At the beginning of Lent, the Lepanto Institute published an article titled “Fighting Poverty by Eliminating Children,” spotlighting some of Catholic Relief Services’ more egregious grants and partnerships. In re-examining CRS’s dealings, it was necessary to re-visit the false rhetoric CRS has employed, attempting to justify what it is doing. Shortly after publishing this article, Archbishop Coakley, CRS’s chairman, sent a letter to all bishops in the country. In the opening line of this letter, Archbishop Coakley said, “On Wednesday, Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute launched a malicious attack against Catholic Relief Services …” He went on to say:
Every misleading message included in the latest Lepanto posting has been thoroughly reviewed by CRS staff, as well as bishops and moral theologians. So it is disappointing and disturbing that this group continues to repeat the same discredited claims and mislead the faithful in an attempt to breed discontent and distract from the wonderful work Catholics are accomplishing around the world.
The root of the word “malicious” is “mal,” meaning “evil,” so the word “malicious” means a deliberate attempt to inflict evil or harm. By using this word, Archbishop Coakley is claiming that the article was written with evil intentions. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Archbishop Coakley’s letter also mentions being disappointed and disturbed that the Lepanto Institute “continues to repeat the same discredited claims.”
What His Excellency seems to be wondering is why we continue to conduct investigations into CRS while revisiting the issues mentioned in the article, “Fighting Poverty by Eliminating Children.” So, in order to clarify the matter, we will address this very question.
The truth is, our sole desire is to see Catholic charitable organizations such as CRS stop aiding and abetting the enemies of Christ, the Church, babies and the poor. Should CRS refuse to provide such terrible organizations with money, resources and the good name of the Catholic Church, we would have little complaint. But instead of finding any shame in providing tens of millions of dollars to organizations that work to directly push abortion and contraception on the poor, CRS doubles down on its support and complains when we continue to shine a spotlight on this grave concern.
The Code of Canon Law 212, paragraph 3, in discussing the concerns of the Christian faithful, says:
According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
Since CRS continues to provide funding and a clean image to organizations committing abortion, performing sterilization and distributing contraception, and since its justifications are completely unsatisfactory, we will continue to investigate and present this information to the faithful.
Over the last few weeks, we have spotlighted several such organizations, and today, we will address three more: CARE International, Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA) and ACDI/VOCA. Very briefly, we will summarize some of the problems with each.
In 2012, LifeSiteNews.com published an article regarding CRS’s $5.3 million grant to CARE International. In 2013, LifeSiteNews.com reported that the following year, CRS increased its grant to CARE International to $13.8 million. In 2013, CRS gave CARE $7.8 million, and in 2014, CRS gave CARE $4.6 million. All told, over a four-year period, CRS funneled $31.5 million into CARE’s bank accounts. That’s not a small sum of money.
The problem is that CARE International promotes and distributes all forms of contraceptives (including abortifacients), advocates for the decriminalization of abortion, promotes deviant sexuality, and is partnered with Marie Stopes International and Planned Parenthood for family planning projects.
In 2015, CARE joined Catholics for Choice and Planned Parenthood in signing a letter to congress asking for $1 billion to be allocated to contraception programs for international development and assistance programs.
In 2012, CARE produced a document titled, “Learning, Sharing, Adapting: Innovations in Maternal Health Programming,” wherein it outlined it’s distribution of various forms of contraception. Describing its Uzazi Bora Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, CARE’s document states:
CARE and the BCZ [Bureau Central de Zone] promoted a technical package of five crucial SRMH [Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health] services:
Family Planning (FP): All health facilities in Kasongo offered short-term methods (male and female condoms, oral contraceptives and injectables) and, as needed, referrals to the four facilities that offered long-term and permanent methods — implants, IUDs, tubal ligation and vasectomy. Emergency contraception was available, most often dispensed in post-gender-based violence (GBV) care.
In 2013, CARE actually partnered up with an affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). In addition to ending restrictions on IUDs and other implantable contraceptives, this collaborative effort convinced the nation of Chad to sanction permanent sterilization, such as through vasectomies and tubal ligations.
Our full and more detailed report on CARE International can be read here: //lepantoin.org/care-international/
Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA)
From the fiscal years 2012-2014, CRS gave grants to ADRA in the amounts of:
That’s a total of $5 million in just three years.
The problem with ADRA is that it works to increase the use of artificial contraception, and distributes them as well.
For example, in a 2013 article by the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), ADRA is identified specifically as a Faith Based Organization (FBO) that works to expand access to contraception. The Guttmacher article explains that ADRA specifically links its birth-control promoting efforts to its efforts in fighting poverty and other development areas as well:
Some FBOs link their support for family planning to their larger agenda to support global antipoverty, education, health, sanitation and other development programs. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), for example, believes that “health is at the very core of much of the world’s poverty and suffering” and that family planning is an integral component of alleviating that suffering.
