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?


Anonymous said...

Should the Church identify sin as the source of poverty and Christ as the answer? Yes, but a common and proper understanding of poverty must be reached. From that it can be understood that building wealth is Christ like.


Gene said...

I would be more comfortable specifying that poverty is a result of living in a fallen, sinful world. Simply stating that sin is the cause of poverty implies that the poor individual is being punished for his sins (which may or may not be the case). Poverty being the consequence of a fallen world, all of us, rich and poor, bear the shame and responsibility to some extent. I am talking about collective guilt here, not individual guilt, although there are certainly greedy, selfish people who do not do their share of giving and serving.