Saturday, October 2, 2010

Diocese ends grant over Planned Parenthood link; chancery official criticizes CCHD critics

From Catholic Culture:

The Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon) has rescinded a Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grant to Street Roots, a newspaper that advocates on behalf of the homeless, after the newspaper refused to remove a reference to Planned Parenthood from its resource guide.

Street Roots said that it was a victim of a “witch hunt,” and a columnist for the leading local newspaper attacked the decision. “It’s too bad that under pressure they chose to do the Catholic thing rather than the Christian one,” wrote Anna Griffin of The Oregonian.
“It’s disturbing that a small group of right-wing fringe elements within the Catholic Church are being successful at undermining the Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s work to address the root causes of poverty through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education,” said Street Roots executive director Israel Bayer, adding:
At the end of the day, a witch hunt is a witch hunt, and that’s exactly what Street Roots and dozens of community organizations working to fight poverty in the United States are facing, a witch hunt born out of fear and intolerance. And let’s be clear, this is far from over. Every group that currently receives funds from CCHD is being asked to not take part in activities, or align themselves with the very groups it will take to dismantle poverty in this country.
An archdiocesan official also criticized critics of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
Matt Cato, director of the Office of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Portland, said that “there are one or two people within our diocese who spend their time looking for organizations on our grant lists that have connections to anything contrary to Catholic teaching, specifically abortion.”

“I do know that plenty of people are uncomfortable when a group of low-income or poor persons have power,” Cato told Street Roots in a lengthy article that includes comments from both leading CCHD critics and CCHD defenders.

“So you have the power of money, which corporations have, and you have the power of people, which is what community organizing is,” Cato added. “The power of people which needs to balance the power of money, and that’s what community organizing is about, and a lot of people are uncomfortable with the poor having the voice.”

In a December 2009 column, a local Catholic discussed another grant recipient’s problematic ties and the lack of interest with which his concerns were initially met at the archdiocesan and national level.
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