Archbishop Chaput Offers His Advice on the CCHD Collection

chaput.jpgMany CUF members have contacted our office asking for advice about this year’s collection of the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

The basic issue is that in the past the CCHD has funded organizations that are at odds with some of the Church’s teachings on social justice, family, and life issues.

At this year’s annual Fall Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, I asked CUF episcopal advisor Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to offer his advice on the issue:

People, first of all, should be prudent. They shouldn’t just jump to rash conclusions. I have seen some blogs that are excessive in their judgment of the issue and are harsh in what they say.

Some of the members of the CCHD staff who have allocated funds from the collection have made mistakes, and I think the Campaign itself admits that.

Whether these mistakes are frequent enough for people to be as upset as they are is a matter of the facts: They have to look what the facts are, not just jump to conclusions. People shouldn’t believe everything they read or be upset with the kind of intensity that I’ve seen, because I think that intensity leads to blindness.

I think that people can contribute to the collection without worrying that they are supporting causes that conflict with Church teaching.

At the same time, Jesus tells us that our treasure should be where our heart is. If people don’t like the decisions of the Campaign staff and their allocations, one of the ways they can show their displeasure is by withholding funds from their diocesan collections. It’s unfortunate that mistakes have been made, and I think the staff has to be more cautious and more critical in its judgment.

There are many ways of responding to the situation. We bishops serve ourselves and the collection well if we are honest about mistakes, try not to make them again, and move on appropriately.

20 responses

  1. Archbishop Chaput’s approach is similar to that of Bishop Finn in KC-St. Joseph. Here’s what he wrote today in a memo to his priests:

    “In recent weeks, much has been written about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. While it is true that CCHD funded community organizing groups such as ACORN in the past, the Campaign ended its relationship with ACORN two years ago and has not renewed it.

    “At the present time, CCHD is examining all funding groups. They have affirmed that they cannot fund any group involved in partisan politics or groups that promote causes contrary to Church teaching.

    “Within our diocese, I review all CCHD grant applications and approve proposals only after a careful review. I take every precaution to ensure that groups that receive CCHD funds are appropriate.

    “In its history, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has done much good. We would like to see such programs continue so that we can help people help themselves. The continuation of CCHD will depend on how seriously the Campaign takes the mandate of its benefactors to act within the parameters of Church teaching. I expect the CCHD collection to be taken this year, but individual donors will show their support — or lack thereof — according to their own choice.

    “The Catholic Campaign for Human Development was established in 1969 and is the U.S. Bishop’s effort to address the root causes of poverty.”

  2. I believe that the bishops sometime put too much faith in their brother bishops. The CCHD claims these mistakes happened in the past. However, they continue list many extremely questionable groups on their grant list and have extremely questionable associations with people and organizations that are explicitly working against the Catholic Church. It seems that the CCHD is trying to do a little damage control, but it does not appear that those running it have any intention of reforming the entire process. No one has explained why any of these high suspect contributions had been made in the past or given anyone reason to believe they will not take place in the future. For that reason, it would be most prudent to put your money to work against poverty elsewhere.
    One other thing that seems odd to me; why are the bishops so defensive of the CCHD? Why not just drop the whole thing and use the money for other poverty fighting endeavors? Why fight this battle at all?

  3. I have no intention to give to the CCHD. There are many worthy means of tithing and I have no problem finding those with no questions about their true charity.

  4. The Archbishop wrote:

    “They have to look what the facts are, not just jump to conclusions. People shouldn’t believe everything they read or be upset with the kind of intensity that I’ve seen, because I think that intensity leads to blindness.”

    Well, all anyone has to do is go to the website of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development at and read what the grantees say they do.

    Unfortunately, the CCHD does almost NOTHING to actually benefit the poor. Very little food, shelters, clothing, or medical care is provided to people in need.

    Instead, close to all of the grants from CCHD go to groups which engage in “community organizing” for legislative and political purposes.

    There really is no “upside” to CCHD. It is at least 99% political.

    Almost none of the grantees provide any direct help to people in need of food, shelter, clothing, or medicine. Rather, they are all about power, grassroots organizing, and political influence.

  5. I find it interesting that so many people post on blogs and other unreliable internet sources that the CCHD funds “extremely questionable organizations” and organizations that “are explicitly working against the Catholic Church” without having the intestinal fortitude to actually name some of those organizations. If this discussion is supposed to be about the “fact,” then why are people so reticent to actually state some verifiable facts, but instead choose to put vague yet divisive and unsupported claims all over the internet? Once again we see that not everything on the internet is true.

  6. The problem I have with the CCHD is that their grantees seem more focused on power than empowerment. I will be giving my money to groups that help the poor directly, not to groups whose purpose is to employ questionable tactics to amass political influence.

    I have lived in Chicago all my life and have seen how CCHD funded community organizations are just vote harvesters for the Daley political machine.

  7. I followed this story very closely and the gentlemen who bring up these charges have quite solid examples of gross missuse of CCHD donations given case by case on last week’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo and EWTN.

  8. Hm.

    I actually agree with Archbishop Chaput most of the time, but I’d have to disagree on the matter on the CCHD. First off, the list of funded heterodox organizations is just growing and growing — you can go to’s news line and find that out yourself!

    But Chaput said this: “I think that people can contribute to the collection without worrying that they are supporting causes that conflict with Church teaching.”

