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CRS: Catholic Charity? Or Secular Government Agency?

March 23, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


For the past five years, Michael Hichborn’s Lepanto Institute has done the hard lifting. His investigations of the USCCB agencies advertised as “charities” have revealed many operations that aren’t very “Catholic” at all. In fact, some of them are downright un-Catholic. They’ve endorsed immoral programs, cooperated with pro-abortion coalitions, and even donated the faithful’s contributions to groups whose activities defy the truths of Humanae Vitae.
One such agency, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), is a subsidiary of the USCCB. However, it receives a majority of its funding — hundreds of millions of dollars — from the federal government. That is also the case with countless other “Non-Governmental Organizations” (NGOs) that work in foreign countries.
The trouble arises when, to put it bluntly, CRS joins together with these groups when they gather at the government trough to get their share of the taxpayer loot. To maximize their take, CRS and its trough-dwelling competitors have made a tacit agreement, to the effect: We’ll all plead for “full funding for the poor” in Congress, and then fight over who gets what when the cash comes in.
In 2016, Hichborn reports, “the USCCB and CRS sent to Congress [a letter] requesting nearly $6 billion be allocated to the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). At the heart of our concern [Hichborn continues] was the fact that USAID and PEPFAR together consist of the world’s largest suppliers of contraception and condoms. The next month . . . a representative of the USCCB . . . eluctantly admitted that the funding request made by the USCCB and CRS would include coverage of contraception and condoms.”
For five years, Hichborn has been working to persuade CRS to renounce its alliance with, and support of, pro-abortion groups. But in a blockbuster report issued on the Feast of St. Joseph, he cited CRS testimony to Congress requesting “unqualified billions of dollars for USAID, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund. This funding would most assuredly include the spread of contraception and condoms, especially since CRS indicates USAID’s Maternal and Child Health programs and HIV/AIDS programs,” his report stated.
CRS has consistently resisted Hichborn’s efforts for reform. Should Catholics be troubled, or more, at the agency’s intransigence? Perhaps; but first we must acknowledge one salient reality that, alas, is virtually impossible to change.
CRS is a political, not a Catholic, operation.

Welcome To
The Political World

CRS operates politically, complete with its own members of the Deep State that operates throughout the U.S. government (cooperating with its allies in the internationalist version, known as secular globalists). It was not by happenstance that Ken Hackett, who ran CRS for twenty years before becoming Obama’s ambassador to the Holy See, appointed only Democrats to his organization. (Hackett once bragged to a senior AID official that he’d never hired a Republican “if I knew he was a Republican.” Senior officials at CRS have never denied that claim.) So it’s no surprise that Hackett’s entrenched Democrat bureaucracy has run CRS for decades.
But wait — why haven’t our bishops taken action to demand that their Catholic subsidiary reflect truly Catholic standards?
Well, it’s no secret that today, America’s bishops are mired in scandal and division. They can’t be distracted by a lone truthteller who exposes corruption and malfeasance in an agency that receives such vital taxpayer funding. After all, in the midst of their churning maelstrom of scandal, the bishops do get some PR “cover” from CRS because of its allegedly “charitable” work — although one wonders whether paying our mandatory taxes qualifies as voluntary charity that will gain us merit in Heaven.
If staying in business means that CRS will be fighting for full funding of contraception and, in Democrat administrations, abortion, so be it. A deal is a deal, and frankly, these days, the bishops are facing a dramatic decline in voluntary donations. If they can get it from the taxpayer (without his consent), so be it. It’s not “charity” any more, it’s government work — but they desperately need the money.

Reform The Catholic
Deep State? Dream On!

OK, let’s say the USCCB did care — and appointed a real fighting bishop to lead CRS’s board. What then?
To answer that, we have to point out that CRS is in essence a government agency. With that in mind, consider how many cabinet secretaries have been appointed by President Trump to run an agency out of control. The appointee’s mandate is clear: “Clean the place up,” and he begins work — only to be frustrated, resisted, and even betrayed by the Democrat Deep State that pervades the department.
Rare indeed is the cabinet secretary who has succeeded. Many have tried to preside over a hostile permanent bureaucracy, but most have been captured in classic style, and rendered powerless. Remember, the bureaucrats can’t be fired, but even the most able, zealous secretary will soon go away.
I vividly remember a State Department career bureaucrat telling me that President Ronald Reagan was a “political appointee.”
And, as crack detective Columbo used to say, “Just one more thing”: A bishop appointed to run a government agency has one more disadvantage. He doesn’t even understand that his position is political because he doesn’t understand politics. What bishop does?
He’s bound to fail.
So, notwithstanding the unlovely revelations brought to light by Mr. Hichborn, the “Catholic” Deep State at CRS will sail on confidently. It’s truly untouchable. After all, the powerbase of CRS lies not in the faithful whom it claims to represent, but in its primary benefactor, the most pro-abortion agency in the U.S. government: USAID.

Population Control Central

Founded in 1961, AID has been devoted to population control since its earliest days, when the birth control pill was just beginning to ravage the culture. Within a decade, a stunningly bipartisan phalanx of U.S. politicians and officials jumped on board to embrace the Population Control Creed (PCC).
The PCC has been dominant in the left-wing caucus of the Democrat Party for decades — for a century, in fact. President Woodrow Wilson was a devout eugenicist, and the Ku Klux Klan, the Democrats’ Catholic-hating caucus, was a big fan of Planned Parenthood foundress Margaret Sanger. In fact, she actually addressed a Klan rally in New Jersey in 1926.
The alliance of AID and the population controllers has been going on for years. In 2010, Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., speaking for the USCCB, made an overture quite similar to that made by CRS earlier this month. As chairman of the relevant USCCB committee, Bishop Hubbard endorsed full funding of the “Kerry-Lugar Foreign Assistance Bill.” In addition to other funding, the bill contained half a billion dollars for “family planning” and an additional $65 million for abortion.
On seeing his endorsement, I wrote Bishop Hubbard and asked if good Catholics could disagree with his support of that abortion funding. I was stunned when he replied at all (most bishops don’t answer their mail, of course). His very gracious letter assured me that, after prayerful consideration, one could indeed disagree with him.
Last year I asked San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone a similar question. Could I disagree with the endorsement that he and the unanimous California Catholic Conference had given to amnesty for illegal aliens and, specifically, to sanctuary cities?
Like Bishop Hubbard, he suggested that, after prayerful consideration, yes, I could disagree.
I made only one request of him: Please include that admission in every public statement you make regarding such prudential issues on which good Catholics can disagree.
No sale.
In the years since I first heard from Bishop Hubbard in 2010, I have often wondered, is anyone at the USCCB or CRS giving “prayerful consideration” to their endorsement of full funding for family planning and (under Democrat presidents) abortion on demand? Could that be connected to our bishops’ manifest and virtually universal silence on pro-abortion Catholic Democrat politicians?
Silent on canon 915, but loud on government money. And they’ve been doing it for years.
When will they wake up and renounce Caesar’s coin?

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