Network funded by US bishops is openly promoting the so-called ‘right’ to abortion: Report

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Network funded by US bishops is openly promoting the so-called ‘right’ to abortion: Report


There has been a catastrophic failure on the part of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops-backed Catholic Campaign for Human Development, showing how it is either completely incompetent or complicit with the pro-abortion agenda of Faith in Action.

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Michael
Hichborn

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Tue Sep 27, 2022 – 9:00 am EDT

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(Lepanto Institute) — The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which is the official anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has given millions of dollars over the years to organizations that promote abortion, contraception, homosexuality and Marxism. And each time the CCHD is caught handing funds to an organization acting in direct contravention of the Church’s moral and social mission, the CCHD either ignores or lies about what was discovered.

This report will show that one of the CCHD’s most favored networks not only has a history of promoting grave immorality but is currently working to enshrine access to abortion as a “woman’s right.”

The organization in question is called Faith in Action (FIA). Formerly called the PICO Network, FIA has 29 affiliate members, many of which collectively receive hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. In 2016, while it was still called the PICO Network, the CCHD granted the network $500,000. Not only is FIA one of the CCHD’s most favored networks, but the CCHD has publicly praised the network on several occasions. And even after being presented with detailed facts regarding FIA’s gravely immoral activities, CCHD produced an internal memo vigorously defending Faith in Action.

But now, with CCHD’s cash, CCHD’s adulations, and with CCHD’s ardent defense, Faith in Action has taken a formal position endorsing abortion as a “right,” vowing to defend the “right” to abortion.

Faith in Action (FIA)

The CCHD has granted millions of dollars to affiliates of Faith in Action over the years. Since 2016, in addition to the $500,000 strategic grant CCHD provided to the entire network, FIA organizations have collectively received $4,835,000. Currently, the CCHD is funding 14 affiliates of Faith in Action to the tune of $675,000:

  • Faith in Florida Miami-Dade Inc – $25,000
  • Faith in Florida Hillsborough – $40,000
  • Faith in Action (Richmond, VA) – $60,000
  • Faith in Fresno – $25,000
  • Faith in San Joachin – $25,000
  • Faith in Camden County – $55,000
  • Inland Congregations United for Change – $50,000
  • Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) – $50,000
  • Brockton Interfaith Community, Inc. – $55,000
  • Pioneer Valley Project, Inc. – $65,000
  • United Interfaith Action of Southeastern Massachusetts – $55,000
  • Granite State Organizing Project – $50,000
  • Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope – $60,000
  • VOICE-Buffalo – $60,000

On the day of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Dobbs v. Jackson case which overturned Roe v. Wade, Faith in Action took a formal position condemning the ruling, while vowing to “stand with women” and calling it “oppression” to deny a woman the right to murder her child through abortion.

In an official press release, published on Faith in Action’s website, Faith in Action said:

Clergy and organizers with Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States, are speaking out against today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, following a leak of the Supreme Court opinion.

FIA’s executive director Rev. Alvin Herring called the decision, “a huge blow to women in this season of despair,” and declared that ”[w]e must speak out against dangerous policies that chip away at having agency over their own bodies.”

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Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, FIA’s senior strategist at their Washington, D.C. office, claimed that the “SCOTUS decision to overturn ROE” was “legalized, judicially enforced oppression” that “shows contempt for the Creator.”

Rev. Kamilah Hall Sharp, member of FIA’s organizing clergy board, said that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was “deadly,” and that she was “enraged at the injustice, the lack of care for women and that most people who voted to take this right away will never have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term in their bodies.” She then had the audacity to claim that “As a follower of Jesus,” her rage about the overturning of Roe “aligns with [H]is.”

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This is the entire statement as it appeared on the Faith in Action website:

C/O: Lepanto Institute

The next day, June 26, Faith in Action tweeted Sharpe’s portion of the statement against the overturning of Roe.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

The same day, FIA also tweeted out FIA strategist Gould’s statement, slamming the SCOTUS decision.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

But this official statement from Faith in Action in support of abortion should come as no surprise. Just a month earlier, Faith in Action’s national organizing director, Phyllis Hill, co-authored a pro-abortion op-ed with Kendra Cotton, chief operating officer for new member of Faith in Action, the New Georgia Project. The article “We’re Asking the Wrong Question on Roe” carries the subhead: “The question should be whether one believes that all child-bearing people should have reproductive rights and reproductive freedom.”

C/O: Lepanto Institute

Hill and Cotton lead with the assertion that “one can claim to favor justice and deny these rights [to have an abortion],” and then declared that the legal protection to have an abortion is “central to the fight for freedom, saying:

But our larger point is that Black womens’ advocacy for reproductive justice has been – and continues to be – central to the fight for freedom.

