Sunday, November 14, 2010
Politics divide U.S. Catholic bishops ahead of meeting
A short article from CNN on the USCCB:
The nation’s bitter political divisions are driving a wedge between some of the most powerful leaders in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church, according to the Religion News Service.
RNS writer Daniel Burke says several U.S. Catholic bishops charge that their church’s “flagship” anti-poverty program funds left-wing activists who subvert church doctrine on homosexuality and abortion.
The poverty program is called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The program has donated $290 million to groups combating poverty during the last four decades, according to RNS.
But the program has also attracted fierce church critics who are suspicious of anything that “sniffs of socialism,” the RNS article said.
Some of these critics have formed a coalition called “Reform the CCHD Now.” The coalition accuses some of the groups receiving CCHD funding of actions “antithetical to church teaching,” the RNS said.
At least 10 bishops have stopped CCHD collections in their diocese.
Michael Hichborn, a CCHD Now spokesman, said the church’s anti-poverty program was “philosophically flawed right from the outset”:
It never addresses sin as the root cause of poverty, which means it never addresses Christ as a remedy.
The ideological battle could move to the U.S. bishop’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland next week (Nov. 15-18), when CCHD officials will present a list of reforms to preserve the anti-poverty programs’ Catholic identity.
The RNS article raised two broad questions:
Is partisan politics playing of a role in the bishops' tussle over the church’s poverty program?
Should the church program identify sin as the root cause of poverty, and Christ as the remedy?