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The Government “Charity” Virus Strikes Again

August 5, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Every few weeks a new letter arrives in our mailbox from CRS, the Catholic Relief Services. “Put your faith in action,” it says, suggesting that I send $100 because “it would really help.” You might have gotten one too.
Would you like to “really help”? Relax. You already have. According to its latest filings with the IRS, CRS received $540,635,032 from you, the taxpayer, in FY 2016. That income accounted for 55.4 percent of the organization’s total revenue.
In all the letters I’ve received from CRS in recent years, there is nary a mention of the fact that taxpayers “really help” CRS every April 15. But selective amnesia is common among “religious” Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that receive government funding. They seldom tell their prospective donors that they already “gave at the office.”
NGOs have to maintain a cozy relationship with Washington’s permanent government that provides the majority of their funding, and CRS is no exception. And that’s why they have drifted so far from the Catholic shore.
For years, a coalition of pro-life groups has urged CRS to renounce its alliances with pro-abortion NGOs working in the Third World — alliances which have included funding for contraception and advocacy of abortion. Most recently, relying on data unearthed by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute, pro-lifers urged CRS to end its funding of a pro-abortion alliance whose major goal appears to be increasing government funding of its members. Here’s their reply:
“Catholic Relief Services has been consistent in demonstrating its Catholic identity as we engage with national and international fora to ensure the Catholic voice is present, respected, and heard. Our approach is consistent with the Church’s responsibility and Pope Francis’ call to influence and lead society, not to be isolated from it. Our withdrawal from this engagement would likely lead to a context detrimental to the church and the people we serve.”
CRS mentions “context” — here is my interpretation of it:
“We need federal money so badly, that our ‘Catholic Voice’ must suffer from laryngitis to get it. Now that you millions of faithful in the pews won’t donate to us, we frankly feel liberated from the burden of making believe we are orthodox Catholics and not just another secular NGO. We’ll keep using the Catholic label, though, even as we disgrace it. After all, with every passing day it’s harder to distinguish us from the countless thousands of NGOs with sharp elbows feeding at the government trough. So what if our secular programs make that Catholic label meaningless? We need the money.”

CRS Is Simply A
Microcosm Of The USCCB

How did this happen? Well, Ken Hackett ran Catholic Relief Services for twenty years. He once said that he had never hired a Republican. After twenty years, wouldn’t that policy have consequences? Meanwhile, the Democrat Party became the party of free, legal, and universal abortion on demand up to the moment of birth. All along, CRS was relying on the billions from it receives from AID, the most pro-abortion agency in the U.S. government. The USCCB and CRS had to please their paymasters.
So it’s no surprise that Hichborn’s research into campaign finance records revealed that 98 percent of CRS employees’ political donations went to pro-abortion candidates in 2016. That’s their right, of course, but “personnel is policy,” as every Washington apparatchik learns on day one. Is it surprising that CRS employees aren’t too keen on the Church’s magisterial moral teachings?
Unfortunately, that salient defect sometimes imparts to CRS an ugly underside. Sean Callahan, CRS’s current CEO, was one of those who thrived during Hackett’s reign. CRS flourished during the administration of Barack Obama, who congratulated Hackett by naming him ambassador to the Holy See. But Trump’s victory — which came as a stunning shock to CRS and the USCCB — threatened the continuation of those government millions.
To keep them, Callahan professed to give pro-life Catholics who supported Trump a reason to support CRS as well. By giving more money to the bishops, he told a USCCB news site, “you’ll find that keeping undocumented immigrants out of the U.S. becomes a whole lot easier…don’t do it, and it won’t really matter what walls you try to put up. Building bigger walls is not going to keep people out.”
What is Callahan driving at here? Just which “undesirables” do Trump supporters want to “keep out”? Mr. Callahan explains. “We saw it with the Ebola virus…if we don’t address it in Africa, it’s going to come here. If we don’t address Zika overseas, it’s going to come home. We need to deal with [problems] where they’re happening, rather than waiting for them to cross our borders,” he said. Yes, help CRS keep all those infected blacks and browns out — that’s all Trump supporters care about, is the apparent implication. It’s the pro-lifers who are the eugenicists, not any Church bureaucrats.
Sadly, this insult toes the line of Callahan’s bishop bosses — USCCB amnesty supporters like Cardinal Mahony (retired in 2011), Archbishop Gomez, and Bishop Seitz. Callahan simply invokes their mantra.
Pro-lifers as racists. This caricature reveals the contempt that the USCCB Deep State has for pro-life Catholics.
Now’s the time to stop donating to CRS, Hichborn reluctantly concludes. I’d put it another way: Don’t donate to any “charity” that receives taxpayer funding. Donate directly to your parish’s soup kitchen, religious education program, and Poor Box — not in the Sunday collection, which is taxed by the USCCB. Send it directly to your parish office. Then consider the many worthy groups that rely solely on your voluntary charity. Your money is safe there.
So what if the bishops just get more money from the government? Let ’em.

The Evisceration Of Virtue

The same secular rot that infects CRS has infected the American hierarchy. Repeatedly many bishops have covered up crimes and malfeasance, but have stayed in office. Now “Uncle Ted” McCarrick has been forced into seclusion. Will more follow?
Brace yourselves. Probably not. If past is prologue, the defiant and pompous (and guilty) clerics will stay. After all, to whom do the infuriated laity go to demand, “Tear Down This Stone Wall?”
Many Catholics are seeking answers amidst the vulgar ruins. “How to be Catholic when your bishops aren’t,” writes one exasperated mother. “Who’s going to encourage their son to consider the priesthood when seminaries are infested with sodomites,” asks a father.
The answer is timeless: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But don’t look to most of our bishops as models.
Consider the cardinal virtues and their condition in today’s hierarchy. Among our shepherds, fortitude is dead. They’re so spineless that they’re even afraid to criticize pro-abortion Catholic politicians, for fear of losing their political billions.
And justice? Aristotle tells us that neither “the evening star nor the morning star is as glorious” as justice.
But consider: justice and bishops? After decades of cover-ups and self-exoneration, that combination is laughable. Their substitution of “social justice” has always been a cruel hoax. It’s now exposed as an outright fraud.
And temperance? Aquinas calls it the “serenity of the spirit” that flows from a proper balance of all the parts of the body (viz. 1 Cor. 12:24).
Well, by their fruits, you shall know them.
Finally, prudence, which Josef Pieper calls “the knowledge of reality and the realization of the good.”
Well, Cardinal Dolan tells us that our bishops suffered “laryngitis” regarding the Church’s moral teachings for the past half-century. No knowledge imparted there. Unfortunately, to fill the vacuum, they hijacked from the laity the exercise of prudence regarding social and political issues. Lumen Gentium joins Humanae Vitae in the shadows.
Embracing the theological virtue of hope does not require us to be optimists. But we must be virtuous, and give our shepherds the good example that virtue brings — including the fortitude to demand, prudently and responsibly, that justice be done, so that the “serenity of the spirit” can return to a temperate Church to which balance and virtue has been restored.

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