More Disturbing News about the CCHD

Deal W. Hudson
February 2, 2010

More startling evidence has been unearthed about the Catholic Campaign for Human development that shows a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups that advocate abortion and same-sex marriage.

Two reports, released yesterday by the American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM), reveal that the Center for Community Change (CCC), an organization recommended for support by the USCCB, has consistently taken positions opposed to the bishops’ teachings on abortion, marriage, contraception, and sexuality.

Our bishops tell us to “lend our support” to CCC. Here is only a partial list of what these reports have revealed about the Center for Community Change:

    1. CCC’s executive director, Deepak Bhargava, states that they are fighting for “lifting restrictions on women’s access to health services.” (Bhargava was also a featured speaker hosted by the USCCB at a three-day conference.)


    1. CCC joined the “Stop Stupak” coalition through its “Campaign for Community Change” arm, explaining, “Of course, no issue is more critical to women’s economic opportunity than the ability to choose when and under what personal circumstances to raise children.”


    1. CCC is a member of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR). NCIWR requires all members to sign an agreement supporting, among other things, “Reproductive health care coverage financed through public funds provided to all immigrant women regardless of legal and economic status,” as well as “equitable access to confidential and non-coercive family planning services and contraceptive equity.”


    1. Sean Thomas-Brietfield, Director of CCC’s Taproots Project, wrote an article promoting consensual “polyamory,” or “relationships where there is no expectation of fidelity.”


    1. CCC developed leaders for same-sex marriage advocates and homosexual activists through its Generation Change program. In 2008, CCC received a $50,000 grant for leadership training from one of the chief funders of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) causes, the Gill Foundation.


  1. Ralph McCloud, the current Director of the CCHD, participated in a December 2008 event cosponsored by CCC and the Gamaliel Foundation, “Realizing the Promise Forum,” celebrating the election of Barack Obama. McCloud is reported to have proclaimed, “Very soon we will see a New Jerusalem.” The conference video suggests the CCC is engaged in “partisan political activity” in violation of the CCHD grant guidelines.

This is the second round of incriminating evidence presented by ALL and BVM about the CCC. Three months ago, they issued a press release and supporting research regarding 31 CCHD grantees with a relationship to CCC – all of which was ignored by the USCCB.

As ALL’s Michael Hichborn points out, these reports have “revealed no less than fifty organizations (one-fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) that are, in some capacity, engaged in pro-abortion or pro-homosexual causes ( The sad thing, however, is that these recent revelations manifest a pattern of cooperation stretching back for decades.”

These latest findings make it impossible for the USCCB not to sever its ties with the CCC. However, the situation is made more difficult by the news that John Carr – who oversees the CCHD as the USCCB’s Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development – served on the CCC board from 1999 to 2006 and on its executive committee from 1999 to 2001. Carr was hired by the USCCB in 1987, but his involvement with the CCC goes back to 1983.

ALL research shows that in 2000, while Carr served on its executive committee, CCC itself received a $150,000 grant from the USCCB. Carr’s resume at the USCCB Web site does not mention his service at the CCC, while other published versions of his resume do.

As Hichborn comments, “The omission is odd and, given the new information, quite suspicious.” Hichborn also thinks the “cozy relationship” between Carr and the CCC may be the reason the USCCB did not respond to the troublesome findings published last November. The ties between CCC and the USCCB remained close after Carr left the board. (Tom Chabolla, Carr’s associate director at the USCCB, replaced him.)

In response to these reports, Carr issued a statement to Our Sunday Visitor, explaining, “I left the board of the Center for Community Change in February of 2005, and I had no involvement in or knowledge of the actions alleged in the press release.”

Carr does not deny the charges but claims to have no knowledge of them, including the one that alleges CCC’s partisan activity. But one speech Carr gave mentioned being in a CCC board meeting with a John Kerry campaign strategist who started his political views quite plainly:

I remember being told on a board meeting for the Center for Community Change. One of the Kerry strategists, who shall remain nameless, that the strategy was to go after singles, seculars, and gays. And my reaction was, that’s a great way to carry Berkeley and midtown Manhattan. It’s not a way to win Ohio.

The overwhelming evidence about CCC’s positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception make it difficult to believe that Carr was, after six years on its board, unaware of these attitudes among CCC staff.

Rob Gaspar, the founder of BVM, summarizes the issue facing the USCCB:

While it may seem that the interests of the Church and the CCC intersect on several important issues such as health-care and immigration reform, a cursory examination shows that Church social teaching and the CCC’s guiding principles are, in fact, two separate roads leading to fundamentally different destinations.

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