It is that time of year again and we know that as Thanksgiving in the United States approaches, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is gearing up for the annual fund drive. Here at +Ponderings+, we've tracked the shenanigans of years past including: millions in funding to the now defunct ACORN, funding provided to groups whose missions are contrary to Catholic teaching and overall questioning of the purpose of the CCHD.
In an attempt to head off controversy this year, the Bishops have released a Review and Renewal report and it appears they listened to the concerns from the past and have made clear changes to the CCHD.
From their website (.pdf document):
What will be new as a result of the CCHD Review and Renewal report?
1. New CCHD grant agreement, application, and other materials that specify more clearly what CCHD can and cannot support, linked to stronger review and monitoring.
2. New language throughout that makes clear CCHD is not a secular foundation, but a work of the Catholic Church, outlining our mission, our principles, and our priorities.
3. A priority for Catholic participation in funded projects… the involvement of Catholic parishes, institutions will be a plus in considering applications
4. A more comprehensive, more realistic definition of poverty.
5. A continued requirement that poor people have a major role in decision-making, but CCHD will consider other measures of the participation and priority for those who are poor, in addition to the members of the board of an organization. Priests and religious living in the low-income communities they are serving will be seen as low-income decision-makers.
6. Larger grant amounts ($25,000 to $75,000) to match the needs of groups and reduce the number of grants to be monitored.
7. A new strategic grants program which uses a portion of CCHD funds to focus on neglected needs, issues, or the Bishops’ priorities as they relate to poverty
8. New structures to assist CCHD in applying its prohibitions on funding groups which act in conflict with Catholic social and moral teaching … a new staff position on CCHD mission and identity, an ongoing consulting relationship with a moral theologian, and a CCHD Review Board to advise the bishops and CCHD.
9. For Catholics, CCHD will strengthen the understanding that CCHD is important not just for what it does, but for how it demonstrates who we are and what we believe.
What is not changing?
1. CCHD’s commitment to and priority for the poor.
2. CCHD’s emphasis on self-help, bottom-up approaches, and the principle of participation.
3. CCHD’s focus on the pursuit of justice, addressing the causes of poverty, pursuing “the institutional path . . . of charity (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 7).
4. CCHD’s policy that no group that acts in conflict with Catholic social and moral teaching can receive CCHD funds.
5. CCHD’s requirement that the local Bishop must approve before any group can be funded in their diocese.
6. CCHD’s efforts to help carry out the mission of Jesus Christ to “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free” (Luke 4:18).
Read more HERE and prayerfully discern your role in funding the CCHD this year. They have certainly taken some steps in the right direction.
UPDATE 11/5/2010: With a hat-tip to Michael who posted a comment in the box below, follow the link for latest news from the group Reform CCHD NOW Coalition: