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Lepanto Institute… Asks Bishops To Withdraw CRS From Anti-Values “Family Planning” Group

August 4, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

A national group that defends orthodox Catholic teaching has asked U.S. Catholic bishops to have their Catholic Relief Services (CRS) withdraw from membership in an international organization promoting “family planning” efforts that are contrary to Church standards.
The Virginia-based Lepanto Institute (lepantoinstitute.org) asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to have their international aid and development agency, CRS, immediately withdraw its dues-paying membership in InterAction.
A Lepanto news release, describing InterAction as “a lobbying agency which attacks pro-life and pro-family efforts,” said that it, “among other things, has urged Congress to expand access to abortifacient contraception and has called for Congress to block any attempt to reinstate the Mexico City policy and pass legislation for its permanent repeal.”
The “Mexico City policy,” originated by President Ronald Reagan’s administration, says foreign non-governmental organizations can’t receive U.S. funding if they perform or promote abortion.
The policy ordinarily is enforced when a Republican president is in the White House and rescinded when the president is a Democrat.
Upon taking office in 2017, President Trump quickly reinstated the policy, which had been thrown out by Barack Obama when he became president in 2009.
In the news release, Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn said, “The money CRS is paying to InterAction is coming from pew-sitting Catholics who believe their donation is being used to aid the sick and help the poor.
“It is absolutely unconscionable,” Hichborn added, “that an organization claiming to be Catholic would be using a portion of those funds to fuel lobbying efforts that result in dead children and broken women.”
Lepanto said that while doing research, it “discovered three Catholic agencies identified as dues-paying members” of InterAction — CRS, Jesuit Refugee Service, and the International Catholic Migration Commission.
In a report dated July 22, Hichborn said: “Members of InterAction pay annual dues which account for between 25 percent to 30 percent of its overall operating budget. What that means is that the money provided to InterAction by its Catholic members is 100 percent fungible.
“In other words,” he said, “if InterAction is conducting activities which promote intrinsic evils, it is doing so in part with funds coming from faithful Catholics believing their donations are going toward disaster and poverty-relief efforts. And since the dues paid to InterAction aren’t coming from a grant or project fund, this means that the dues are coming from collections taken from pew-sitting Catholics.”
Hichborn’s report continued: “According to InterAction’s Dues Policy, annual dues are assessed according to the expenses of the member organization. Catholic Relief Services’ latest tax form 990 indicates that its expenses for 2016 and 2017 were $970 million and $979 million respectively, which means that its most recent dues fee was $54,000 each of those years.”
In April 2018, Hichborn said, Lepanto provided the information in its upcoming report to CRS. But, he said, after three months of discussion, CRS declined to withdraw from membership.
“On at least four occasions,” his report said, “Lepanto offered to include any rationale CRS could provide as to how CRS benefits from membership in InterAction, and how CRS could justify providing money it received from pew-sitting Catholics to an organization that directly uses that money to lobby for the expanded access to abortion and contraception.”
The Lepanto news release said, “Hichborn personally met with CRS in April and hand-delivered this information on InterAction. After three months of back-and-forth deliberations, wherein Hichborn asked repeatedly for CRS’s justifications for not withdrawing from InterAction, CRS simply replied that the report ‘does not take into account all aspects of belonging’ to a group such as InterAction.”
“Basic Catholic moral theology states that no ends can justify any means, no matter how great the good end or how minor the evil means,” Hichborn said in the news release. “There is simply no justifying the provision of funds to the enemies of Christ.”
Lepanto describes itself as “a research and education organization dedicated to the defense of the Catholic Church against assaults from without as well as from within. Founded in 2014, the Lepanto Institute has exposed several instances of Catholic or Catholic-affiliated organizations being directly involved in events or other matters directly contrary to Church teaching.”
The president of InterAction “came from a major contraception-pushing NGO,” Lepanto said. “The president of InterAction is Lindsay Coates. According to InterAction’s profile on her, Coates ‘was the COO of Population Action International, a leading international NGO advocating for access to family planning services.’
“Beyond its own lobbying efforts, InterAction has published several documents promoting the use of contraception, including abortifacients like IUDs, implants, and so-called ‘emergency’ contraception,” the report said.
Lepanto’s report detailed InterAction enthusiastically promoting “family planning” because it reduces the average fertility rate — the number of births.
InterAction’s advocacy appears characteristic of similar programs aiming to change young people’s attitudes toward sexual permissiveness.
In December 2013, Lepanto said, “InterAction published a document titled ‘Guiding Principles for International Youth Development’. . . . Page 7 of this document discusses the general availability of information on contraception for young people (teenagers):
“ ‘In the case of health programs, youth may receive information and training on available contraceptive methods; however, if they cannot negotiate contraceptive use with their partners, then the positive health effects will be limited’.”
Lepanto said: “Beginning on page 29 are a set of ‘Guiding Principles’ for youth programs to follow. In general, these guidelines indicate that teens should have ready access to contraception and comprehensive sex education. Principle 2 suggests ‘Integrating life skills with sexual and reproductive health services’ in order to ‘empower youth to make use (sic) those services.’
“Principle 3 is much more explicit,” Lepanto said, “and even calls for the provision of ‘safe abortion’ and contraception in order to ‘reduce maternal mortality and morbidity’.”
In 2016 InterAction published Foreign Assistance Briefing Book, the Lepanto report said. “Pages 22-23, under the heading, ‘Family Planning and Reproductive Health,’ InterAction not only calls for major funding for the expansion of contraception, but even recommends that Congress block any attempt to reinstate the Mexico City policy and pass legislation for its permanent repeal. . . .
“Many, many other examples of InterAction’s promotion of contraception and sexual immorality can be easily found throughout InterAction’s website,” Lepanto said. “InterAction, as a lobbying organization, is using the funds it receives from dues-paying members (including Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Refugee Service, and International Catholic Migration Commission) to promote the spread of contraception and to fight against efforts to restrict the spread of abortion.
“Its own documents promote the use of contraception, and even the president of InterAction has been involved in such,” Lepanto said.
In the news release, Hichborn said, “In 2010, the USCCB withdrew its dues-paying membership from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights because of its pro-abortion and pro-homosexual lobbying efforts. If the U.S. bishops are to be consistent, they must withdraw CRS from InterAction.”
Hichborn is a veteran Catholic pro-family activist with a BA from Christendom College in political science and economics, and a master’s degree in education from American Intercontinental University.

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