WASHINGTON (October 26, 2010) — “The Review and Renewal of CCHD reaffirms CCHD’s Catholic foundations and priority for the poor,” according to Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). “It also responds to concerns about CCHD funding policies and makes 10 commitments to strengthen CCHD as a faithful and effective expression of Catholic teaching and the Gospel mandate to defend the lives and dignity of those who are poor in our nation.” It builds on the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, which urges Catholics to pursue “the institutional path … of charity.”
The Review and Renewal of CCHD was accepted and affirmed by the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in September. The report will also be discussed at the bishops’ Fall General Assembly in Baltimore in November.
According to Bishop Morin, the report provides a detailed plan of action, making clear that it neither repackages “business as usual” nor abandons CCHD’s unique mission to the poor. The “Ten Commitments for CCHD’s Future” are a road map with specific steps to assure bishops, pastors, and the Catholic faithful that CCHD is faithful to the Gospel, its Catholic identity and its mission and is accountable and responsible in the ways it uses Catholic contributions to help break the cycle of poverty. These Ten Commitments will:
- Better ensure that CCHD funds will not be used to support any activity which conflicts with fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching, particularly the protection and promotion of the life and dignity of every person, the sanctity of marriage and family, and caring for and standing with “the least of these” (Matt. 25).
- Encourage and give priority to the participation of Catholic parishes and parishioners, pastors, religious and diocesan leaders in the ongoing work of CCHD, especially the engagement of Catholic people, parishes and institutions in activities and groups that carry out the mission and foundations of CCHD.
- Help CCHD be more focused and strategic in carrying out its mission by setting aside a portion of the CCHD collection for Strategic National Grants that reflect CCHD’s mission and foundations, address emerging issues, and advance the priorities of the Bishops’ Conference, especially as they impact poor communities
- Develop more specific ethical guidance to help the Bishops carry out the CCHD policy that prohibits funding to groups, which are part of coalitions, which act in conflict with fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.
- Establish new structures, including ongoing consultation with moral theologians and a CCHD Review Board, to help the Bishops address moral issues involving organizational relationships and coalitions.
- Initiate broader discussion of the moral and human costs of pervasive poverty in our nation, which apply Catholic teaching, especially Deus Caritas Est and Caritas in Veritate.
- Renew and reaffirms shared commitment disciples of Jesus and as a Catholic community of faith to support CCHD’s biblical mission, Catholic principles, and essential work to help break the cycle of poverty.
Established in 1969, CCHD provides self-help grants to groups of low-income people who are working to overcome poverty by addressing its root causes in their own lives and communities. The executive summary and full report, along with additional material, are now available online at: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/Who-We-Are/review-and-renewal.cfm
“At this time of great economic suffering, it is more important than ever for the Church in the United States through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free” (Luke 4:18),” Bishop Morin said.
Keywords: Review and Renewal of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Bishop Roger Morin, CCHD, poverty, root causes
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