Why I Signed the CCHD Petition

Deal W. Hudson
February 15, 2010

I’ve been asked why I support the Reform CCHD Now petition requesting that the bishops suspend all Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants until a thorough review of the program has been completed. A series of reports by Reform CCHD have revealed clear evidence that grants are being given to organizations supporting abortion and same-sex marriage.

Thus far, only two groups have been defunded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), though another offending organization, the Center for Community Change (CCC), was scrubbed from their Web site (the section removed described it as being worthy of Catholic support).

After the first reports were published, seven dioceses withdrew their participation from the annual November CCHD collection. That collection normally generates, on average, $7-9 million each year, which means the available pool of money over the last ten years was upwards of $90 million. We know that at least some groups working counter to Church teaching on life and marriage have enjoyed access to that funding: Reform CCHD Now asserts that at least 31 problematic organizations remain.

The petition, launched on Wednesday, was made necessary by the dismissive attitude of the USCCB toward the hard evidence linking CCHD grants to organizations supporting abortion and same-sex marriage. USCCB spokeswoman Sr. Mary Ann Walsh admitted she had read only one of the two reports before she rejected their findings.

Furthermore, no subsequent comment by any bishop or USCCB official has addressed the substance of the findings. This is made all the more strange by the fact that the USCCB acted responsively after the first round of Reform CCHD Now reports last August, when they defunded two grantees.

Unfortunately, the USCCB quickly slammed the door shut on any further investigations. That didn’t stop the reform efforts, and the second round of research uncovered troubling new evidence while reconfirming the findings of the original reports.

Some have questioned the petition in light of a statement made by Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, in which he attests to the pro-life convictions of John Carr, executive director of the USCCB’s Office of Justice, Peace, and Human Development. But none of the reports contain anything about Carr’s personal convictions, only his associations.

The USCCB chose to address the portion of the reports having to do with Carr, responding to an allegation that nobody made. Thus, Father Pavone’s statement has no bearing on the Reform CCHD reports or their subsequent petition. No one is a greater defender of unborn life than Father Pavone, and no one doubts whether he would oppose the USCCB’s spending of Church money to support groups promoting abortion.

When the bishops’ conference attempted to reframe the reports’ findings around the pro-life convictions of Carr, it obscured the real issue. The discussion should be about the actions of the USCCB and the CCHD, not about the convictions of its personnel. These actions are primarily the grants that have been made for many years to groups subversive to Church teaching, but also the pattern of associations maintained by the CCHD in their efforts to address poverty.

Thus far, the research into the CCHD has uncovered enough questionable grantees in recent years to raise a red flag. As the research goes forward, more troubling evidence will very likely come to light. Why not simply step back from the grant-making, find out what went wrong, fix it, and get back to work? That’s all the petition asks, and I support it.

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.

1 comment

  1. Society does not need or want any religion’s money for healthcare or marriage or anything else. Religions need to keep their money and their opinions to themselves.

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