September 28, 2011


TO: All Bishops
FROM: Bishop Jaime Soto, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Bishop Stephen E.  Blaire, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
RE: Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Despite significant progress, some things don’t change.  The American Life League continues to attack CCHD and the USCCB.  Judie Brown, Michael Hichborn and the American Life League (ALL) continue to recycle allegations that CCHD funds many organizations that are in conflict with Catholic teaching.  In the past, they have also unfairly attacked CCHD and USCCB leadership. CHD staff has met repeatedly with representatives of the American Life League to explain CCHD’s mission, requirements and processes. They simply do not agree with CCHD’s mission and how we apply our guidelines and requirements.

We can assure you that the CCHD staff, the subcommittee, the committee and Father Daniel Mindling, OFMCap (CCHD’s consulting moral theologian) have all been involved in reviewing these ongoing allegations.  In one case, a clear violation occurred after the grant was approved and CCHD funding was swiftly and completely terminated.  We expressed our appreciation for this information.  However, other ALL allegations are without substance and our reasons for this conclusion are in the attached summary. Frankly, in these areas we rely on the judgment of the local bishop and diocese, not the repeated accusations of those with clear ideological and ecclesial agendas. 

Thank you for your abiding support for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.  The reports of historic high levels of poverty in our nation call us to a deeper solidarity with those we serve and a profound commitment to the preferential option for the poor.  As our President, Archbishop Dolan, said in his recent eloquent appeal to all of us, his brother bishops:

“It is an essential part of our work as Catholics to build a more just society and economy.  We feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, educate the young, welcome refugees and care for the sick and vulnerable.  Our Church serves and stands in solidarity with those who are poor and jobless, helping them break the cycle of poverty and act on behalf of their own families and communities.”

The Bishops’ CCHD Subcommittee and the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development are working diligently and carefully to carry out the Review and Renewal of CCHD as we promised. Among the steps are these:

  • Next week CCHD is offering intensive training for new CCHD diocesan directors for the first time in several years to increase their skills and capacity in serving you and faithfully carrying out the Review and Renewal of CCHD.
  • The CCHD Subcommittee has reviewed and approved new CCHD application forms, grant agreements and other materials to fully reflect the mission, moral principles and Catholic identity of CCHD.
  • CCHD staff, the subcommittee, diocesan directors and diocesan bishops are particularly focused on ensuring that all CCHD funded groups comply fully with CCHD requirements, especially those prohibiting actions that conflict with Catholic teaching.  You can be assured that CCHD funds are well used and do not fund such activities.  Our work identified one other group that violated CCHD guidelines and it was swiftly defunded and many groups were not considered for CCHD funding because of potential problems in these areas.
  • The CCHD Subcommittee will adopt new criteria and processes for national grants linked to the priorities of the USCCB, including human life and dignity, marriage and family, cultural diversity.
  • As we implement these changes, CCHD is funding new initiatives in several vital areas, including assistance to low-income women by pro-life pregnancy centers and support for low-income parents in DC and Maryland to advance school choice for their children.
  • In all this, the bishops and CCHD had the helpful advice and guidance of our consulting moral theologian Father Daniel Mindling, the academic dean of Saint Mary’s seminary.
  • Most significantly, CCHD continues to depend on the support and decisions of diocesan bishops.  No CCHD group can be funded without the explicit affirmative support of the local ordinary.

If you have any concerns or questions about CCHD, our progress in carrying out the Review and Renewal or these accusations, please do not hesitate to contact us.