Catholic conservatives, liberals battle over anti-poverty funding

In the wake of criticism that the national Catholic Campaign for Human Development has financed organizations that violate church teachings, leaders of the Chicago campaign have been scouring grantees for such violations and redefining who qualifies for funds. At least three Chicago agencies funded by the national campaign are under investigation on suspicion of defying church guidelines about same-sex marriage, birth control and partisan politics. “Our goal in Chicago is … to help the poor, but it has to be from a Catholic perspective,” said Rey Flores, director of the Chicago Catholic Campaign for Human Development. But the overhaul comes too late for some conservative Catholics urging parishioners at masses this weekend to boycott the campaign’s annual collection, of which Chicago is always the nation’s largest… “A large portion of the funds go to the national collection, and we don’t know what’s going to happen there,” said Mary Anne Hackett, president of Catholic Citizens of Illinois. “They’re still giving to groups that are against teachings of the church.”