Over at the Catholic Key Blog, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has published its plan for reforming the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Already a year old, their CCHD plan is very convincing.
I began reading it with a healthy skepticism… until I came to this:
Our first decision, then, was to cease funding all community organizing projects in our diocese and not to grant such requests in the future. While the diocese still supports the concept of providing a voice to those who lack a voice in our society, we believe that there are a variety of mechanisms to achieve such a goal that can take place without funding community organizing groups that offer positions contrary to Church teaching.
Everyone who has kept up on the controversy surrounding CCHD grant-making knows community organizing groups are the hub of the problem.
The Diocese recognizes that funding organizations that directly support — or are in coalitions that directly support — abortion and same sex marriage send the wrong message.
Funding community organizing groups gives the impression that we are permanent allies, when in fact we are not. We welcome alliances with such groups on particular issues, and we recognize that we will have to be on opposing sides on other issues.
The Diocese has recommended two economic development organizations for funding: the Kansas City Urban Youth Center and Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation. KCUYC provides after school programs for urban youth who live in the poor apartment complexes, while NWMEF provides low income people with business mentoring. Receiving local funding from the Diocese’s portion of the national collection were organizations working to eliminate the death penalty, treating single mothers for drug and alcohol dependence, building community gardens in poor neighborhoods, and providing food, clothing, dental care, and high school to troubled youth and senior citizens.
Reading the overview of the Diocese’s plan, I was convinced this approach is precisely what is needed to end the criticism of CCHD. There’s no need to give any Catholic money to organizations which aid and abet the culture of death, in any way.
Bishop Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are leading in a positive direction. But giving up the funding for community organizers will not go over so well in many chanceries… and at the USCCB.