USCCB announces cuts to controversial CCHD program that gives money to left-wing groups – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced that it is downsizing the department that oversees the controversial Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), a program that has given millions of dollars in grants to pro-abortion, pro-LGBT, and other left-wing organizations since its inception in 1969.

USCCB spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi told Religion News Service last week that the “reorganization” of the Justice, Peace, and Human Development office will allow the conference to “align resources more closely with recent funding trends.” Nine staffers, which is just under half the department’s employees, have reportedly been let go thus far, with three from the CCHD team.

The office is tasked with carrying out the USCCB’s vision on social justice causes like racism, care for the environment, education initiatives, and anti-poverty efforts.

At last month’s Spring Assembly, the bishops held a closed-door meeting to discuss the future of the initiative. A group of more than 20 conservative and Traditional Catholics, including Michael Hichborn, who runs the Lepanto Institute, as well as LifeSiteNews co-founder John-Henry Westen, added their names to a letter calling on the bishops to bring the campaign to a fitting end given its financial woes in recent years.

Although a USCCB press release issued June 14 said the bishops “had a good discussion” about the program’s future, Noguchi’s announcement suggests it’s long-term survivability may be a question mark. Indeed, a press release published by USCCB general secretary Fr. Michael Fuller last week stated that “the work of CCHD will continue” but “with a reduction in funding and resources,” as well as an “ongoing discernment” about its long-term operations.

Hichborn was ecstatic about the announcement. In a post on his X account last week, he called on Catholics to “keep the pressure on, and do not relent.” He also told LifeSite that “eliminating staff from the CCHD is a good start, but given its long history of funding organizations propagating ideologies antithetical to Catholic moral and social teaching, it would be better to end it altogether.”

Hichborn has exposed recent CCHD grants to left-wing organizations like the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers’ Center, Planting Justice, the Fund for the City of New York, Just Economics of Western North Carolina, and Fuerza Laboral.

Liberal group Pax Christi USA issued a statement expressing its disappointment with the budget cuts. Left-wing Catholic media outlets and former staffers of the CCHD have done the same.

“Whether it’s support for immigrants, whether it’s solidarity with marginalized communities, especially communities that are steeped in poverty … by cutting these offices, the Church is saying that we’re retreating from that work,” Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi, alleged.

According to The Pillar website, the CCHD saw its net assets decrease from $58 million in 2013 to a paltry $8 million in 2022, when it had an operating deficit of $5.7 million. The Campaign for Human Development receives its funding through a special annual collection on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Twenty-five percent is retained by the local diocese and 75 percent goes to a national program.

During the 2008 presidential race, it was discovered that the CCHD provided more than $70,000 to a non-profit lead by young Barack Obama when he was a community organizer living in Chicago in the 1980s. The Archdiocese of Chicago had also paid for Obama’s airfare to Los Angeles in 1986 so he could attend a conference held by famed Marxist community organizer Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation.

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