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CRS Thinks So . . . Are Lawyers And Lobbyists “Forgotten Suffering Populations”?

March 28, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

On March 17, in the midst of the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis, the USCCB’s Executive Committee took time out to issue a statement defending Catholic Relief Services.
“In the name of our Catholic faith, the donors, staff, and volunteers of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) deliver life-saving food, medicine, shelter, and training to the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers around the world,” they wrote. “CRS stands in firm defense of life. Criticisms to the contrary should not detract from the powerful impact your donations have on the lives of otherwise forgotten suffering populations. . . . We firmly stand with the personnel of Catholic Relief Services in their solidarity to the least among us.”
Three days later the Catholic News Service ran a revealing story.
“[S]lated for March 21-22,” writes Mark Pattison, “the Catholic Relief Services collection helps more than CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. It also provides funding for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Offices of International Justice and Peace, Migration and Refugee Services, and Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, the Vatican’s own relief work and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.”
We inquired with the USCCB’s press office, which confirmed Pattison’s story and sent along a flyer describing the programs. The office did not respond to our request for particulars on the funding amounts.
So we are left with a pressing question for the faithful. Are our donations to Catholic Relief Services really going to “the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers around the world”?
Let’s take a closer look at the beneficiaries that Mr. Pattison enumerates.

Our Bureaucrats Are
“Poor” And “Vulnerable”

Consider the USCCB’s Office of International Justice and Peace. This Office “Advocate[s] on behalf of Jesus in the poor and marginalized,” says the flyer.
Really? The office is in fact just one more Washington liberal think tank. While it isn’t influential in policy circles, it does perform a useful service to the Left by conferring the Catholic imprimatur on a vast array of questionable opinions and activities. Its studies, lobbying, and advisories address everything from arms control to politics in the Middle East.
More importantly, every year its officials routinely join left-wing, pro-abortion organizations to lobby at the federal trough for full funding of “foreign aid” bills, even though the legislation routinely includes hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars designated for contraceptive programs abroad.
These “Family Planning” programs are administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development. AID has been the U.S. government’s most zealous pro-abortion advocate for half a century. Under Democrat administrations, this USCCB office lobbies for full funding of abortion as well. The unique character of these immoral “family planning” programs comes from this sad fact: AID dictates that “family planning” is a “required component” of AID grants to poor Third World countries. If the host government does not allow “family planning” programs, AID will not provide programs for clean water or essential health care.
The USCCB confirms: A share of the faithful’s donations to the CRS special collection and its “Rice Bowl” campaign for the poor fund this office.
Next we have the USCCB’s Office of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), which “Feed[s] Jesus’ hunger in suffering refugees,” the flyer says. But the office is also a bureaucracy which by and large supports the Democrat Party’s agenda on illegal aliens, unprotected borders, and an expanded “refugee” policy. Its purpose is reflected in the official endorsement that our bishops confer on “sanctuary cities” that provide safe harbor for illegal alien criminals. The policy essentially provides a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” to murderers.
Ironically, the MRS office nonetheless alleges that it opposes human trafficking. Hard to believe, given the bishops’ profound silence on the drug, sex, and child traffickers who make untold millions bringing illegal aliens to the U.S. border.
Why the silence? The bishops depend on those traffickers because those illegals who successfully enter the United States are then eligible to be cared for by the MRS Office’s taxpayer-funded “Refugee Services” division. Each year, the USCCB receives tens of millions of dollars for these “services,” which often constitute the largest single source of revenue for many dioceses.
The MRS office also produces studies and works with a network of hundreds of groups throughout the country. It also lobbies for the hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding that the USCCB desperately needs to fund its operations.

USCCB Opposed
Medical Screening At
The Border For Years

The MRS office’s “Justice for Immigrants” bureau has also used deliberate deception in its efforts to champion open borders. It refuses to include in its materials the Catechism’s par. 2241.2, which acknowledges that “political authorities” can regulate immigration “subject to various juridical conditions,” especially with regard to “the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.” USCCB leaders like El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz are notorious for the contempt they have shown for the principles expressed in this passage from the Catechism.
The Wuhan Virus crisis has exposed the lethal essence of the USCCB’s defiance of the rule of law. The bishops’ immigration policies have blown up in their face and damaged, perhaps irreparably, any moral authority they might have had left. For years they have advocated massive illegal immigration and strenuously opposed border testing for dangerous diseases like tuberculosis, polio, and the Wuhan Coronavirus.
The next office receiving CRS funding is the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. The flyer says that this office “Offers legal assistance to Jesus in struggling immigrants.”
Struggling? According to Charity Navigator, with its 2018 revenue of $9,723,431 the network employs roughly 1,200 attorneys and accredited paralegals in 400 field offices in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.”
Ah . . . behold the plight of the struggling lawyers!

No Time For Accountability?

After the cover-up scandals, the USCCB’s credibility was “shredded,” in the immortal words of Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon. Every year since the bishops have made promised transparency and reform. Unfortunately, for most of those years then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was the USCCB’s point man in this farce. McCarrick was uniquely instrumental in the operations of the U.S. hierarchy. Dozens of bishops, many of whom are still in office today, owe him their jobs. We will never know their name and number; too many high-ranking clerics in the U.S. and Rome want those facts to be buried with Mr. McCarrick.
And so will the facts on Catholic Relief Services. As the intrepid Lepanto Institute reports, McCarrick sat on the CRS board of directors for eighteen years (terms are normally limited to six years, but his colleagues made an exception for him). He also served as the chairman of CRS’s Foundation board from 2006 until his sordid past was finally revealed in 2018.
So now CRS joins the growing gaggle of scandalous USCCB operations that suffer from mismanagement, misrepresentation, and possible malfeasance. A class action case has been brought in federal court against the USCCB “for its role in the fraudulent promotion of Peter’s Pence as a charity to assist individuals throughout the world who have been affected by ‘war, oppression, natural disaster or disease.’ Recent reports have shown as little as 10 percent of the contributions made to Peter’s Pence are actually used for these stated purposes,” the filing reads.
Too many questions, too few answers. It’s time for the USCCB to live up to its promises.
Open the books.

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