    With news coming over the hill that there were more CCHD funds going to heterdox organizations than ever, I think that was not the best thing to be said here. Indeed, if we are funding the CCHD, and some of the funds go to anti-Church efforts (let’s say 10% as a hypothetical number — I don’t know the actual amount is), then people should not risk their 10%. This I have been stating over and over in my columns against funding the CCHD (at least for now).

    Secondly, the CCHD has indeed said that they have made mistakes, but since the Veritas Ministry has found others that have been anti-Church (and adding more as we speak), why bother to support it? This is needs some real reform to get it back on track to its mission and not just a “we made a mistake; let’s make up” kind of deal with the 2nd collections.

    Finally, the Bishops up there need to get serious and start doing something with the CCHD, not just letting the current leadership do its own thing. Maybe they should just let go of whoever’s controlling it (assuming that Blake Helgoth’s “it does not appear that those running it have any intention of reforming the entire process” remark is true) and pick somebody who will actually *check* each grantee before they decide to give them money!

    I mean, frankly, I don’t know the real solution to this: I’m not a bishop. But I do know one thing: somebody better reform the organization and fast — just as we don’t want our tax dollars to fund abortions, it should be the same for us sitting in the pew paying with our tithes.

  9. Archbishop Chaput is my hero and I think that he has a valid point in that if we feel that the CCHD is not to our standards then we can vote at the collection plate. I think that the USCCB needs to know that the pew catholic is upset about its laxity of oversight of the CCHD. I don’t doubt the CCHD has done and is doing good in the community of the poor, but the trust level of the USCCB has been suspect since the scandals with abhorrent priests taking advantage of our children. This time we must tell them to be more careful in their administration of our money. Remember, the pew catholic is the one who supports the church, not the secular wacko’s who think they know what the church needs to do for them. I will not give this year.

  10. Over many years of contributing to Catholic organizations, I have complete confidence in both Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief……I will not donate to any Catholic organization that has the taint of scandal as I have to stand before Jesus Christ at my death and explain why when I knew there were serious questions and even proof, I gave some of what He gave me for stewardship safety and building the kingdom to an undeserving organiation.

  11. CCHD has funded groups that openly oppose the Church’s teachings, including:
    Matt Lee,

    Young Workers United – supports abortion rights, legalized prostitution and gay marriage.

    · The Chinese Progressive Association (San Francisco) – supports abortion rights and gay marriage, actively urging its members to vote against Prop 8 in California, which would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

    check this link for a detailed rsponse to the CCHD for the record:

    the problem is that the world view of those running the CCHD is so far from a Cathlic world view that I do not think there can be a reform of it without a change of management, there does not seem to be any other explanation.

  12. Sorry, somehow the address to Matt Lee wound up listed as a group that opposes Church teaching. Certianly not a purposeful action! I know nothing about Matt Lee and would not acuse him of suc things. My apologies for the error.

  13. I looked through the list of organizations who get money from the CCHD and yes, they are overwhelmingly political organizations. I really have to say that I am sorely disappointed with Bishop Chaput. While he may be technically right that these organizations do not OPPOSE Church teaching, it’s more correct to say that they don’t SUPPORT the teaching of the gospel, which is to bring the news of Christ to the world. Without Christ, we are left (at best) with a bland Rotary club sort of do-goodism. The real problem with society in the America is not material poverty but spiritual poverty, though the two often overlap. For every one person without food or shelter there are tens of thousands or more who are lost in spiritual sickness. I would not give one red cent to the CCHD because they are blind to the real needs of the poor, lost as they are in 1960′s leftist radicalism.

  14. I think a simple solution to end any and all speculation would be to take the path of total transparency.

    The USCCB/CCHD should provide a list of all organizations, per diocese, who received funding as well as the amounts given. Let this be a complete and comprehensive list spanning back to the CCHD’s founding.

    Seems simple enough, does it?

  15. As much as I admire Archbishop and appreciate his council I will not consider a donation to this group. There are too many conflicting stories about where the money goes. I remember they stopped allowing grants for ACORN but there still seems to be questionable funding. I stopped donating to my professional PAC fifteen years ago when I discovered one of the places they send money is Planned Parenthood. As Archbishop says we should be prudent.

  16. If I wanted to donate to the Democratic National Committee or to left-wing Saul Alinsky-type community organizers, I would do so directly. I donate to Catholic charities and causes that definitely assist the poor and advance Catholic teaching and principles on matters of faith and morals. I’m sure that each diocese has worthy trustworthy charities that could use the money instead of sending it to the USCCB for distribution to community organizers and groups that oppose Catholic teachings.

  17. I find relief and comfort in this open discussion of CCHD and the kind of groups they fund. And,I find Archbishop Chaput to be a Holy and brilliant shephard but he is only one Bishop.
    It was devastating when CCHD was caught giving millions to ACORN while so many of us beat our brains out walking neighborhoods, making phone calls and donations so that the “abortion party” would not occupy the White House in 2009. CCHD is only sorry that ACORN “misspent” the money for years in fraudulent voter registrations! This committee of Bishops scandalized and betrayed faithful Catholics and many more innocents will suffer for their politics while the health care battle rages on. They cannot be trusted with our money.

    Sharyn Herian

  18. What is the official position of the Church regarding membership as a mason, and how long has this been the case?

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