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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) — As Catholic Charities USA welcomes a new CEO, the organization finds itself in the midst of a contentious dispute.
Catholic Charities' ostensible humanitarian efforts are being challenged by severe allegations from Republican leaders who question the charity's involvement in border operations.
Over the summer, Kerry Alys Robinson took the reins of Catholic Charities with a vision steeped in alleged unity and benevolence. In an interview with OSV News published this week, she framed the group's efforts as "noble, holy work," offering Catholic Charities as a paragon of compassion, deeply committed to service and dedicated to embodying the essence of Christian mercy.
In contrast, Michigan's GOP chair, Kristina Karamo, at a recent leadership conference, struck a dissonant chord. She cast doubts on the organization's border activities, saying, "These organizations front as Catholic charities, and they're not Catholic charities; they're actually cartel front groups," meaning the group is not operating as an authentic Catholic charity, despite the organization's official name. In fact, she pointed to a covert complicity in the border's child trafficking crisis.
But in response to such criticism, Robinson stated in the interview, "I try not to spend too much time worrying about a tiny minority of people who are critical — and their criticisms sort of baffle me."
"It is clear that it comes from a small group of people who either don't understand, or for some reason intentionally misrepresent, the work that faith-based organizations like Catholic Charities do," she added.
But contrary to Robinson's claims of a "tiny minority of people who are critical," the group of critics is more substantial and includes prominent Republican leaders in Congress, who are conducting a thorough examination of Catholic Charities' southern border operations.
Congressman Lance Gooden of Texas is particularly outspoken, echoing the concerns of this growing faction and voicing skepticism over Catholic Charities' actions amid broader immigration policies.
"Mass migration is something this country just cannot afford right now," Gooden commented. He raised concerns about the implications of the organization's involvement in national security and financial stability.
Robinson's defense of the charity's work is unwavering, focusing on what she claims is compassion and collaboration. "There is something so merciful, compassionate, and Christ-like about the staff at our agencies," she stated, providing an apparent counterpoint to the accusations leveled by GOP figures.
But Karamo brought urgency to the conversation, highlighting the risks to vulnerable populations. "If we don't protect our children, we don't deserve anything," she insisted, framing the issue as a moral imperative.
Robinson's depiction of principled work clashes with the grave accusations from Republican leaders. As the organization confronts this opposing narrative, its standing as a paragon of charity faces scrutiny amid the controversy.
Catholic Charities has not publicly responded to the growing number of allegations, leaving a gap in the public dialogue. This silence raises questions as the organization's role at the border remains under the lens of scrutiny while the public and stakeholders await clarity.
Amidst these unfolding events, the organization's commitment to its founding principles is further questioned by a faction within the Church itself.
Catholic Charities is recognized as the charitable arm of the Catholic bishops, with dioceses across the country supporting its expansive programs. However, the Deposit of Faith Coalition criticizes the bishops for engaging in political strategies to secure taxpayer funding and for ultimately aligning with the Democratic Party's objectives.
The coalition will hold a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2023, from 1–3 p.m. This event is set to coincide with the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops, aiming to bring particular attention to the bishops' stance on climate change.
The speaker lineup includes Dr. John Clauser, 2022 Nobel Prize laureate in physics; Marc Morano, founder of ClimateDepot.com; Alex Newman, an award-winning international journalist; and Michael Voris of Church Militant, an Emmy-winning investigative journalist.
They will discuss topics from the legitimacy of a climate crisis to the impact of certain environmental policies on industries and the use of religion in promoting these policies.
More information on the conference is available on the coalition's website.