Un-Catholic Spending Scandal Deepens at Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services is doing the typical backpedaling when one’s hand is caught in the cookie jar — this time blurring the lines between sitting on a board and paying membership dues to an organization opposed to your own mission statement.

Catholic Relief Services’ membership in MEDiCAM — an un-Catholic organization totally committed to expanding access to abortion, abortion training, and propaganda about abortion services — calls into serious question CRS’ funding practices.  In defending its $5.3 million grant to CARE International, a pro-abortion, contraception-distributing organization, Catholic Relief Services had this to offer:

“We do not fund, support or participate in any programming or advocacy that is not in line with Church teaching, including artificial birth control.”
It made this claim on the basis that the money to CARE was not “fungible” and did not come from Catholic donations.

The current question at hand is this: How can CRS claim that, “We do not fund, support or participate in any programming or advocacy that is not in line with Church teaching, including artificial birth control,” while simultaneously defending its dues-payments to MEDiCAM, which itself  is pushing for abortion throughout Cambodia?

CRS’ response was to deflect its problematic membership by posing a completely different problem (commonly referred to as a “straw-man”). In a press statement dated 16 August, CRS claimed,

“Recently, Catholic Relief Services was criticized for its membership in MEDiCAM because of the risk of scandal.”

This is completely untrue.  In fact, if Catholic Relief Services’ activities were restricted to membership only, there would be no scandal.

Every article that has been posted about CRS’ membership in MEDiCAM centered around the fact that resources raised by Catholics ostensibly going to a Catholic purpose was ultimately going to an organization expanding access to abortion.

CRS’ disingenuous defense of its dues-paying membership in MEDiCAM doesn’t stop there. After bloviating about how MEDiCAM provides all sorts of services and tools for Catholic Relief Services, their response says:

“MEDiCAM, similar to some networks and professional associations to which CRS belongs, include organization members and program areas which do not align with all tenets of Catholic teaching.”

Organization members of MEDiCAM that promote abortion is not at issue. It makes no difference that Marie Stopes International, Planned Parenthood’s number one competitor, is also a member of MEDiCAM.

The problem is that MEDiCAM has, as an organization, illustrated in its own position papers and newsletters, worked for the expansion of abortion in Cambodia. CRS’ membership dues are paying for this.

CRS acknowledged this in the statement above, but fails to reconcile this fact with its initial claim that CRS does not fund programs that are not in line with Church teaching. Membership dues are fungible, which means money given by Catholic Relief Services are spent anywhere within MEDiCAM, and as such, go on to support the MEDiCAM’s un-Catholic abortion-expanding projects.

Furthermore, CRS’ membership in MEDiCAM lends legitimacy to an organization that is seeking to eliminate poverty by exterminating the poor.

The facts are clear. CRS is paying membership dues to MEDiCAM. MEDiCAM is working for the expansion of abortion in Cambodia.

Yet CRS claims that it does not fund “any programming or advocacy that is not in line with Church teaching.”

…and I hate to use words that would get you thrown out of the House of Commons, but this?  There’s no other word for it.  This is a lie.

But worse than the lie is the fact that Catholic Relief Services has the audacity to defend its membership in such an organization as MEDiCAM at all.

When the USCCB was discovered to have been a member of the abortion-promoting Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, its immediate response was to withdraw from the conference,

When the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) was found to be funding organizations that were members of pro-abortion coalitions, CCHD rightly adopted new guidelines that read in part, “CCHD will not fund groups that are knowingly members of coalitions which have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”

What kind of audacity exists at CRS which places it above the CCHD or even the USCCB, allowing it to justify taking actions and giving money that the bishops themselves refuse?

The bishops know there are some un-Catholic things going on in their name.  The priests are starting to realize this.  Lay Catholics who thought they were feeding (and not exterminating) the poor are coming to grips with the un-Catholic spending at CRS.

There are some very un-Catholic things going on at Catholic Relief Services.  The questions will keep coming until systemic reform more in line with the timeless  spirit of Blessed Pope John Paul II rather than the modern political winds of the day.