there and failing to remember that he was actually in favor of a jobs, loans and savings approach to ending poverty in the long term — rather than simply the litney of programs that he then went into?

    I think Barack Obama was right on target and very much in keeping with what I have outlined. Obama said in that speech that ‘the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.’

    Yes, Obama has very much outlined a jobs, loans, and savings response to poverty. As I wrote previously, this is not what the message the right wing puts out, but it is very much what the President Elect has been saying.

    What’s my objection with the CCHD funding stuff like credit unions?
    Well, first off, I frankly didn’t know what they did in much of any detail until a couple months ago.

    I understand. And we all have many pressing duties and demands on our time and attention. You have not disputed my statement that CCHD exceeds the transparency of many other Catholic initiatives, so I assume you are not blaming CCHD for this,

    Between one thing and another we have a special collection nearly every week (both recurring ones like StVdP every first Sunday, and annual ones such as CRS, CCHD, SPotF, Retirement Fund for the Religious, Maryknoll, Peters Pence, Food for the Poor, etc.), and although I generally write a check for everything there’s an envelope for, I don’t necessarily know a whole lot about it other than the name. If you’d asked me what CCHD did a year ago, I would have said, “Probably the same stuff Catholic Relief Services does.”

    I would never criticize anyone else’s generosity, but my practice is I do not give to second collections that are not explained. I’ve been in situations where there simply was a second passing of the plate with nothing announced other than “the usher will now take up the second collection.” Pastors and parish councils should really take more of an initiative to inform the parish as to the nature and work of these appeals. And I think they should limit the number of second collections.

    Now that I do know more about them (both Neuhaus’s negative take and your and MM’s defense of them), I have two concerns:

    It is a virtue to have concerns and questions. You are probably best off going to the source rather than Neuhaus or my poor commentary.

    2) If CCHD’s role is often providing start-up capital to institutions such as credit unions in order to kick-start economic activity in low income areas, I’m really not sure that a Catholic charitable agency is the best way to approach such things. Credit unions are, in the end, business ventures.

    I don’t think you understand what credit unions are. There is a historic and (in my view) great relationship between Catholic Action and the Credit Union movement. Pope John Paul II once addressed the Italian Credit Union movement with a glowing call for them to further their movement.

    If I’m looking at an appear from Food For The Poor about children without food in Haiti, and an appeal from CCHD about people without a credit union in Compton, I’m more likely to give to the former.

    I understand that. The reason the bishops created CCHD was so that the Catholic Church had BOTH an initiative committed to the relief of the poor by those with means (Catholics Charities domestically and CRS abroad) AND a means of empowering the poor to lift themselves out of poverty rather than be exclusively dependent on the charity of others. I would be the first to join with you in saying limiting the Church’s witness to SOLELY CCHD would be wrong. I understand if a particular person is unfamiliar with CCHD so focuses their assistance to CC. I don’t understand the position the church should only provide relief to the poor and not the type of initiatives CCHD does.

  30. Zak permalink
    November 25, 2008 1:35 pm

    Kurt,
    My concern is the reverse of DC’s – if these are worthy activities (and the ones I’m aware of seem to be), then why is the Catholic Church essentially outsourcing these activities, doing fundraising through the collection but then disbursing funds to secular groups like ACORN whose alignment with Catholic principles is only partial at best? As Michael Denton mentioned above, the Catholic part of Catholic charitable activity is not an accident but is essential to the charitable activity. The relationship you cite between Catholic Action and credit unions suggests something of it – a Catholic credit union might be informed by principles slightly different from those of the West Side Credit Union who merely takes Catholic money.

  31. November 25, 2008 1:52 pm

    Kurt,

    I’m aware of what credit unions are, having both had accounts with and taken loans from them over the years. So yeah, I understand the theoretical difference between a bank and a credit union. But at the same time, let’s be honest: The function difference between a credit union, an S&L and a bank is minimal for the users most of the time. The only real advantage (and it is pretty real in some circumstances) is that in areas where good banks do not have branches (and so the low end “retail banks” are picking up the slack) credit unions can provide much better offerings to members (especially low income members) than they otherwise would have available to them.

