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Diocese ends grant over Planned Parenthood link; chancery official criticizes CCHD critics

October 01, 2010

The Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon) has rescinded a Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grant to Street Roots, a newspaper that advocates on behalf of the homeless, after the newspaper refused to remove a reference to Planned Parenthood from its resource guide.

Street Roots said that it was a victim of a “witch hunt,” and a columnist for the leading local newspaper attacked the decision. “It’s too bad that under pressure they chose to do the Catholic thing rather than the Christian one,” wrote Anna Griffin of The Oregonian.

“It’s disturbing that a small group of right-wing fringe elements within the Catholic Church are being successful at undermining the Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s work to address the root causes of poverty through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education,” said Street Roots executive director Israel Bayer, adding:

At the end of the day, a witch hunt is a witch hunt, and that’s exactly what Street Roots and dozens of community organizations working to fight poverty in the United States are facing, a witch hunt born out of fear and intolerance. And let’s be clear, this is far from over. Every group that currently receives funds from CCHD is being asked to not take part in activities, or align themselves with the very groups it will take to dismantle poverty in this country.

An archdiocesan official also criticized critics of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Matt Cato, director of the Office of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Portland, said that “there are one or two people within our diocese who spend their time looking for organizations on our grant lists that have connections to anything contrary to Catholic teaching, specifically abortion.”

“I do know that plenty of people are uncomfortable when a group of low-income or poor persons have power,” Cato told Street Roots in a lengthy article that includes comments from both leading CCHD critics and CCHD defenders.

“So you have the power of money, which corporations have, and you have the power of people, which is what community organizing is,” Cato added. “The power of people which needs to balance the power of money, and that’s what community organizing is about, and a lot of people are uncomfortable with the poor having the voice.”

In a December 2009 column, a local Catholic discussed another grant recipient’s problematic ties and the lack of interest with which his concerns were initially met at the archdiocesan and national level.


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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Obregon - Oct. 01, 2010 10:23 PM ET USA

    Talk about the enemy within deploring orthodox Catholics are just intolerant people because they refuse to fund organizations that work with agendas foreign to Catholic teaching. It is "our" money since we contribute such money to the Church and the Church has the right to make sure that money is spend wisely!

  • Posted by: wtchurch5213 - Oct. 01, 2010 7:49 PM ET USA

    Witch hunt. Right. Removing funds by a Catholic organization to a 'community organizing' group that thinks abortion is a magical cure for poverty, which is totally against Catholic teaching is a witch hunt. Yeah, right. Eliminating babies doesn't make the hungry less hungry.

  • Posted by: sparch - Oct. 01, 2010 10:25 AM ET USA

    Another case where the bishops have handed over the reigns of Catholic organizations (CCHD for example) to people who have no interest in the Church, or just want to graze over the Catholic salad bar to pick what looks enticing. Plow the field and remove the stones that impinge the harvest. Blow it up and start over again. Put in people who are Catholic.

  • Posted by: Hal - Oct. 01, 2010 9:51 AM ET USA

    Umm, excuse me, Matt. That's not "your" money. It's our money. "Our" being faithful, orthodox Catholics. You work for us.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Oct. 01, 2010 9:16 AM ET USA

    Matt Cato is getting in touch with his inner Saul Alinsky - how dare anyone make a connection between the dollars contributed from pews By Catholics in a Catholic Church to advocacy of abortion! Organizations that empower the poor, are free to choose to do so by advocacy of abortion -- and you don't have a say what we do with that money. Deal with it, you witch-hunters, spawn of Lucifer - wait, Alinsky dedicated the book to him. Oh well, you get the point.