Something needs to be said about the recent attacks on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Bishop Roger Morin, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee that oversees CCHD, reported at the bishops’ November meeting that these charges were “outrageous.” Three bishops who chair important committees in the conference have come to the defense of John Carr, who has oversight of CCHD.
This is a case of “guilt by association.” But CCHD and John Carr are in good company. The same charges were made against Jesus: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2). That’s one of the reasons they killed Jesus.
Opposition against CCHD is nothing new. From the start, 40 years ago, its opponents thought that poor people should not be organized nor empowered. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, insurers and others have powerful organizations and lobbyists. But those poor people have no right to do the same. That’s one reason why they are poor. Some CCHD attackers prefer that poor people not vote. I think Jesus would have something to say about that. In Catholic Social Teaching, this is called the right of “participation.”
This is not just an attack on CCHD and John Carr. This is an organized and well-funded campaign to silence the U.S. Catholic bishops on social justice. At least one opponent is paid a six-figure salary to attack poor peoples’ organizations. These attackers seem to have never accepted the totality of Catholic Social Teaching.
Instead of attacking Carr and CCHD, why don’t these opponents take on Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, USCCB president who is known for his intellectual prowess, or Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, who worked for many years with farm workers and immigrants, or Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a Franciscan who worked with homeless and immigrants on the streets of Washington, D.C.?
Msgr. Marvin Mottet
(Msgr. Mottet served as national director of CCHD from 1978 to 1985.)