[T]he purpose of a system is what it does. This is a basic dictum. It stands for bald fact, which makes a better starting point in seeking understanding than the familiar attributions of good intention, prejudices about expectations, moral judgment or sheer ignorance of circumstances. - Stafford BeerIt's going on three years now since the issue was first raised of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development [CCHD] directly and indirectly financing groups that work actively against Church teaching, i.e., promoting intrinsic evils.
After the matter was brought to the bishops' attention, a set of reforms, called the Review and Renewal, was put in place ostensibly to prevent this from happening. At the time, I adopted essentially a "wait and see" attitude, with some serious concerns still remaining.
Well, now we have the results of the reforms for 2011-12, and the conclusion remains the same: If you are a faithful Catholic who cares whether your stewardship dollars support causes in line with Church teaching, then keep your wallet closed when the CCHD plate comes by for the 2012-13 campaign, which will begin in many parishes this weekend before Thanksgiving.
Audit Highlights of CCHD Grants for 2011-12On paper, the idea of the CCHD is an elegant combination of the social justice principles of solidarity and subsidiarity being directed to address the human suffering caused by poverty and to promote human dignity. Regardless the intentions, the reality is something quite different. Human dignity is not served by supporting such causes.
- 38% of grantees are directly involved in, or are actively involved in organizations that are directly involved in, activities contrary to Church teaching and in violation of the reformed CCHD guidelines. This is up from 21% in 2009-10 and 24% in 2010-11.
- 38% of dollars granted went to these violating organizations. The grants total $2,889,500. This is an increase of $1,026,500, or 55%, from 2010-11.
- 24% of the Catholic dioceses in the US had grantees in violation of the CCHD guidelines (including the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis).
- 51% of the violating grantees appear to be either guilty of formal cooperation with evil, or are in proximate danger of formal cooperation.
When the level of undesirable unintended consequences increases after attempting to manage a system, it reveals how poorly the behavior of that system is understood. When those consequences are more than undesirable, but represent the promotion of evil, then it is probably time to shut the thing down.
I know this could very well annoy clergy who vote like militant twentysomething feminist secular humanists and other social justice-y dissident Catholic types. So be it. My message to them is the same as it was to the orthodox laity two years ago and remains today:
[T]here is nothing stopping anyone from supporting directly [those] worthy organizations that are fighting poverty on the front lines.Additional Information
For more details on the audit's methodology and the communication of the results to the bishops, check out this in-depth interview with Michael Hichborn and Rob Gaspar of the American Life League.