Open Letter to Tom Grenchik Regarding USCCB Cooperation With and Support for Pro-Abortion and Radical Homosexual Groups
by Michael Hichborn
Released February 4, 2010
(The following letter was written in response to an e-mail dated February 2, 2010, sent to all diocesan pro-life offices and state Catholic conference directors by Tom Grenchik, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat. We are responding publicly because we do not have access to Mr. Grenchik’s e-mail list.)
Dear Mr. Grenchik,
Your February 2 letter to diocesan pro-life and Catholic conference directors incorrectly claims we are accusing the executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of supporting abortion and the radical homosexual agenda.
There is no doubt that John Carr (who, as head of this department, has oversight of Catholic Campaign for Human Development) has spoken often about the need to defend the preborn; moreover, this is not the issue. As we have stated repeatedly, we are not calling into question John Carr’s pro-life convictions.
The issue is a serious lack of prudence displayed by the USCCB’s social justice arm in its dealings with organizations whose aims directly contradict Church teaching. We have provided carefully verified and detailed factual evidence to support this charge.
I tried to meet and speak with John Carr several months ago, when American Life League joined the Reform CCHD Now coalition, but he refused. Thus, his claim that we never contacted him is false.
I have reported on at least 50 CCHD grantees engaged in activities contrary to Church teaching—and which continue to receive CCHD funds. I disproved the CCHD’s claim that there is nothing wrong with the San Francisco Organizing Project by providing evidence that it helped to create and promote pro-abortion “health care” legislation, but the CCHD was silent. We reported on the 31 CCHD grantees partnered with the Center for Community Change, which embraces a radical pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda, but again, the CCHD was silent.
So, when we reported on John Carr’s chairmanship of the Board of Directors for the Center for Community Change, we suggested that the CCHD’s silence and apparent lack of response might be the result of his cozy relationship with this organization.
Our charge of serious imprudence was further validated by the following findings:
We released our report on the morning of February 1. At that time, we had verified that the CCC was endorsed on the CCHD’s web site, but later that same day, the reference to the CCC had mysteriously disappeared.
Tom Chabolla, who worked under Carr at the CCHD until 2008, served on the CCC board while working for the CCHD.
Ralph McCloud, the CCHD’s current director, spoke at a CCC-sponsored event that praised the election of Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history.
This is only a small piece of a much larger picture. The CCHD has a long history of funding and collaborating with organizations that promote abortion and the radical homosexual agenda, and this history continues to this day.
In fact, it recently came to our attention that John Carr will be presenting this weekend at the USCCB-sponsored 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. There are several problems with this conference, but we will mention just a few here.
Diana Hayes is a professor of systematic theology at Georgetown University and noted speaker for Call to Action, the radical “Catholic” dissident group. Hayes is a radical homosexual activist who wrote a book espousing liberation theology, calls for women’s ordination and promotes same-sex “marriage.”
Mind you, these are not mere incidental associations; these speakers were invited as authorities to address our Church’s supposed defenders of the poor, and workers for peace and justice. Can anyone look at this speaker lineup and think that the USCCB is thinking clearly about Catholic social teaching? Why are those who represent openly anti-life and pro-homosexualist organizations treated as experts in the field of peace and justice by Catholics who should know better?
How many of our bishops know that these representatives of anti-Catholic organizations and philosophies are being treated—by the USCCB, no less—as experts on Catholic teaching?
Page 6 of the conference program book provides a schedule for the Catholic Labor Network gathering. (click here for the Catholic Labor Network schedule)
John Carr is scheduled to join Paul Booth (a founder of the radical Students for a Democratic Society) in a panel discussion. Paul Booth’s wife is Heather Booth, who currently sits on the board of the Center for Community Change. Paul and Heather Booth founded the Midwest Academy, a training institute for left-wing community organizers.
Heather Booth is also a former consultant for the National Organization for Women and, in 1965, organized a group called JANE, which helped young women obtain illegal abortions. More directly, Paul Booth joins his wife as a member of the host committee for the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Awards Gala. Currently, Paul Booth is executive assistant to the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The AFSCME endorsed the pro-abortion March for Freedom of Choice, held in Washington, D.C. in 2004.
Also presenting at the Catholic Labor Network gathering is Father Thomas Reese, SJ, who resigned as editor of America magazine, reportedly under pressure by the Vatican, for his refusal to stop publishing articles that questioned Church teachings on issues such as contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, homosexual priests, mandatory clerical celibacy and whether pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians should be given Holy Communion.
As Catholics, we are hurt, we are scandalized and we are horrified that the USCCB continues to cavort with the enemies of the body of Christ, even to the point of inviting them to speak as authorities on the Catholic view of social justice, which they most certainly are not. The primary purpose of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls, not to “develop economic strength and political power” as professed in the CCHD’s mission statement.
We have simply presented the facts about CCHD funding for these radical organizations; yet other than defunding a very few organizations, the CCHD has thus far refused to take appropriate action and, so far, John Carr has refused to speak with us.
Again, our report is not about his pro-life credentials, but about his and others’ continued cooperation with those who openly oppose the Church and do all they can to undermine her moral authority.
We ask you, with all due respect, to stop misrepresenting our claims and ignoring the thrust of our reports by recasting them as a personal attack on John Carr. Both honesty and charity require you set the record straight with the directors of state Catholic conferences and diocesan pro-life offices.
Lead researcher on the CCHD
American Life League