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Funding the Bishops’ causes, Pt.2 January 31, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.

A short time back, I explained why my family and I do not support the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, or give to Catholic Charities.   If my reasoning was not compelling at that time, perhaps it is now.

As a recovering addict, I can say that this action, no matter how well intended, no matter how well researched, is, ultimately, badly mistaken.  I know the temptation of sentimality is to try to do all we can to help protect those who struggle with addiction from harming themselves, but giving addicts clean needles will only encourage them to remain addicts.  Addicts are the worst kinds of slaves.  Any action that enables them to continue the endless rationalizations of their addiction will keep them in that slavery longer.  I know the way the addict mind works, and this will take away one of the big reasons an addict may find to quit – fear of death from an agonizing illness.  Even in the depths of addiction, there is still some glimmer of rational thinking, and fear of death has prompted many addicts to finally get clean.  By making clean needles available, this well intended action will keep many addicts in their misery.

And, studies have shown that heroin/methamphetamine culture is not very swayed by these kinds of programs.  Sharing needles is part of the culture – you get high together, you use the same junk, and you share the needles.  It may help to a degree, but I think the danger this program poses to keep many addicts mired in their addiction outweighs the benefits. 

From the point of view of the Church and its mission, I think this program is another case of mistaking sentimality for genuine charity.  This program essentially puts Catholic Charities in the role of aiding and abetting a mortal sin – intoxicating drug use.  All intoxication is a sin, and chronic intoxication in the form of addiction is a mortal sin.  I can speak from experience, the addict is completely cut off from God’s grace by their actions, which are wholly centered on the self, with the only concern for others being in the fostering of their ability to continue their habit.  Making ‘clean’ needles available involves the Church in the continuance of a mortal sin – this is beyond tragic, it’s heart breaking, no matter how well intended. 

This is why my family only funds specific, well researched charities.  Although this is in another diocese, examples such as this make me increasingly reticent to fund Catholic Charities at all.


1. Rev. Clifford G. Smith - February 1, 2010

Excuse me, but what does Albany’s Catholic Charities have to do with Catholic Charities in Dallas?

2. Mary - February 1, 2010

The problem I have with 3rd party charities is I can’t be sure where the money is going. If I give my money to a middle-man, I’m allowing those HIRED to handle the money to decide where my money should be going. On one hand it can give the impression that I’m not smart enough to send my money directly to the needy or other charity of my choice. On the other hand, I can’t be certain I know exactly where my money IS going.

How does this compare to Albany? Those people giving to the Catholic Charities of Albany probably didn’t give their money knowing it would go to fund needles. I just don’t know where my money would go if I write a check to Dallas Catholic Charities. Experience tells me that the people in the middle-man positions aren’t always thinking the same way I am.

I understand that those who established Catholic Charities, and those who support it, probably had/have the best of intentions. Take as an example the charities who claim to support the victims in Haiti. I could send money to a “charity” that claims to help the victims, there are many who are cashing in on this deal. An example is Planned Parenthood; they are collecting funds to “help the victims” – is performing abortions and handing out birth control really helping them?

I love the Catholic Church and try to follow ALL of the teachings of the church. I get disappointed when I see a group connected with the Church doing something that leads to mortal sins (for both the giver and receiver).

3. tantamergo - February 1, 2010

Fr. Cliff –

I don’t know if you read the full post, but at the end I acknowledge that these activities are occurring in another diocese. Nevertheless, it is disconcerting to read that any organ related to Catholic Charities is involved in such a program. No, I am not assailing the local Catholic Charities on this subject, but I am reiterating why I am increasingly reticent to give to Catholic Charities as a whole. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which I have not outlined on this blog.

There are a number of very good Catholic charitable organizations whose missions are very focused and who do not have the overhead that Catholic Charities as a whole has. The Missionaries of Charity come to mind, as does the White Rose center and the KoC, generally .

This is not the first time a Catholic Charities program has left its supporters bewildered, even somewhat betrayed. With the immense and proper controversy surrounding CCHD and regular stories of financial improprieties at a number of Church organizations, I don’t think it is unreasonable that individual Catholics do their best to insure that any Catholic charitable organization they do support truly represents the Faith they profess.

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