Saturday, November 21, 2009

The USCC's ACORN Problem, Milwaukee and Chicago Ties

History counts. It also helps to understand ACORN-ism's methods, one of which is to operate under different names. Confusion is good, to ACORN-ites, and confusing Catholic Charities with the Campaign for Human Development is just fine. Except that they are VERY different organizations with a somewhat-common history.


Waaaayyyyyyy back when, there was the National Catholic Welfare Conference, which had a "Social Action Department." Mgr. John Ryan was the first director of that department.

But even before the Conference, there was the Nat'l Catholic Welfare Council, of which Rome disapproved. Why? Because in the Catholic church, Bishops are responsible to the Pope. There are no 'intermediary' organizations, at least in matters of teaching and governance of Dioceses. Organizing a "Council" which would purport to "teach" in the name of the Bishops was a slippery-slope matter--and Rome's concerns have proven to be justified.

Mgr. Ryan was a bit controversial, to be kind.

On October 8, 1936, Monsignor John A. Ryan urged millions of listeners to his nationally broadcast radio speech to reject the advice of fellow Catholic cleric Father Charles Coughlin and vote for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the upcoming election. The Democratic National Committee had prodded a reluctant Ryan to step into the fray of national politics because it feared that Catholic voters might be swayed by Coughlin's weekly insistence that FDR was a communist who no longer deserved the support of Catholics.

Interesting, because Coughlin was even more radical than was FDR...

In contrast, Ryan's thoughts were not radical; he understood and acknowledged sin.

Ryan never wavered from his support of an economic system based squarely on the sanctity of private property and capitalism, but one that also distributed wealth and power more equitably. Excessive individual greed, Ryan argued, created a morally and economically unhealthy misdistribution of wealth.

Who could argue with the thought that vice breeds social problems? I certainly won't.

Another prominent priest-thinker of the period was Mgr. Haas.

Perhaps the most nationally prominent and active Catholic progressive in the Ryan tradition was Bishop Francis J. Haas. A student at CUA in the early 1920s who was profoundly influenced by Ryan, Haas played a pivotal role in Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal as a public representative on several Government boards in the 1930s and as one of the busiest and most respected labor arbitrators in the country...Born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1889, Haas was ordained as a priest in 1913 and worked as a parish priest at Holy Rosary Parish in Milwaukee until he began graduate studies at CUA in 1919. (One wonders if the "mandated labor course" for Wisconsin kiddies will include this name.....)

Haas, however, had an ideological fixation, which led to regrettable statements like this:

..."every worker has a duty to himself and to his fellow men to join his union and to be proud of membership . . . Given two men of equal ability, one a union man and the other non-union, unquestionably the union man is the better. He recognizes his obligations to himself, his family, and his country."

Perhaps Haas didn't know about the Communists in the C.I.O., who were eventually purged by the A.F.L.'s genuinely-patriotic leadership in the 1950's.

(For that matter, there were allegations about Communist ties to the UAW at Allis-Chalmers. Haas was a key player there.)

He arbitrated the Minneapolis truckers' strike in 1934, a conflict that left two strikers dead, and difficult and trying strikes at Allis-Chalmers in Wisconsin in 1939 and 1941. The strikes at Allis-Chalmers pitted the militant left-wing United Automobile Workers Union Local #248 against an equally obstinate management team. The 1941 Allis-Chalmers strike seriously threatened America's wartime production...

Clearly, these guys (particularly Ryan) were more progressive than some. But Ryan's acknowledgement of the Fall is critical. Without that nod, Ryan's theories would be merely secular humanism.

But that's not the end. Too bad...


Bp. Jos. Bernardin was the creator of the Campaign for Human Development.

That's how ACORN-ism crawled into the Catholic charities business. Bernardin was the Big Kahuna at USCC (formerly NCCB/USCC) for a number of years--both as General Secretary (1968-1972) and later as President (the late 1970's). Before Bernardin was GenSec, the NCCB/USCC had faded into the background as something of an administrative swamp, not being active in 'social causes.' To remedy that, Bernardin established the "Campaign for Human Development" which is the focus of today's controversy.

Bernardin, who was VERY controversial inside the Church, pushed the influence of NCCB to new heights, and along with that the influence of the Campaign for Human Development.

Its stated purpose is both to raise funds to support organized groups of the poor to develop economic and political power and to educate the public with a new knowledge of contemporary problems. Since its founding, the CHD has funded more than 3,000 self-help projects developed by the poor.

It is critical to note that CHD 'funds ....organized groups.' That is NOT the same as what Catholic Charities does. Catholic Charities is a hands-on, largely volunteer-run series of outfits (usually in each Diocese) which directly distributes money and goods to those in need (think food-distribution after Katrina.)

CHD, on the other hand, was organized specifically to fund "community organizers" in the mold of Alinsky. But attaching that 'Catholic' name to CHD has been beneficial for the Left, ain'a?

And that's the embarassment. The Bishops are stuck with another Bernardin/Lefty legacy and haven't the courage to simply shut it down, because the Bishops are in their "circle-the-wagons" mode, defending the dead Bernardin's legacy. It's reminiscent of the 'circle-the-wagons' mode surrounding the ordination of homosexuals.

St Catherine of Siena, pray for them.

This post inspired by the good-hearted Prot, McCain.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

Overall, the USCCB is a disgrace and I haven't given a dime to the CCHD for mega-years.

At the end of Mass last night, our priest barely mentioned the collection, and said there were some envelopes in the back. I think the envelopes were hidden somewhere. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the collection. heh

It pays to be on the other side of the state from our bishop, who happens to be a California reject (Michael Driscoll).

He was bounced out of CA because he was complicit in covering up for sexually abusive homosexual priests.

Now he spends our money to buy big new buildings for the diocesan offices, when every single priest in the diocese said no. My own pastor said Driscoll never even asked until after the decision was already made to buy the building. Why bother asking??

Bp Driscoll banned Father Corapi from our diocese after Corapi gave a talk in which he dared to criticize bishops. Driscoll actually got up and walked out in the middle of the talk.

What we do have (which really sticks in his craw), is a thriving FSSP parish in Coeur d' Alene.