A Wolf in the Sanctuary: Exposing Catholic Relief Services

This post is not going to make me popular. And I fully expect that it will upset a few people who I would rather not upset. But sometimes, there is nothing to do but speak the truth in love and let the chips fall where they may.

We've got a full blown scandal in our midst and most of us are completely unaware. 

If you are a Catholic, odds are that you've seen advertisements for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) all over the internet, in your parish, on Facebook, and perhaps on a favorite blog or two. You've seen the CRS envelope in the stack that your parish sends and perhaps you've donated. Some of you have gone on their mission trips.  Many of your kids get their Operation Rice Bowls in school during Lent and work hard filling them up with their pennies.You know the shiny, happy veneered side already so I'm just going to shoot straight about the scandalous...

*Catholic Relief Services (CRS) gives millions of dollars every year to anti-life organizations.

*80% of 2012 grantee money from CRS went directly to organizations dispensing abortion/contraception.

*CRS is a dues paying member of organizations that push abortion and birth control.

*With the pennies your kids give, CRS supports sterilization, contraception, abortion, and sex education that destroys the family and promotes immorality.

*CRS currently has the full backing of the USCCB.

This is a problem. We need to be holding some feet to the fire.

I first heard about this scandal from Michael Hichborn of American Life League (ALL) when we both attended a national pro-life conference in March of this year. Michael shared the results of his enormous investigative project and talked about ALL's ongoing efforts to appeal for change to the practices of the CRS leadership. He also talked about his efforts to personally inform the individual bishops on the committee so that they would be able to act with full knowledge. And then he sent me links to the documentation so that I could read it for myself.

And now I'm sharing it with you (below). But I don't want you to take my word for it. You need to read it for yourself and decide how to proceed. Once you read it, you'll have to answer this question for yourself: 

Is it okay with you that a Catholic relief organization supported by the American Catholic bishops gives money and a good reputation to organizations that dispense contraception and abortion?

I will provide the links that you need at the bottom of the is post but first, I need to share with you the final motivation behind hitting the "publish" button on this post...

I did my research and came to the conclusion that CRS is indeed violating the moral teachings of the Church. I brought the evidence privately to a couple very high profile Catholic personalities who publicly support CRS in multiple ways. They heard the evidence and briefly said that they must "respectfully disagree" on the matter. I responded:

"When you say that you 'respectfully disagree' with me, I have to ask: What exactly do you disagree with me about? Do you disagree that the Church's moral teaching forbids cooperation with gravely immoral action? Do you disagree that contraception is always a grave sin and cannot be justified even when used in conjunction with humanitarian aid? Do you disagree that knowingly distributing funding to organizations that actively promote abortion is wrong? Since CRS clearly knows the immoral actions of its grantees, it is not possible to make a case for ignorance. It must be either be a case of the end justifying the means or a specific anti-life agenda. Neither position can be supported according to Catholic moral teaching."

Their response? We uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. And... 

We continue to stand firmly by CRS. 

Impossible. To say I was stunned is putting it mildly. I was heartsick. I never expected that these dynamic and apparently orthodox individuals would tolerate such anti-life scandal for a minute. But I give them the benefit of the doubt... I think they simply can't (or won't) believe that the US bishops could be so wrong about such a huge and gravely important thing. 

I am asking all of my readers to read these documents and come to a conclusion based on the teachings of the Catholic Church. I challenge you to find me a place where it is morally permissible to destroy innocent life in order to provide humanitarian aid to another. But I already know you won't find anything of the sort.

Nothing that I have read from our holy Catholic faith indicates that a person or organization may ever do evil so that good may come of it. We cannot justify the abortion of one child in order to feed another. We cannot hold such a position and call ourselves Christian.

A full 80% of the organizations that CRS willingly cooperated with in 2012 were directly and formally promoting moral evil. They continue to defend their associations in spite of efforts on the part of ALL and other faithful to correct them in charity.

Read the evidence. It's actually pretty shocking:

Open letter to CRS from American Life League HERE
250 page report on CRS grantees HERE

The following two links were forwarded to me by CRS supporters in response to my request for anything that proves the grantee report wrong. The first is on the CRS website and is carefully crafted to deflect criticism; but nowhere does it address the specific information exposed in the grantee report. They say they are "resolute" in their commitment to Church teaching, but if the tax forms were accurate, then that is a lie. They also say it is sometimes necessary to work with non-Catholic organizations. I would agree. But I disagree that it is EVER permissible to work with or fund groups that purposefully pursue the destruction of life and family.

CRS Claims to Uphold Catholic Teaching and Values

Below is a link to the the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement in support of CRS. In spite of the profusion of support, I can not find a single piece of evidence against the report put together by Michael Hichborn. 

The USCCB officially supports CRS

In fact, I have yet to see anyone, anywhere give evidence that contradicts that which is presented in the grantee report. I don't expect one either, since all the information compiled is available in public tax records. If Hichborn is wrong, it is easy enough to prove.

A lot of people are saying he's wrong, including some bishops. Here's one response he wrote to Archbishop Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe:

Michael Hichborn responds to Archbishop Sheehan regarding critics of CRS

If you consider yourself a pro-life Catholic, then your voice is critical right now. Please tell the bishops and your pastors, Catholic bloggers, fellow Catholics and CRS that true humanitarian aid cannot be purchased with the blood of innocents. Tell them that it's not okay with you. And then please stop giving them money.

Up to this point, anyone who has pointed out the bizarre anti-Catholic actions of CRS has been shouted down as ridiculous and extreme. Let's turn that around.

Let's make it unpopular for Catholics to reject Church teaching. 

Other links of interest:

CRS pro-abortion grantee wins UN population fund award

Pope Decrees: Catholic Charities Must Always Act in Accordance with Church Teaching


Posted on June 9, 2014 and filed under Faith, pro-life.