The watchdogs bite again: Another agency in danger of losing CCHD funding

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Here we go again: Companeros, an organization that serves primarily Spanish-speaking immigrants with health care and legal support in one corner of Colorado may lose the $30,000 it gets from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development because it is a member of an immigration advocacy umbrella group,  the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, which opposes discrimination against LGBT immigrants and supports same-sex civil unions. According to the New York Times, Companeros will lose its funding--half its annual budget--if it doesn't end this affiliation.

Get that? Companeros can't have anything to do with CIRC because it supports civil unions--as do 71 percent of U.S. Roman Catholics--even though Companeros is focused on the immediate needs of immigrants in one small area in Colorado. By the same logic, since the Holy See is a member of the United Nations, and many of its member nations have same-sex marriage, the Holy See should withdraw from the U.N.

That's what we are reduced to when we follow the blind-alley logic of groups such as Reform CCHD Now and the American Life League, who have drawn fire from none other than the two U.S. bishops responsible for domestic advocacy: Stephen Blair of Stockton, California, and Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California. These two bishops have repeatedly rejected the claims of CCHD opponents that CCHD grantees oppose church teaching as baseless. We at US Catholic have done our own major feature about the controversy.

As I wrote in my May column about these witch hunts against partners in the fight against poverty, these kinds of guilt-by-association accusations are counterproductive and are doing serious damage both to our Catholic outreach to the poor and to our image as a community who joins wih all people of good will in works of charity and justice. More and more it appears that Catholics in general are so obsessed with issues of sexuality that we can't even feed the poor or shelter immigrants anymore.

This is nonsense has got to stop, and it's time for people to start speaking up and saying that groups such as Reform CCHD Now and the American Life League don't speak for Catholics--or the Catholic bishops--when it comes to our efforts to serve our sisters and brothers in need.