In the end, these women call the overturning of Roe v. Wade a “catastrophe,” saying:

We cannot talk about the catastrophe of overturning Roe v. Wade without talking about the vulnerability of black women and people living in poverty.

Bear in mind that this is being said by the national organizing director for Faith in Action in her official capacity as a representative of FIA.

And as I mentioned, the New Georgia Project is a new member of Faith in Action. On November 20, 2020, Faith in Action announced the new partnership with the New Georgia Project.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

And on FIA’s website where it lists its member organizations, it identifies the New Georgia Project as “a new effort” in development.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

The relationship between FIA and the New Georgia Project is critical for seeing the nature of the New Georgia Project’s rabidly pro-abortion advocacy as it relates to Faith in Action itself. Five days after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Cassandra Jones, FIA’s national deputy director of organizing, promoted a pro-abortion meeting being conducted by the New Georgia Project.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

For the record, this is par for the course for the New Georgia Project. Even if none of the other public advocacy for abortion we just documented had been officially sanctioned by Faith in Action as an organization, the very fact that it would choose to include the New Georgia Project as a member should be enough for the Catholic Church to immediately sever any and all ties with this network.

The New Georgia Project is completely dedicated to the advancement of the Cult of Death in this country. Its page on “Reproductive Justice” defines reproductive justice as the “right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children,” and then establishes that the New Georgia Project is focused on elevating “the issue of reproductive healthcare access and freedom for ALL.”  It also contains a petition that says:

Our reproductive rights are under attack! The Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe vs Wade leaves the door open for states across the country – including Georgia – to enact abortion bans and severely restrict our reproductive freedoms and bodily autonomy.

It’s “Four Pillars of Reproductive Justice” and “Goals” simply restate what comes across in the definition of “Reproductive Justice” and the petition.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

In addition to a national statement from the Faith in Action network itself slamming the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Faith in Florida was quick to follow suit. Sharing the same mailing address as Faith in Florida in Orlando, current CCHD grantees Faith in Florida Miami and Faith in Florida Hillsborough are chapters of the Faith in Florida network (see the bulleted list above).

On June 28, Faith in Florida joined the national FIA in slamming the SCOTUS decision by issuing its own statement.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

In the full statement from Faith in Florida (FIF), Rhonda Thomas, FIF’s executive director, declared that “Overturning Roe v. Wade is unacceptable” as her organization on the whole stated:

Faith in Florida stands in solidarity with women making the best decisions for their reproductive and maternal health.

In the full statement, which included quotes from Nanci Palacios, deputy director for Faith in Florida and Dr. LaVon Bracy, director of democracy for Faith in Florida, the unanimous course of action is that Faith in Florida is committed to using local elections as a means of enshrining a “right” to abortion into law.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development makes absolutely clear that organizations receiving CCHD funds cannot be members of coalitions that act in direct contravention of Catholic moral and social teaching. Here’s what the CCHD says, in its own words, on an FAQ page on the USCCB website.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

To make matters worse, the local FIA affiliates being funded by the CCHD aren’t just members, they pay annual dues to the national FIA network. This means that FIA’s public declaration of war against pro-life initiatives was financed with the support of CCHD funds.

According to the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, Faith in Action collects dues from its individual federations, of which CCHD-funded groups currently comprise 14. It says:

Faith in Action’s model allows for funder support at both the national and local levels. Its chapters, called federations, rely exclusively on philanthropic revenues, volunteers, and in-kind contributions, while the national organization collects dues from individual federations. There are currently 45 active chapters in 20 U.S. states, with three new federations being developed in Georgia, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

There can be no justification for any Catholic entity maintaining any sort of relationship with Faith in Action at this point. Any parish that is a member, any Catholic Charities that is a member, and all CCHD funds to this network must immediately cease. But given the CCHD’s adamant support and defense of Faith in Action, we expect CCHD to double down in its support for FIA, despite this indisputable proof against it.

The thing is, CCHD loves Faith in Action. On May 17, 2021, CCHD issued a tweet singing FIA’s praises, saying things like, “With the power of CCHD, Faith in Action National helps Catholic parishes and congregations from other faith traditions ‘put feet to their faith,’” and “Faith in Action promotes solidarity and transform[s] systems through organizing.” Well, now with the power of CCHD, Faith in Action is promoting abortion and fighting against the Culture of Life.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

On May 14, 2021, CCHD again applauded Faith in Action.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

And while these tweets show CCHD’s support and appreciation for Faith in Action, they aren’t nearly as egregious as the blind defense CCHD gave of FIA after we reported on FIA’s electioneering on behalf of Democrat candidates.

