Become an informed Catholic. Click here to join the fight.
Following the publication of our most recent report on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's (CCHD) series of grants to a San Francisco-based organization called the Coalition on Homelessness (COH), critics have come to the defense of the CCHD and these grants. Some of the defenses pertain to the nature of the grant itself, asking what the grant was for and if Catholic money was given toward the immoral activities of COH.
Others have pointed to the editorial disclaimer of COH's publication, Street Sheet, which indicates that the publication carries articles submitted by homeless people and the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of COH. Some have asked if the Lepanto Institute contacted the CCHD prior to publication.
In order to set the record straight, we will address each of these concerns here. But first, it is important to summarize the problems we discovered regarding COH. In short:
What follows is an amalgam of criticisms offered in defense of the CCHD and of COH — and our responses to those criticisms.
Criticism no. 1: COH's publication, Street Sheet, is written by homeless people and does not reflect the views of COH.
Our Response: The Street Sheet editorial policy states:
Articles by people who are not Coalition (meaning Coalition on Homelessness) staff members, or extremely personal articles, usually receive a byline. These articles do not necessarily represent the views of the Coalition: The Street Sheet aims to provide a forum for voices which are not commonly heard.
The disclaimer is irrelevant. The publication belongs to the coalition, and it is distributed by the coalition. The publication contains material gravely offensive to Catholic moral teaching, ergo, because the publication is owned, produced and distributed by the Coalition on Homelessness, it is then is guilty of spreading material gravely offensive to Catholic moral teaching.
But the Street Sheet publication is not the only source of guilt for the Coalition on Homelessness. Bear in mind that COH lauded a blasphemous image of Our Lady as a "trans woman" on social media. This image bore a blasphemous "prayer" which beseeches "our Lady" to "grant all transwomen … safe love." It claims that "our Lady" launched "the movement for LGBTQ freedom." COH itself sold this image as a part of a fundraiser for its organization. This act alone is enough to condemn COH.
COH also announced its support for the "Trans March of Resilience" on social media. Multiple other images from that march make it clear that COH participated in the march itself. This was not an act that falls under the editorial disclaimer, this was something COH did of its own accord.
COH also depicted a decapitated effigy of Donald Trump on social media — again, something COH itself did.
All of these actions are in direct violation of the CCHD's own grant guidelines. Here is what the guidelines specifically state:
Applicant organizations must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church and must in no way work against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' priorities to defend human life and dignity, strengthen family life and the institution of marriage, and foster diversity. For example, applicant organizations that support or promote same-sex marriage, discrimination, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, or punitive measures towards immigrants are not eligible for CCHD funding.
Organizations that receive CCHD funds may not participate or intervene in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office.
COH's publication of articles promoting homosexuality, transgenderism, Planned Parenthood, contraception and legalized prostitution are all violations of the guideline regarding "activities that contradict moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church."
On June 15, 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. The COH's post of a decapitated Trump effigy was done on Oct. 29, 2015, which is in direct violation of the CCHD guideline regarding candidates for public office.
Criticism no. 2: COH's website doesn't indicate any sort of support for immorality.
Our Response: The website of the coalition is merely one source of information. Other sources of information include the leaders of the organization (and their public statements, articles and comments on social media), through their publications that are not contained on their primary website and through the organization's own social media postings.
Just because the coalition's primary website does not contain anything of particular concern, this doesn't mean that such concerns do not exist and that the organization is functioning in a right and moral manner. COH's publication, Street Sheet, contains articles and promotions in direct conflict with Catholic morality, and they are posted on COH's secondary website for Street Sheet.
But claiming that because the damning information isn't found on their primary website means they can't be held responsible for promoting immorality through other means would be like saying that a video store that sells pornography through local distribution is not guilty of selling pornography simply because such does not appear on their website. Such a suggestion falls under the logical fallacy category of what is known as a false dilemma.
Criticism no. 3: The CCHD's grants are specific to certain programs and are not intended for the other immoral activities of the organization.
Our Response: As we've already pointed out, this is a moot point, considering this is a violation of CCHD guidelines. But even if the guidelines were not in place, Catholics couldn't morally contribute to such an organization knowing about these things because to do so would make the donor complicit in these same wicked acts. According to Catholic moral theology, there are nine ways that one participates in the sin of another, and COH is guilty of at least three of those nine ways.
Criticism no. 4: Did the Lepanto Institute even bother contacting the CCHD before publishing their report?
Our Response: I have personally met with the leadership of the CCHD several times in the course of my investigations, showing page after page of detailed proofs that CCHD grantees were in gross violation of CCHD grant guidelines and Catholic moral teaching. Not only were these presentations usually routinely ignored, but it didn't take long to realize that informing the CCHD of our findings was usually tantamount to tipping off the grantee, who then would proceed to delete the evidence from their websites.
In the fall of 2012, I was scheduled to meet with Ralph McCloud, the executive director for the CCHD, and he canceled the meeting just before it was to take place. This cancellation happened very shortly after I provided McCloud with information proving that one of the CCHD's most favored networks called Gamaliel had lied directly to the CCHD about its involvement with a coalition that promoted same-sex "marriage." McCloud's only stated reason for canceling the meeting was, "We see no reason to meet at this time."
So, due to the fact that the CCHD has cut off all communication with me regarding our investigations into CCHD grantees, we no longer feel any obligation to provide them with information prior to the release of our reports.
Given what we have discovered about this organization, there is no way it should ever have received a grant from the CCHD, either according to Catholic moral teaching or by the CCHD's own grant guidelines themselves. There is no defense for the things the Coalition on Homelessness is doing and the CCHD should not only be thoroughly investigated for so grossly misappropriating Catholic funds, but it should be ended entirely.
Ever since the early 1980s, stalwart journalists have been tracking the iniquitous activities of organizations receiving funding from the CCHD, and the CCHD has made absolutely no effort to stop funding these vile groups. In fact, CCHD has continuously doubled down in their support of these organizations, providing them cover and further funding with reckless abandon. It is simply time to end the CCHD. During this time of deep crisis in the Church, She simply cannot afford to maintain this debacle any longer.