Catholics Urge Prelates to Axe Church’s Social Justice Charity Over Widespread, Gross Abuses

Petition accuses U.S. bishops’ anti-poverty program of funding abortion, homosexuality, and witchcraft

By Jules Gomes Published on June 11, 2024

Prominent Catholics are demanding the closure of the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Church, slamming it as “a highly controversial entity” that is “completely at odds with Catholic moral teaching.”

In a petition launched by the Lepanto Institute, the Catholics warn that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), has funneled millions of dollars to left-wing outfits “promoting immoral and anti-Catholic beliefs.”

The open letter addressed to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) accuses the bishops’ charity arm of siphoning “hundreds of millions of dollars” to groups inspired by hardline Marxist activist Saul Alinsky.

Despite repeated exposés by the Lepanto Institute, the USCCB has defended the CCHD as an “essential part of the Church” in its “social mission,” helping those who are “directly affected by unjust systems and structures.” 

Here’s a documentary made 7 years ago exposing CCHD’s real origins and agenda, and the acolytes of Saul Alinksy who founded it:

Funding Christ’s Enemies

The latest grants list shows that the CCHD gave $65,000 to the Fund For the City of New York, which “financially supports organizations openly promoting witchcraft, abortion and transgenderism,” the Lepanto Institute notes.

Planting Justice, an organization which supports sustainable urban agriculture, has invoked demons by name and actively promotes transgender ideologies. It received $50,000 from the CCHD during the same period.

The CCHD also contributed $35,000 to We Are Unchained, which has direct ties to abortion providers, LGBTQ+ activists, and to the Democratic Socialists of America and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the petition charged.

A favored recipient of CCHD funding is Faith in Action (FIA), which formally stood against the overturning of Roe v. Wade, promoted LGBTQ+ ideologies, and campaigned on behalf of Democrat candidates, the petition added.

FIA, with its 29 affiliate members, not only has a history of “promoting grave immorality” but endorsed abortion as a “right” and vowed to defend it, a September 2023 report from the Lepanto Institute revealed. CCHD gave a $500,000 grant to FIA in 2016, when it was still called the PICO Network (Pacific Institute for Community Organization), the report noted.

Since 2010, the Ezekiel Project, which directly promotes abortion, has received six grants from the CCHD totaling $255,000.

Plummeting Assets

According to research conducted by the Lepanto Institute, about 33% of CCHD-funded organizations are in direct violation of CCHD grant guidelines each year, the open letter emphasized.

In its review of the 2021–2022 report for CCHD grants, the research found 66 grant recipients to be in violation of CCHD guidelines and Catholic moral teaching.

Meanwhile, the CCHD, founded in 1969 as the “National Catholic Crusade Against Poverty,” is facing financial meltdown, with its net assets plummeting by over $8 million in 2022 alone, The Pillar reported in April.

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The program’s finances nosedived from $36 million in 2019 to a mere $8.5 million in 2022, as parishioners zipped up their wallets in response to negative media reporting on its scandalous spending.

The USCCB is likely to discuss the future of the CCHD at its Spring Assembly USCCB this weekend (June 12–14) as the social justice program faces questions over its financial management and ongoing viability.

The crisis in the organization peaked after its director, Ralph McCloud. resigned in April “after 16 years of working on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised,” USCCB spokesperson Chieko Noguchi confirmed.

“Since this is a personnel matter, further detail will not be discussed at this time,” she added.

Forced Contributions from Parishioners

The USCCB has challenged criticism against its social justice wing. Last year, CCHD subcommittee chairman Bishop Timothy Senior said the charity does not fund bodies that “violate the moral or social teaching of the Church.”

Senior elaborated:

CCHD takes every allegation that a group is working against Catholic values, very seriously. Catholics can be assured that any group that engages in activity contrary to Church teaching, such as promoting abortion or same-sex marriage, is ineligible for CCHD funding because this is a clear violation of the CCHD funding criteria and guidelines. Together with the local diocese, each allegation is rigorously reviewed.

The social justice entity is funded by an annual second collection from Catholics, which takes place in the second half of November during Sunday Masses in parishes across the U.S. While each diocese retains 25% of the funds for local anti-poverty programs, the USCCB receives 75% of the amount for national distribution.

“CCHD provides the Catholic faithful with concrete opportunities to live out the love of God and neighbor in ways that express our baptismal call and continuing Eucharistic transformation,” the USCCB website states.

The signatories to the petition include Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn, former naval chaplain Gene Thomas Gomulka, Catholics for Catholics CEO John Yep, liturgist Dr. Peter A. Kwasniewski, and monk-missionary Fr. David Nix.


Dr. Jules Gomes, (BA, BD, MTh, PhD), has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge. Currently a Vatican-accredited journalist based in Rome, he is the author of five books and several academic articles. Gomes lectured at Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities and was canon theologian and artistic director at Liverpool Cathedral.

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