Catholic Relief Services

Michael Hichborn 2By Michael Hichborn, Lepanto Institute

In a week that could only be described as interesting, Catholic Relief Services issued a series of rebuttals to our latest Lepanto Institute Report.

…before it had even been issued.

Remarkably, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Archbishop Coakley released a secret memo in late September with similarly-worded form letters from Kenyan and Congolese officials rebutting whatever potential claims our latest CRS documents would entail.

What is particularly alarming here is that CRS, through Archbishop Coakley’s offices, orchestrated a pre-gamed response to our Lepanto Report (which focused on problems in the Congo, not in Kenya — more on that later).

Thankfully, the report is shocking a good number of organizations and individuals into action, including Human Life International and the African Organization for Families.

But what is alarming in this instance is the “pay no attention to the scandal behind the curtain!” approach taken by CRS and its (dwindling) defenders.  The excuses we hear today are the same excuses that we heard last year, and the year before that, and the year before that… at some point, it gets worn and old.

At some point, the question needs to be raised as to whether or not CRS and other purportedly Catholic organizations are going to be adhering to Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio “On The Service of Charity” — or are they not?

Will there be an independent review board of the USCCB with observers from organizations such as Human Life International to investigate and set new standards for how Catholic organizations should interact with government grants?

More importantly, when the “reset” button is pressed and we move forward, how will the bureaucrats guarantee to both the Catholic bishops and the lay faithful that their work will not just stop working at cross purposes with the Magisterium, but will faithfully uphold our duties to the Deposit of Truth and Faith?

Will we see an end to formal co-operation with evil?  Will we see a leveling of staff at places such as CRS where the full spectrum of Catholicity is represented (and not just the self-identified progressive fringe)?

At what point do we arrive at an “authentic Catholicism” in the public square, as Archbishop Chaput has so forcefully advocated for in Render Unto Caesar — neither politically conservative or liberal much less held in thrall to the secular religions of political ideologies at all — but truly Catholic voices in the public square?

We’ve written about Pope Benedict XVI’s 2012 motu proprio before, but just in case, here it is again:

Art. 10. – 3. In particular, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that charitable agencies dependent upon him do not receive financial support from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to Church’s teaching. Similarly, lest scandal be given to the faithful, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that these charitable agencies do not accept contributions for initiatives whose ends, or the means used to pursue them, are not in conformity with the Church’s teaching.

Art. 11. – The diocesan Bishop is obliged, if necessary, to make known to the faithful the fact that the activity of a particular charitable agency is no longer being carried out in conformity with the Church’s teaching, and then to prohibit that agency from using the name “Catholic” and to take the necessary measures should personal responsibilities emerge.

This is not a high bar to jump.  This is the Catholic Faith.

This is so important because organizations and individuals who are fiercely opposed to the Catholic Faith have infiltrated the social structures of the Church.  No one person best exemplifies this spirit than the late Saul Alinsky.

EWTN just aired a remarkable and illustrative documentary on his life and his influence on the Catholic Church and our social institutions entitled A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, a film that goes through Alinsky’s aims, efforts, and more concerning what Alinsky managed to accomplish not only during his lifetime but beyond.

I strongly encourages you to take a moment and watch it on EWTN at your earliest opportunity.  Click here for a schedule of times when it will appear next on EWTN, and if you really can’t wait, you can rent it for $4.99 on Vimeo by clicking here:

While the conclusion could have been a little stronger, one thing is certain: The “smoke of Satan,” as observed by Pope Paul VI, is currently choking every bureaucracy and charity in the institutional Church.

This above all else is why we MUST pray for our religious, our priests, our bishops, and for the Holy Father.  The Catholic Church is under attack as never before — both from without as well as within.  So, while our bishops and priests owe it to us, in justice, to lead us to Christ and salvation, we owe it to them, also in justice, to pray and fast on their behalf.  Should we fail to pray and fast for them, how can we ever expect them to have the strength and wisdom to lead us as they are called to do?

In short, it is a call for authenticity and holiness, one worthy of the name Catholic.