Accuracy in Media

The host of a national Catholic TV talk show says that Catholic Bishops have to come clean on their funding of groups that undermine traditional values and promote radical social change.

Raymond Arroyo, host of Catholic television network EWTN’s “The World Over” program, says that the evidence indicates that groups funded by the Bishops through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) are actually “subverting” Catholic teaching on matters such as homosexual rights and abortion. He regrets that money being spent on such causes is coming at the expense of Catholic schools and hospitals facing funding shortfalls and possible closure. 

Arroyo, whose November 13 show featured  two major critics of the CCHD, is a graduate of the National Journalism Center (which also produced ACORN whistleblower Hannah Giles). He is a conservative who has a worldwide Catholic audience and can shake up the Bishops and the Vatican itself.

A regular guest on the Laura Ingraham radio show, where he comments on moral and religious issues, Arroyo has risked the wrath of the Catholic Bishops by devoting his EWTN program to exposing alleged corruption in the church. The Bishops are meeting in Baltimore this week.

An on-air caller to the EWTN show read a statement from a local Catholic Bishop claiming that EWTN is “not a good source of Catholic information” and disputing some of the allegations against the CCHD. But Arroyo shot back, quoting from an October 2 memorandum from Bishop Roger P. Morin, chairman of the CCHD, admitting that CCHD had funded groups in support of abortion rights and same-sex marriage, contrary to church teaching.

The timing of Arroyo’s show was important. The annual CCHD collection is being held in churches this coming weekend–November 21 and 22. The theme of this year’s collection is “Families are struggling. Faith is calling.”

But Arroyo wanted Catholics to know that the CCHD has been plagued by charges of mismanagement and scandal. A group called Reform CCHD Now is urging Catholics to put coupons in collection plates, rather than money, informing the Bishops that the CCHD must be thoroughly overhauled.

In a video, the American Life League (ALL) has labeled the CCHD the “Catholic Campaign for Anti-Catholic Activities.”

Arroyo noted that the evidence shows that while the bishops have been defending traditional marriage in states where it has been under attack, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is funding pro-homosexual organizations through the CCHD.

EWTN’s coverage of this controversy has to be extremely worrisome to the Bishops. If there is one thing they do not want, it is another sex-related scandal. The sex abuse scandal involving pedophilia by Catholic Priests reportedly cost the church more than $1 billion.

But in another shocking development that adds to the current controversy, a blogger at the Free Republic has uncovered a convicted child pornographer on the staff of a Baltimore group, Alternative Directions, Inc. (ADI), which has received funding from the Baltimore CCHD. The group has received additional funding from the national CCHD for an ADI project called Out for Justice.

“I really don’t want money from my church collection paying a child pornographer’s salary,” the blogger said.

Michelle Kelly of ADI said, “I don’t know,” when asked if the staffer in question had been convicted as a child pornographer. The Free Republic blogger says the staffer is a registered sex offender in Maryland because of the child pornography conviction. 

Kelly tried to differentiate between ADI and Out for Justice, even though the latter is described as a project of the former in the Fall 2008 ADI newsletter. She said Out for Justice is applying for its own separate legal status. Under further questioning, she hung up the telephone. 

On the website of the Baltimore CCHD, the groups are listed together as one entity and in receipt of $30,000. It declares, “A second year CCHD organizing grant will enable this project to continue to address and empower largely unrepresented persons inside and outside the prison system, with special attention on reentry into society.”

Out for Justice is listed as being located at the same offices as ADI.

Out for Justice is listed as the recipient of $30,000 from the national CCHD. The organization is described as former prisoners, “a largely unrepresented group in the political and social arenas.” One of their legislative goals is a bill to have the state of Maryland adopt a policy to encourage the employment of ex-convicts. Another is to deny private landlords the right to ask about the criminal background of an individual and deny housing based on that background.

Responding to this legislative priority, the Free Republic blogger, a Catholic, said he didn’t want his money going to change the law so sex offenders “can live near me or my children.”

Both Alternative Directions, Inc. and Out for Justice collaborated with the Open Society Institute, a George Soros-funded organization, on a report, Bearing Witness, from the Justice Policy Institute. The recommendations include stopping the practice of sending drug criminals to prison and developing “alternatives to incarceration.”

Another one of the contributing organizations to the report was listed as “Mayor Sheila Dixon’s Office of Criminal Justice.”

Dixon is currently on trial on charges of stealing gift cards intended for Baltimore’s needy families.

While federal funding of the corrupt organization ACORN has been the subject of much press attention, money being provided to ACORN and other controversial groups through the Catholic Church has been mostly hushed-up by major media organizations. 

But the Catholic Bishops themselves have suspended funding to ACORN, after disclosing that $7.3 million was given to the organization and its affiliates by the CCHD from 1998-2008.

It turns out that ACORN, however, is just one of several controversial “community organizing” groups that have been funded by the CCHD. Another is the Gamaliel Foundation, which originally sponsored Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer in Chicago and recently held a conference in Washington that featured Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as a speaker. Gamaliel still gets CCHD money. 

It is into this controversy that Arroyo, whose website features photographs with top Catholic officials and politicians, has stepped.

Arroyo’s guests on the program were Michael Hichborn of the American Life League (ALL) and Rob Gasper, founder of Bellarmine Veritas Ministry, which has been responsible for some of the eye-opening exposés of the CCHD. Together, they are members of the ReformCCHD now coalition.

The CCHD is said to be dedicated to fighting poverty, but Arroyo noted that it doesn’t fund any groups involved in providing direct services to the poor such as soup kitchens. Instead, the CCHD mission is said to be “to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education,” its website says.

Arroyo wondered how his guests had unearthed the shocking information about church funding of anti-Catholic causes. They replied that they simply went to the websites of the CCHD and the organizations being funded and put the information together.

Hichborn of ALL says either the CCHD is incompetent in how it awards grants and is therefore unworthy of funds or “is being run by pro-homosexual, pro-abortion socialists who got caught” and doesn’t deserve the money in that case. Either way, he concludes, “this funding must end.” 

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