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Here’s how to end the CCHD scandals

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 09, 2019

Two true stories, both dating back to the Sunday before Thanksgiving, when the US bishops took up the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD):

♦ In a parish in the south, a visiting priest was giving a strong homily about reverence for human life, explicitly condemning abortion, when a woman in the congregation stood up to interrupt him.

No, she wasn’t denouncing the Church’s teaching. Nor was she telling about her own experience with abortion. This parishioner was challenging the priest. If he agreed that cooperation with abortion is unacceptable, she said, why was the parish taking up the collection for the CCHD, which provides financial support for groups that promote abortion?

Taken aback, the priest said that he couldn’t believe the US bishops would endorse an agency that was complicit in abortion advocacy. But the parishioner was ready for him, with compelling evidence that the CCHD does exactly that. Eventually the priest conceded that, if parishioners believed the criticism, they should not donate to the CCHD.

The collection was held in that parish, but the baskets came back virtually empty.

♦ In a parish in the north, the pastor went further. He announced that the CCHD collection would be taken up on schedule. But he announced that he was distributing the envelopes only because he had been directly ordered to do so. As pastor, he continued, he felt morally obligated to tell his people that they should not donate.

Needless to say, those baskets came back empty, too.

The moral argument against the CCHD has been made—on this site and elsewhere— again and again and again and again, for nearly 40 years now. Every year the US bishops’ conference insists that the problems have been addressed, and yet every year there are fresh scandals. When will it end? When all the baskets come back empty.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: [email protected] - Dec. 11, 2019 12:42 AM ET USA

    Agree. When we stop giving maybe the bishops will begin to listen. Time to get their attention before the collection is due. Unfortunately the bishops who support this organization just want to lie about what it supports. St. Michael defend us.

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Dec. 10, 2019 7:48 PM ET USA

    The envelope for this annual collection said Social Justice instead of CCHD when it came up in the box this year. I still pitched it.

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 10, 2019 7:42 PM ET USA

    As long as bishops such as Robert McElroy from San Diego claim that making abortion the preeminent issue of Catholic morality constitutes “a grave disservice” to the Catholic faithful, this disgrace will continue on.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 10, 2019 12:07 AM ET USA

    I am pretty sure that if the baskets were empty at orthodox Catholic parishes, the _proudly_ "Catholic" politicians so vocal about their Catholicism would work the federal government in such a way as to provide all the money CCHD needs to continue in its evil ways. I predict that for as long as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America stays alive, so will the CCHD. Both organizations have a common origin in opposing true religion and the rights bestowed on us by our Creator.

  • Posted by: Retired01 - Dec. 09, 2019 2:32 PM ET USA

    In my large parish, the CCHD collection was several hundreds over $4000. In my contribution envelope, all I put was a copy of an article detailing some of the CCHD contributions to organizations that support anti-Catholic causes.