In 2008, a handbook produced by an organization called FHI360 explained ADRA’s part in the distribution of injectable contraception in Madagascar. The introduction to the handbook explains:
This handbook describes how to introduce injectable contraceptives to the suite of family planning services offered in an existing community-based distribution (CBD) program. The approach is based on the experiences of two recent pilot projects in Uganda and Madagascar. These countries were chosen because of a dire need for family planning services, the existence of established CBD programs, and the willingness of their governments to adopt this method of providing injectable contraceptives.
The pilot project in Madagascar began in 2006 in the regions of Anosy and Alaotra Mangoro. The project was sponsored by FHI and Madagascar’s Ministry of Health and Family Planning, in collaboration with SantéNet, Population Services International (PSI), the Adventist Development Relief Association (ADRA), and Action Santé Organization Secours (ASOS).
Page 38 of the handbook explains how ADRA helped contraception distributors get started and how it made sure the village chief was made aware of his new ability to provide Depo-Provera, the injectiable contraceptive.
Our full and more detailed report on ADRA can be found here: //lepantoin.org/adventist-relief-agency/
From the fiscal years 2012-2014, CRS gave grants to ACDI/VOCA in the amounts of:
- 2014 – 259,927
- 2013 – 1,847,970
- 2012 – 2,649,565
That comes to $4,757,462 in three years.
The problem with ACDI/VOCA is that it works to increase the use of modern contraceptives, refers and councils for greater use of contraception, distributes condoms and lobbies for the availability of surgical sterilization in third world countries.
In 2002, ACDI/VOCA launched the USAID-funded Enhanced and Rapid Improvement of Community Health (EnRICH) project in the Philippines, with the goal of increasing the use of contraception. It should be noted that ADRA was working to increase the use of contraception, despite the strong religious opposition to it in that area.
In a 2011 posting on the ACDI/VOCA website, it explains how its SHIELD program in the Philippines facilitated the commission of 36 tubal ligations.
ACDI/VOCA uses the access it has to rural farming communities to work with other organizations for the express purpose of increasing the use and distribution of condoms. In this 2004 newsletter, ACDI/VOCA explains how it collaborated with DKT International to indoctrinate over 340,000 farmers in Ethiopia on the use of condoms. The newsletter explains:
DKT International, a well-known social marketing organization that has been working in Ethiopia for over a decade, has struggled to increase the number of Ethiopians who use condoms. While DKT possesses extensive experience in HIV/AIDS training, ACDI/VOCA has access to hundreds of thousands of rural farming families through a network of agricultural cooperatives. In 2003, these complementary strengths led to the establishment of a highly successful partnership.
Because of this collaborative effort, ACDI/VOCA’s newsletter explains:
Along with information on the transmission and impact of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, participants discussed risky behaviors, HIV infections in their home communities, and perceptions of condom use. Trainers also spent two hours discussing the issues surrounding condoms and demonstrated their proper use. A total of 343,022 farmers have received training in HIV/AIDS, and follow-on trainings are planned for 2004 to ensure continuation of this community education campaign.
Our full and more detailed report on ADRA can be found here: //lepantoin.org/acdivoca/
All told, the amounts CRS has given to CARE, ADRA and ACDI/VOCA from 2011-2014 totals $41.26 million. Folks, that’s money going to organizations that view children and Catholic teaching on sexuality and the family with contempt. Every dollar CRS gives to an organization like CARE International grows the organization through resources and reach. Regardless of the specific use of specific dollars, when CRS provides several million dollars to an organization, that organization grows. And for every poor soul CRS introduces to organizations like ADRA, that soul learns from CRS that ADRA (and organizations like it) are trustworthy. In short, by working with organizations such as these, CRS lends them the good name of the Catholic Church, despite their push for abortion, contraception and sterilizations. This is the very definition of scandal.
There is no malice in trying to defend the poorest of the poor from the wolves of the United Nations and NGOs who view the elimination of children as the best means of fighting poverty. And instead of seeing the grave moral damage done to poor souls by introducing them to groups like CARE, ACDI/VOCA or the Adventist Relief Agency, CRS defends its partnerships and funding practices. Considering that over two-thirds of CRS’s annual revenue comes from the government and foundations which require such collaborations, it seems pretty clear that the allure of hundreds of millions of dollars is more important to CRS than avoiding scandal and refusing to fund the enemies of God. In essence, it very much appears that CRS is less interested in the salvation of souls than it is in its bottom line. Should these practices come to an end, so would our criticism. It really is as simple as that.