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CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archdiocese of Chicago has partnered with Democrats to push leftist immigration reform.
Starting on July 10 and running for four days, the archdiocese of Chicago, led by Cdl. Blase Cupich, will be training representatives from 13 dioceses at the Catholic Theological Union on how to start parish-based immigration ministries. The goal of the event is "forming a nation-wide network."
The annual training event, Instituto Pastoral Migratoria, is conducted by Cupich's own immigration ministry called Pastoral Migratoria. Started in 2008, it's overseen by the archdiocese's Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity — the same office that runs the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services programs, both scandal-ridden agencies caught helping outfits that distribute contraception or promote LGBT advocacy.
A press release announcing the annual training event notes that the Instituto "was created as a result of the failure of comprehensive immigration reform."
Church Militant spoke with Kathleen Sullivan, a long-time pro-life advocate who formerly worked with the archdiocese of Chicago during the 1970s and 1980s. Sullivan and Mary Kraychy co-founded Catholics for Responsible Action to be a voice for the unborn in the face of the silence of the bishop.
She attempted to work with Cdl. Joseph Bernardin, former head of the archdiocese of Chicago, during his tenure to develop an archdiocesan-wide pro-life ministry, but he rejected her proposal partly on the grounds that "it was not set in the context of the broad range of life issues" — his seamless garment theory.
Sullivan and the group were critical of the bishops' inaction, and that criticism led to Cdl. Bernardin refusing to allow Catholics for Responsible Action access to parishes to develop a cohesive network or for fundraising.
She learned the pro-life budget for the whole archdiocese went from $41,000 to $92,000 in the 11 years after Roe v. Wade, the equivalent of around $200,000 today.
Cardinal Cupich projected the archdiocese's immigration ministry would top more than $500,000 in expenses in 2018.
"It is what they did not do," Sullivan explained. "Sixty-one million abortions later and the Catholic Church doesn't run a real pro-life operation."
Sullivan's work in pro-life ministry encompassed the development of an abstinence education program, and all of her work has been done without the support of a national collection from the bishops. Cardinal Bernardin, as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Pro-Life Committee, refused to bring up at the November meeting of all the bishops.
"The agenda for that meeting is already set," Cdl. Bernardin wrote. "There is a process which must be followed in developing agenda items for consideration."
According to annual review reports, the archdiocese of Chicago provides almost 20% of the operating budget for the Immigration Ministry, and the rest comes from donations.
About 29% of the funds for the program are donated by liberal religious orders that push social justice and leftist causes. Sullivan said she suspects these religious orders are "just pass-throughs" for some of the half-billion in taxpayer dollars the USCCB receives each year.
In 2016, the USCCB, under the umbrellas of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities, received more than $600 million in federal funding — well over half the total budget. The majority of this money is used for immigration programs.
In 2018, the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization was listed as a donor to Cdl. Cupich's program. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, this committee is a political party with the stated purpose to "[a]dvance the agenda of the regular democratic party of the 25th Ward."
Another long-time donor to the archdiocese of Chicago is the Blue Foundation, also with ties to the Democratic Party. Established as a program by Ancora Associates, the main purpose of the Blue Foundation is to provide education grants to high school students.
Ancora Associates was founded by Clare Muñana in 1987 as a management consulting firm and has assets over $3 million. Muñana is also a trustee for the Aspen Institute and a board member for the Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII), a non-profit that offers "finance and technical assistance programs" in the Middle East and North Africa.
The overarching goals of Pastoral Migratoria are, in their words, education, advocacy, accompaniment and empowerment.
At the parish level, it is marketed as an "immigrant to immigrant" ministry. Lay leaders and pastors in the immigrant community are trained to start programs to help educate "native-born congregations" and pass out "calls of actions" for immigration advocacy each month.
These action alerts are printed and distributed by the parishes to support immigration reform initiatives such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the DREAM Act, Temporary Protected Status and other "immigration justice issues" such as ending the policy of separating children and families.
Some of these lay volunteers also lobby their representatives for immigration reform and Medicaid expansions for immigrants.
The archdiocese of Chicago's immigration ministry brochure notes that they helped 1,850 voters register last year and "5 congressional visits were organized where [Pastoral Migratoria] leaders visited their state and federal representatives in support of DACA and immigration reform."
"This is evidence of the Church being part and parcel of a political party," Sullivan said, adding, "they really operate as an arm of the Democratic machine."
After nearly a decade in operation, Cdl. Cupich's immigration ministry program went national. Their 2015 Annual Review notes that they "[c]ompleted a detailed business plan that provides a road map for a multi-year rollout of a Pastoral Migratoria national expansion pilot to new cities, dioceses and parish sites."
Cardinal Cupich's immigration program expansion mirrors the Democratic Party's immigration hot spots.
The diocese of Stockton, California, and Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, were two of the first to start programs and will be attending the Institutio this year.
Other dioceses in immigration hot spots attending this year are Fresno and Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; New York; Richmond, Virginia; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Cloud, Minnesota; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Washington, D.C.
The USCCB is also sending representation.
Church Militant spoke with an archdiocesan representative who didn't want to be named, who said the main purpose of the program is to meet the spiritual and corporal needs of the immigrant community to "bring them into the community of the parish."
According to the representative, 150 out of 340 Chicago parishes have Mass in Spanish. Another 30–35 parishes have Mass in Polish. Chicago has the largest population of immigrants from Poland in the United States.
Along with the English-speaking immigration programs, these three groups receive the majority of their support from Pastoral Migratoria.
This illustrates the fall-off of the faith in the United States. While the Catholic population is still hovering around 20%, immigration from Hispanic countries, the majority of them Catholic, is propping up the numbers in the pews. The numbers of white Catholics of European descent has fallen to 13%.
The sex abuse scandal and the lack of substantive theology have driven Catholics from the Faith, dropping the number of native U.S. Catholics from one in four to fewer than one in eight.
Some speculate that the motive for bringing immigrants into the Church has less to do with the Faith and more to do with the financials.
Church Militant learned that Pastoral Migratoria does not provide financial support to the parishes for local ministry. Instead, they are funded by parishioner's donations and grants from other "partner" organizations of the archdiocese, like Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
The support programs at the parish level are at the discretion of the pastor and lay leaders and can include workshops, legal help, food, clothing or housing.
Pointing to the partner organizations, the archdiocesan representative explained those groups run the various workshops, e.g., Alzheimer's workshop, workers' rights workshops with the help of local labor unions and voter registration workshops, adding, "Non-partisan, obviously."
The list of collaborators, partner organizations and donor organizations that work with Pastoral Migratoria include myriad social justice religious organizations and groups. One advertised support for "LGBT justice" and another claimed to be a "progressive Catholic social justice organization that works to dismantle exploitative systems of power."
In the 1980s, Sullivan said she developed conferences designed to define the role of women in the Church "in order to counter the running away from religious life from the liberal nuns." She added, "Those nuns working for bad bishops are part of the exodus plan from the true Church."
Pastoral Migratoria also works with the Center for Migration Studies of New York. That organization is headed by the bishop of Brooklyn, Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio. In 2016, Democrat Assemblywoman Margaret Markey accused Bp. DiMarzio of attempting to bribe her.
Markey claimed Bp. DiMarzio offered her $5,000 in hush money in exchange for withdrawing her support for proposed reforms to state law concerning the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. Markey was a vocal proponent of those reforms for nearly a decade.
The Instituto Pastoral Migratoria will be held from July 10–14 at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.