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Catholic Campaign for Human What and How?

Jim Bowman 15 November 2010 5 Comments

The annual Campaign for Human Development collection is coming up for Catholics Nov. 20–21:

Your tax-deductible contributions can always be mailed directly to our office at anytime. This method guarantees that you will receive a tax-deduction letter mailed directly to you right away.

Make checks payable to “The Chicago CCHD” and mail them to:

Chicago CCHD – Attn: Rey Flores

. . . .

But what’s above has been scrubbed. Rey Flores doesn’t work there any more, having been fired a few weeks ago as the Chicago campaign’s director and replaced by an aide, Interim Program Director Tamara Fedoryshyn. Flores had worked out a compromise with pro-lifers who protested grants to anti-life-connected groups. His guidelines for 2011 grants remain on site —

. . . . Projects must address poverty with respect to Catholic values and must conform to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

Organizations must use Chicago CCHD funding solely for the purpose stated in their application and cannot participate in any activity contrary to Catholic teaching (i.e. abortion, non-traditional marriage, euthanasia, racism, support for the death penalty, etc.). . . . .

— with Flores as contact person, but Fedoryshyn is the new contact person everywhere else, and archdiocesan blog items by Flores say he was the program director.

The removal happened some time after Oct. 2, when he led the annual Justice Day at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica. No hint was given by anyone on that occasion that Flores was tagged for demolition. He was apparently sandbagged.

Also present and prominent in the day’s activities, celebrating and preaching at the mid-day mass, was Fr. Larry Dowling, pastor of St. Agatha parish in Lawndale, whose Nov. 2 letter to Cardinal George referred to Flores in the past tense as Chicago CCHD’s “former director.”

The letter was a statement of counter-protest, Dowling (a dean and consultor to the cardinal) speaking for a number of priests who found the changes on Flores’s watch grossly incompatible with CCHD tradition and principles. He accused Flores of inflicting “great damage” that included

false information about CCHD . . . disseminated by those who oppose the Church’s promotion of empowering the poor. . . . . a lack of proper vetting and formation of new members of the CCHD selection team. . . . an attempt to limit the funding of community organizing in general. . . .

The letter is a plea for community organizing rather than direct service to the poor, quoting Flores, “Community organizing takes too long. We’re going to concentrate on direct service.”

The letter complains about

lay people [on a newly constituted selection committee] who openly described CCHD as defective and ‘needing fixing.’ One member was quoted as saying, “The Church really needs to drop the term ‘social justice’ and concentrate on direct service”

but calls for “a selection process that engages lay people,” apparently meaning lay people who agree with these priests about what’s to be done.

Flores got the ax at some point between Justice Day and Dowling-letter day, making October a bad month for him — and it seems for pro-lifers’ efforts to change how money is distributed.

The letter is a case apparently of striking while the iron is hot — moving to reverse immediately the changes of 2010. If it’s a sign of how the wind is blowing in the organizing-vs.-service controversy — we might say Alinsky vs. Dorothy Day — the future looks bleak for the “real reform” of CCHD practices brokered by Flores in response to objections by Catholic Citizens of Illinois and other groups.

Do non-profits usually operate this way? Bounce a program director without a by-your-leave to their donating publics?

Is this non-profit (the archdiocese) slipping something past its public only weeks before the big giving day — the Nov. 20–21 weekend in the Catholic churches of two counties?

It’s something of more than passing interest to the inquiring pew-sitter.

More at Blithe Spirit


  • Windy City Commentary said:

    Does the Cardinal have any say in what the CCHD does? He needs to say what his vision of CCHD is and keep it that way. Does the Cardinal think the CCHD should go ahead and fund groups which DO participate in any activity contrary to Catholic teaching (i.e. abortion, non-traditional marriage, euthanasia, racism, support for the death penalty, etc.) C’mon George, stand up and be a shepherd on this. We’ve heard Father Dowling’s opinion and other opinions, and it is all in the news. Will you allow us to know what is right?

  • Wally G. said:

    I write a note stating why I refuse to support CCHD and jam it in my Sunday envelope. Then I throw my regular envelope empty in the basket.

    I have tried to get a reaction to this from our Pastor, but he backs CCHD because he claims, “it is supported by the Cardinal”

    Cardinal George needs to make a statement on CCHD, either support it or discontinue the extra envelope in the box.

  • Mike Buck said:

    In his letter of November 2nd Father Dowling states that, “We are writing to voice our concerns about the changes made in the past year in the handling of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.” I presume that the good padre was not using the Royal “We” so the question arises: who is “We”; who are the “number of priests” that Father Dowling claims to be speaking for? What are their names and their parishes? Were they identified in a portion of Dowling’s letter that may have been deleted in the link, or are they hiding behind Dowling’s cassock? It is difficult to dispute with…..oops!….I mean “dialogue” with people who’s identities are a mystery. If Father Dowling truly wants to “engage the laity” in CCHD’s work, his associates should identify themselves, define their positions on how CCHD should operate and have the courage to defend those positions against lay as well as clerical criticism. Otherwise one must assume that Dowling’s conception of lay engagement is for the persons in the pew to passively and without question fork over their coin to any cause he can “justify” with his tiresome 1960’s rhetoric.

    By the way, that’s a beautiful picture of the Basilica. I only visited it once, after a St.Laurence–St. Phillips football game in 1963 when my Dad insisted I go in and take a look at the interior. Never went back, shame on me.

  • Jim Bowman said:

    Mike Buck: Sunday mass at Our Lady of Sorrows is dignified to the Nth degree, and lively and warm and partaking of the black tradition. The mostly black congregation applauds the pastor’s shots at anti-life and other not Catholic points of view. Refreshing place.

  • Orca Fromage-tete said:

    Dear Fr. JustcallmeLarry Dowling:
    Rules say “be nice.” Believe me this is as nice as I can be, charitable even:
    Yer a moron. You wanna keep pumping diocesan dough from sincere compassionate Catholics to decidedly antiCatholic outfits like the (Alinsky-guided) Industrial Areas Foundation, inter alia? Yeah, let’s bypass the rules, forget “in the Holy Name of Jesus,” hurry, hurry…”pass the law so we can see what’s in it.” Disordered!!
    As the Church doesn’t hold elections there’s still a parallel here with the hurry-short-shrift set that just got gassed in D.C. See, some of us get it: you can’t fool all the time, etc.
    No, no elections. But by dint of the result of America’s gagging on the social gospel utopian elixir that never can materialize, you ought to get a clue, the follow with by rep doses of Obedience. You know, that nuclear nostrum that vaporizes the arrant proud as water did the Wicked Witch…
    They who direct their feet have no need for ballots anyway. You’re no help as the confused flock wanders elsewhere…
    Orca Fromage-tete

    BTW: Ah,how star power doth profit the Pflegers: Per astra ad gehenna.

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