Contact: Katie Walker, 540-907-5826, firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephen Phelan, 540-659-4942, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- American Life League, Human Life International, Catholic Advocate, Bellarmine Veritas Ministry and Real Catholic TV, members of the Reform CCHD Now coalition, launched a petition drive Thursday asking the bishops to suspend United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants.
The effort comes after repeated calls over the past three months for explanations from the USCCB in response to the discovery of CCHD money spent to support organizations promoting abortion and same-sex marriage.
American Catholics will be asked to sign the following at www.reformcchdnow.com:
"To ensure no more Catholic dollars are spent to support organizations advocating abortion or same-sex marriage, I respectfully request the bishops suspend all national CCHD grants until the grants process has been reformed."
"Transparency and responsible stewardship of the money donated by hard-working American Catholics to further the mission of the Church should be a top priority for those in positions of authority at the Bishops' Conference," said Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith.
A copy of the petition will be presented to the following:
· Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
· Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi and Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the CCHD
· Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, Texas and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections
· Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
· Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky and Chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage
CCHD donations are traditionally collected the weekend before Thanksgiving each year as one of the thirteen funds of the USCCB's National Collections program. Donations average between $7 - 9 million annually.
Below is a summary of what has transpired since information on CCHD grant recipients first surfaced in August 2009 by the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry.
* In October 2009, Human Life International, American Life League and the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry formed the Reform CCHD Now coalition. Twenty-one organizations are now members of the coalition.
* On Oct. 2 Bishop Morin announced that CCHD grantee groups Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association had been defunded in response to the reports.
* In November 2009 the Reform CCHD Now coalition revealed the CCHD was supporting 31 organizations which are members of a radically pro-abortion, pro same sex marriage organization.
* Also in November 2009 another detailed report was issued by American Life League and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry implicating MIV partners, CA Partnership partners, SFOP, Preble Street, Voces De La Frontera, and many others.
* By Nov. 25, 2009 LifeSiteNews reported that five bishops had decided to discontinue the CCHD collection.
* On Monday, Feb. 1 American Life League and the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry released further information on CCHD ties to the pro-abortion, same sex marriage Center for Community Change. Two top USCCB executives involved with the CCHD have served on the board of the CCC.
* On Tuesday, February 2, 2010, RealCatholicTV.com released video evidence that within hours of the initial story breaking, the USCCB and Center for Community Change each removed any reference to the other organization from their respective websites.
* On Tuesday, Feb. 2 Catholic Advocate called upon the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to suspend its grants pending "a complete review of its awards process."
The USCCB has yet to adequately respond to any of the charges since Bishop Morin's Oct. 2 memorandum, but has instead attempted to reframe the reports as a personal attack against USCCB employees.
"We remain hopeful these issues will be addressed, potentially leading to a renewal of the CCHD, and making it an organization that is a source of unity rather than division in the Church," said Human Life International's Stephen Phelan.
Phelan added, "we respectfully ask the Episcopal leadership of the USCCB to consider the petition in good faith."
The Reform CCHD Now coalition is a group of 21 Catholic organizations concerned that funds provided to the National Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) in special annual collections continued to support organizations that advocate for abortion and same-sex marriage. For more information on the Reform CCHD Now Coalition please see www.reformcchdnow.com and contact Stephen Phelan at 540-622-5270 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Katie Walker at 540-659-4942 (email@example.com).