Bishops Endorse CRS Work For Poorest, Most Vulnerable

September 16, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Catholic Relief Services(CRS), the U.S. bishops' overseas humanitarian aid agency, is deeply committed"to Church teaching in fulfilling its mission of mercy," the U.S. bishops'Administrative Committee said in a September 11 statement the first day of itsannual fall meeting in Washington.

Thebishops strongly endorsed the 70-year-old agency after critics "raisedallegations about CRS' adherence to Church teaching and its identity as aCatholic institution" and questioned its pro-life credentials, the statementsaid.

"Last year, CRS served more than 100million people in 91 countries," the bishops said.

"Those making these publiccritiques, albeit, we hope, in good faith, do not speak for the Catholic Churchand we advise the Catholic faithful to exercise caution and consult the CRSwebsite for clarification before endorsing or giving credence to the groups'critiques." The bishops "urged the Catholic faithful to continue to supportCatholic Relief Services."

"The U.S. Catholic bishops standfirmly behind CRS in its commitment to promote and defend human dignity and thesacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until naturaldeath, and at every moment in between," the bishops said.

"Its service around the world makesus all proud," the bishops added.

The full statement can be found at

Specifically, the bishops said, "itis and has been CRS' policy never to distribute or promote artificialcontraceptives or abortifacients or to promote abortion."

"All of CRS' life-saving work toprovide food and clean water, to fight malaria and other diseases, to promoteeducation, and to help the poor find ways to support themselves and theirfamilies fully conform with Catholic teaching," the statement said.

CRS' staff training program for itsnearly 5,000 staff around the world include an agency-wide tutorial,"Protecting Life," that informs staff of Church teaching on the sanctity oflife, contraception and abortion and explains CRS' requirement that they upholdthe teaching in their work.

CRS vets its activities andpartnerships with other groups or governments so that they do not violateCatholic teaching. The agency operates in highly complex and rapidly changingenvironments and welcomes questions and concerns offered in a spirit ofChristian charity. If weaknesses or problems are found assessment and actionare undertaken to correct the problem, the bishops said.

CRS represents the U.S. Catholiccommunity at the invitation and with the support of local Church leaders. CRS'activities must be acceptable to those local Churches, follow their policiesand the policies of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Ifquestions or concerns are raised by the local Church in any countries served,they are addressed and resolved.


Keywords: Catholic Relief Services, CRS, U.S. bishops, U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, pro-life, Administrative Committee,abortion, contraception

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