In October of 2020, we published a report showing that Faith in Action was highly activated and involved in electioneering on behalf of President Joe Biden. See here for that report.

A couple of weeks later, we showed that Faith in Action was not only electioneering on behalf of Biden, but it was promoting abortion, transgenderism, and revolution. See that report here.

Then, in November, we showed that Faith in Action was also electioneering on behalf of other Democrat candidates. See here for that report.

And sometime in October, after the first report was published, CCHD circulated an internal memo that vehemently defended Faith in Action (you can see the original letter in pdf format by clicking here).

C/O: Lepanto Institute

After pontificating about how CCHD “never” funds organizations that go against Church teaching, and how CCHD “takes seriously” any allegations against a CCHD-funded organization, the CCHD introduced Faith in Action with sentiments of affection, saying:

For much of its history, CCHD has maintained a longstanding relationship with Faith in Action at both the diocesan and national levels. This relationship is rooted in our shared mission to address poverty’s root causes and empower communities to create systemic change. Faith in Action (FIA), formerly the PICO Network, was founded by two Jesuit priests in 1972 and has a proven track record of working with hundreds of Catholic parishes, dozens of dioceses, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Vatican to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for millions of families.

But the gushing over Faith in Action doesn’t stop there.  In the next paragraph, CCHD goes on and on about how wonderful Faith in Action is, and immediately poo-poos the notion that FIA could ever do anything wrong:

FIA and its local affiliates are working to build bridges that help move us toward Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community. CCHD has been involved in this important work to address systems and structures that perpetuate the evil of racism since its founding. The suggestion that Faith in Action and its local affiliates are using CCHD funding to engage in partisan activities is false and rooted in a hostile reaction to the call for transformative justice at work in our communities.

The memo then accuses the Lepanto Institute of using “incendiary rhetoric” in our accusations against the CCHD and its funded groups, before admitting that our report was accurate, but the error was an honest mistake that FIA took steps to correct. But then, CCHD says this:

CCHD has long supported and will continue to support this important work of Faith in Action and its local affiliates to change the systems and structures that have perpetuated poverty and racism for decades.

Catholics can be confident that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development does not fund organizations that violate the moral or social teaching of the Church.

Well, now that Faith in Action has formally declared its intention to fight on behalf of “abortion rights,” the CCHD’s claim that it doesn’t fund organizations that “violate the moral or social teaching of the Church” is a complete lie. Even more, CCHD’s fervent defense of the organization and declaration of everlasting partnership with Faith in Action either means that CCHD is going to continue funding Faith in Action, despite its declaration to fight for the right to murder babies in the womb, or CCHD will have to eat those words and admit that it was wrong to defend the organization in 2020.

Conclusion

This report conclusively and directly proves that one of the CCHD’s favorite networks, Faith in Action, is a declared enemy of the Catholic Church and of preborn babies. The evidence shows that Faith in Action’s declaration came from the leadership at the top, that the organization as a whole endorses this declaration, and that CCHD was warned of Faith in Action’s pro-abortion disposition two years ago, and it whitewashed the case.

This is a catastrophic failure on the part of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, showing how it is either completely incompetent or complicit with the pro-abortion agenda of Faith in Action. Whatever the case may be, it is time for bishops to shut the CCHD down, completely and for good.

Please contact your bishop and the CCHD, telling them what you think about the CCHD funding members of Faith in Action!

Click here for the contact information for your bishop.

Click here for the name and email address of your diocesan CCHD director.

NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF
Ralph McCloud, CCHD Director 202-541-3367 rmccloud@usccb.org
Lydia Jiles, Grants Administrator 202-541-3210 ljiles@usccb.org
Juan Aranda, Grants Specialist for Area D 202-541-3370 jaranda@usccb.org
Main Number . . . . . . . . . . 202-541-3210
Fax Number . . . . . . . . . . 202-541-3329
Main Email . . . . . . . . . . cchdgrants@usccb.org

Grant Specialists

Area A – Ian Mitchell   202-541-3371   imitchell@usccb.org
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont

Area B – Gene Giannotta   202-541-3211   ggiannotta@usccb.org
Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin

Area C – Randy Keesler   202-541-3369   rkeesler@usccb.org
Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee , Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia

Area D – Juan Aranda   202-541-3370   jaranda@usccb.org
Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas

Area E – Sean Wendlinder   202-541-3212   swendlinder@usccb.org
Alaska, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Reprinted with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

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