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A call for reform of Catholic charitable organizations August 1, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.

A post on The Catholic Thing regarding Catholic Relief Services in particular, but all Catholic charities in general, claims that overdependence on government funding and a tendency to hire left wing secular humanist types is fatally undermining the ability of many Catholic charities to both do good works AND spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Identity was the recurring theme of a momentous Caritas Internationalis gathering in late May, following news that its executive director would not be permitted another term. The prominent French commentator Jean-Marie Guénois described Pope Benedict XVI’s attempts to reform the Caritas network as revolutionary – not in terms of new doctrine, but in the sense that he is reasserting control over an entire area of the Church’s vital activity in agencies that have veered far off course.

In a remarkable address to the Caritas Assembly, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah (president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum) stressed that expressions of authentic Catholic charity are especially needed today, not least because the number of other actors on the scene is mushrooming. Most NGO activities, he reminded them, are expressions of prevailing western culture, now characterized by widespread religious indifference and secularization – “a humanism without God.” For all its tremendous material, scientific, and technological progress, the West, he maintained, is also suffering from “serious moral regression.”

Western Catholics agencies should be all the more eager to stand in solidarity with the Church in other parts of the world precisely against just such moral regression – a considerable obstacle to human development everywhere, perhaps especially in the “developed,” but bleaker, swaths of the modern West.

Yet on my own many trips to Africa with Catholic Relief Services, for example, it was not uncommon to hear locals refer to them as the “non-Catholic Catholic agency.” (Imagine what they say about CAFOD – the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development).

African bishops would tell me (after my talks about AIDS) how surprising it was to hear a young Western CRS employee speak the common Catholic language, whereas my superiors back in Baltimore told me that I would change my thinking about the way we should approach AIDS prevention – that I’d begin to oppose Church teachings – once I spent yet more time in Africa. [Apparently, CRS leaders in the US oppose Church Doctrine – I am certain means they support the illusory use of condoms to ‘stop the spread of AIDS,’ although research shows condoms rarely help in that regard]

If reform is really to happen, I’d suggest briefly that two concrete things need to be addressed. First, charitable agencies will have to revisit the extent to which they seek public funds.  A considerable portion of staff time revolves around the government’s aid agenda, which naturally diverts time and energy away from pursuing other needs or worthy initiatives. 

Even when collaboration on given projects does not constitute an unacceptable level of material cooperation with morally objectionable practices, dependence on public funds all too easily tends to make the charity’s priorities nearly synonymous with those of the state. [This has been my problem with many Catholic charities for some time – the near total dependence on government funding tends to instill in the charity the view that “what is good for government is good for charity.”  Since almost all this money comes from secular, humanist, even paganistic Western governments, the views of the charities tend to aligh with those sad philosophies, and are increasingly distant if not totally cut off from Catholic orthodoxy.  Thus, we recently had the head of Catholic Relief Services in Africa being quoted as saying they never, ever evangelize for the Faith or even talk about the Faith.  To do so would be a violation of “church and state,” a wierd misunderstanding of the concept in this country, but totally baffling to Christian Africans.]

Since many Caritas member employees are unfamiliar with or unsympathetic to the contents of Magisterial teaching, however, the second and probably more important thing charitable agencies need to do is revisit how they approach hiring and developing staff. Perhaps this needs little explanation other than restating the truism that “personnel is policy.”  When those in charge of programming for a country or region are not Catholic, or are aloof Catholics, their priorities tend to gravitate towards those of the governmental donors and wider NGO “community,” especially if presiding over “growth” is what gets you ahead within the agency.[What this means is that secular humanists within CRS and other charities tend to be more successful eliciting funds from the sexular humanists (pun intended) in the government.  Growth = more revenue.  And, yes, personnel is policy.  Your organization will reflect the views of those who work for it.  If they are predominately left wing, big government, agnostic humanists, that will be the orientation of your organization, which is fine for most NGOs, but not for Catholic aid organizations.]

And, thus, why I have a hard time supporting many Catholic charities, although I would like to.  Their basic orientation towards dependence on government funding, which results in their shilling for left wing views of government, alienate them from my family and I.  A Catholic charity should be simple – aid the poor directly, do very little in the way of promoting ideological views, but always proclaim the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church.  Zero or 1 out of 3 ain’t good.


1. Yes – this is exactly how I feel regarding Church/state « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - August 2, 2011

[…] ties in well with my post yesterday on CRS and other huge Catholic charitable organizations, which I remind spend relatively large […]

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