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PARTLOW, Va. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new report reveals Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops' charitable arm, has been supporting the anti-Catholic, anti-life efforts of the international Culture of Death.
Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, has been uncovering what Catholics' contributions, and the U.S. bishops, have been supporting through CRS. In a fourth major report on the work of CRS, Hichborn has discovered and revealed a referral network in Nigeria that included organizations that distribute contraception and promote abortion. At least two of these organizations were directly associated with Planned Parenthood.
On CRS's web page on Catholic identity, it speaks of the "Catholic Values of CRS." In doing its work, CRS states, it participates and partners with many other organizations. These groups, its website explains, consist of "governments, other faith communities and secular institutions." This disclaimer follows:
To reach all those who need our help, we also participate in humanitarian initiatives undertaken by a wide range of groups. ... Although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS' association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching.
Hichborn calls this statement disingenuous. "First of all," he informed Church Militant, "CRS's claim that some positions and practices of organizations that CRS partners with are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching is both disingenuous and intellectually dishonest." Hichborn continues, "The truth is, these groups are fighting against Catholic teaching, and CRS knows this."
CRS publications cited in the report show that CRS directly vetted and approved civil service organizations (CSOs) that were included in the USAID-funded Sustainable Mechanisms for Improving Livelihoods and Household Empowerment (SMILE) project. On the CRS-SMILE website, Family Health Care Foundation (FAHCI) is listed as one of the CSOs and recognized for its work in "reproductive health," which is a euphemism for contraception and/or abortion services. According to FAHCI's annual reports, FACHI was receiving grant money from Planned Parenthood Global to promote injectable contraception, and did so in the same locations FAHCI was conducting its work in the SMILE project.
Other CSOs identified by CRS as having participated in the SMILE project also promote and distribute contraception and condoms. These include Girls Power Initiative, Teens and Youth Empowerment, and Lift Up Care Foundation.
"Even one of CRS's consortium partners on the SMILE project, ActionAid, flagrantly boasted its support for abortion and distribution of contraception," Hichborn told Church Militant. "And despite ActionAid's virulent support for killing children in the womb, Catholic Relief Services put it in charge of the CSOs," he said.
On a document linked to the ActionAid website, the organization revealed some of its core values:
Step 3: Full and meaningful participation of civil society — including womxn's rights organizations, feminist collectives, labor unions, young people's, LGBTQIA+ and other social movements, womxn human rights defenders and experts — particularly those representing marginalized groups, is fundamental and should be supported, by all states and by the Chair of the negotiation process.
Under this statement, the following footnote was added: "Although to the untrained eye this might seem like a typo, we purposefully use 'womxn' throughout this article to make an effort to use inclusive language. Womxn is a definition that explicitly does not only include cis-women. This is in order to underscore inclusivity and intersectionality and to stress that the disproportionate impacts of business activities do not only impact women but all people subjected to intersecting forms of discrimination."
"CRS's recent claim that it works with organizations that 'don't agree with Catholic teaching' is as disgusting as it is dishonest," repeated Hichborn. "These organizations don't just 'disagree' with Catholic teaching, they actively and viciously attack the lives of preborn children and human sexuality."
Calling its partners "as physically and spiritually deadly as Planned Parenthood," Hichborn sees no need for CRS to cover up its relationship with these organizations. "Given how committed these organizations are to abortion and contraception, CRS may as well have just included Planned Parenthood in the project and put it in charge of the networked CSOs," Hichborn proclaimed, "because these groups are really no different."
Recently, Church Militant dedicated one of its premium shows, The Download, to this investigation by the Lepanto Institute. The principle of double-effect was discussed as a possible rationale of the U.S. bishops to partner with these pro-contraception/abortion groups. Focusing on the fourth criteria of the principle, and citing infallible Church teaching on human life and the natural law, Download panelists clarified that the good effect (helping the poor) in cooperating with these groups is not proportionate to the unintended bad effect (contraception and abortion), and hence should not be used as a justification.
You can view the fourth part of Lepanto's investigation into CRS here.