  32. Twas Ever Thus permalink
    November 25, 2008 2:24 pm

    Follow the bread crumbs . . .

    CCHD > ACORN > Obama in the White House

    Predictably, Republicatholic outrage directed at the treacherous CCHD. When you need a scapegoat, you need a scapegoat. Besides those poor and minorities – having emerged safely from the womb – were never much of a concern to begin with.

    Now with the season fast approaching, it’s time to start focusing on the outrage and persecution we feel as Christians when we are wished “Happy Holidays” by an anonymous store clerk.

  33. Kurt permalink
    November 25, 2008 2:29 pm

    DC —

    The functional difference is minimal for those who see themselves as users of financial services. For those with an understanding of themselves as members rather than users of a credit union, I think it is different.

    Zak — Their are several, non-exclusive options. 1) Catholics dispensing relief to fellow Catholics in need (a certain worthy form of communalism — our Catholic fraternal groups witness this virtue); 2) Catholics dispensing relief to those in need regardless of confession (the work of CC and CRS); 3) Catholics, following the principle of subsidiarity, sponsoring local initiatives in which the client population (Catholic and non-Catholic) share in the governance, direction and priorities of the initative.

    I’m of the ‘all of the above’ school, though I fault no one for focusing their efforts on one or two items based on what they are best suited to attend to.

  34. November 25, 2008 2:51 pm

    Kurt,

    By definition, there couldn’t be a _functional_ difference between those who think of themselves as “users” and those who think of themselves as “members”. They’re going to treat everyone the same regardless of how they feel about it.

    But I will grant you that those who think of themselves as “members” may feel a warm glow of solidarity when they make their deposits and withdrawals that others miss out on.

    Still the fact that you feel that way about a credit union and not about a local bank or other business is basically a matter of your feelings towards types of institutions. It doesn’t have much of anything to do with the virtues or failings of the institutions themselves.

  35. Paladin permalink
    November 25, 2008 3:11 pm

    MM,

    Perhaps you could check out Gerald’s comment–the first in the series–to see why I felt it necessary to address so-called “gay [sic] marriage”; unless you’re chastising him for bringing it up as well, I think you may be using something of a double-standard.

  36. Paladin permalink
    November 25, 2008 3:45 pm

    MM, just to address the points you mention:

    1) You wrote: “This has nothing to do with the point I am making in this context, which is simple: the Dobson approach to economics is about as far from Catholic social teaching as can be imagined, and people like Neuhaus and Donohue like to gloss over these differences (largely because they are not comfortable with the Church teaching itself, I believe).

    Again, sorry I didn’t make this quite clear… but I wasn’t replying to you, specifically, when I first wrote; I was replying to those who were creating a “let’s bash Dr. Dobson” fest on your thread. BTW: the fact that Dr. Dobson’s economic theory doesn’t mesh (in your opinion, anyway) with Catholic social teaching really doesn’t merit saying, “Pond scum would protest being compared to James Dobson”, and the like. Do you disagree? Dr. Dobson has far more in common with orthodox Catholicism than do “Catholics for Obama”, and the like.

    So, nice attempt to divert the argument (abortion is the typical Trohan horse, but gay marriage works too), but sorry, no.

    True, I didn’t bring that up… but I’d gently suggest that Dr. Dobson’s views on abortion are *far* more in line with Catholic Social Teaching than are the opinions of “seamless-garment” supporters.

  37. Zak permalink
    November 25, 2008 3:48 pm

    Kurt,
    Using third-party agencies like ACORN doesn’t fall under option 3 as I perceive it. If there were a distinctly Catholic organization that created partnerships with communities and ensured that none of these partnerships were for blatently political purposes or for activities that oppose church teaching, that would be great. But it seems like some of the groups funded by CCHD are problematic. This might represent a cognitive blind spot on my part, because I don’t think it’s problematic to forge a temporary political alliance with people or groups that oppose aspects of church teaching (whether it’s Ted Kennedy or James Dobson) as long as the alliance contributes something to the common good. But in charity, or involving money, I am more circumspect.

