The Catholic Campaign’s New Problem with Coalitions

Deal W. Hudson
November 9, 2010

When the USCCB issued its document a few weeks ago announcing the “Review and Renewal of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” I wondered aloud if the CCHD would be able to keep its promises.

As it turns out, one of the promises was broken the moment the document was published. “Review and Renewal” specifically praises and promotes the work of a grant recipient – The Coalition of Immokalee Workers – that is in violation of one of the “ethical guidelines for CCHD”:

CCHD funds cannot go to groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.

According to research published last week by Reform CCHD Now, the Coalition for Immokalee Workers belongs not just to one, but to several coalitions that support abortion rights and other positions at odds with the Catholic Church.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), located near Naples, Florida, is a workers’-rights organization that fights on behalf of low-wage immigrant labor for fair wages and better housing as well as against human trafficking.

However, the coalition’s work on behalf of migrant workers had led the coalition to align themselves formally with the U.S. Human Rights Network and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative.

These two groups have “agenda[s], positions, or actions that contradict Catholic moral and social teachings,” thus disqualifying CIW from receiving a CCHD grant.

The Website of the U.S. Human Rights Network contains a number of pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality links (a full list is available at Reform CCHD Now.) This document specifically promotes abortion rights for Latina women.

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative published this document titled “Examining New Frameworks: The Right to Reproductive Health.”

A question had already been raised about CIW when I noted their participation in June’s U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. While a presence at this conference was not in itself in violation of CCHD ethical guidelines, it should have been a red flag to the CCHD, as it was for Reform CCHD researchers, who did a little more research on CIW and discovered its membership in the two pro-abortion, pro-homosexual organizations.

This information was not that hard to find, according to the researchers. All it required was an Internet search of CIW, determining its membership in various coalitions, and reading the materials provided at the Web sites of those coalitions.

Either this level of vetting is not presently being done by CCHD, or its own ethical guidelines regarding offending coalitions has yet to be enforced. Clearly, the CCHD did not properly vet the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, or it would not have been singled out for praise in the “Renewal and Revision” document.

The document contained several references to “moral theologians” who have been contacted to advise the CCHD on the problems of coalitions. Is this really necessary? Shouldn’t Catholic common sense be our guide? Or is the CCHD attempting to articulate a “remote cooperation” argument that allows grant recipients to remain coalition partners of some indeterminate kind?

The 2010 list of CCHD grantees have yet to be published, but the CCHD is going ahead with its annual November collection in a few weeks. What’s the rush? Wouldn’t it be preferable if the bishops postponed the collection until vetting mistakes like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers were eliminated? To delay the collection would signal that the USCCB is determined to fulfill the promises made in its “Renewal and Revision” document.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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