  38. Kurt permalink
    November 25, 2008 4:19 pm

    Zak –

    If the organization is distinctly Catholic then by definition it is not incorporating at least those among the community it serves who are not Catholic. So what you really are saying is that the non-Catholic poor are to be served but not part of the governance, policy, and program direction of the organization. I understand that point of view, though I don’t concur with it myself.

    CCHD does not fund groups that a blatently political, though the mere act of empowering the poor does have political implications and certainly presents challenges to certain political forces in our society.

    DC- If I feel my teeth are for chewing food or if I feel they are for opening beer bottles, it has an impact on my life.

  39. November 25, 2008 5:01 pm

    Kurt,

    Well, that all depends on what one means by “empowering the poor”, now doesn’t it? Something might not be “blatantly political” in the sense that it does not involve supporting a specific candidate or initiative, and yet be clearly political in that its advocating for certain kinds of action by the state.

    On your tooth example in regards to credit unions: chewing and opening bottle caps are two totally separate actions, one of which teeth are designed for and one of which they aren’t. If the topic is credit unions: How is it _functionally different_ having a savings account and car loan from Steel Valley Federal Credit Union versus having a savings account and car loan from Quaker City Savings and Loan versus having the same accounts at Wells Fargo.

    I mean, I’d happily support a specifically Catholic credit union just as I happily use KofC insurance — but you’ve already said that the CCHD specifically doesn’t support Catholic-run organizations.

    I can see how you’d feel that using a credit union instead of a bank is a good thing to do, just as many people prefer a local grocery or hardware store to a chain — but I really can’t see how its a functionally different activity.

  40. Kurt permalink
    November 25, 2008 5:39 pm

    DC-

    You are absolutely correct that some will understand “blatantly political” to mean not just involving the support of a specific candidate but also advocating for certain other actions. And going back to the earlier commentary about the center-right’s misdescription of progressive initiatives, they have a tendency to accuse progressives of supporting ‘state action’ when progressives (overall and in specific instances) call for self-organization by the poor without any particular state involvement.

    The functional difference between a bank and a credit union is not its locality (like a local grocery store or hardware store). It is that while a bank is accountable to and exists to advance the interests of its shareholders, a credit union is a pooling of funds by its members and is accountable to and operates in the interest of its members.

    I once belonged to a parish credit union and already expressed my favorable view of Catholic fraternal insurance. But I do not exclude organizations like Catholic Charities or CCHD that seek to assist the poor regardless of religion, race or creed. I think it is good to take care of your own. I do not think it is good to only take care of your own.

  41. S.B. permalink
    November 25, 2008 7:10 pm

    the rapid descent of the party of Lincoln into the party of Palin (double Guantanamo! drill baby drill! they hate us for our freedom! no surrender!) is also dragging any Catholic groups that ally with it for pro-life reasons down into the mud with it.

    The descent of the party of . . . hmm, segregationists and slaveholders? . . . into the party of abortion-on-demand is also dragging down any Catholic individuals that ally with it down into the mud.

  42. November 25, 2008 7:30 pm

    “The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been a witness to the Church’s living presence in the world among the most needy, and to her commitment to continuing the mission of Christ, who was sent ‘to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives…and release to the prisoners’ (Luke 4: 18-19). I commend the bishops of the United States for their wisdom and compassion in establishing the Catholic Campaign for Human Development…and I thank the whole Catholic community for the generous support given to this initiative during all these years.”
    -Pope John Paul II, Providence of God Church, Chicago, Illinois, October 1979

  43. kurt permalink
    November 25, 2008 10:00 pm

    Well, I guess he was wrong to thank the WHOLE Catholic community. Based on Fr. Neuhaus and others writings, he should have said “elements of the Catholic community for their generous support.”

  44. Phillip permalink
    November 26, 2008 10:22 am

    As part of my civil disobedience today I took down the CHD poster in the church lobby. QUESTION AUTHORITY!!!!!!

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  1. Catholic Campaign for Human Development - tainted by ACORN or still rotten itself? « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective

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