Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alinsky, the Bishops, and USCCB

Quite a series of essays here, with the longest being on Alinsky and the Bishops.

The history is valuable, and Milwaukee agitators Flood, Becker, and Groppi are mentioned!!

[In the 1960's ...a]mong both the powerful and the powerless, the work of Catholic priests was headline news in the 1960s, work which further propelled U.S. Catholicism into the upheaval. Among the priests and their issues were Monsignor George Higgins and the labor movement,(21) Monsignor Geno Baroni and ethnic urban neighborhoods,(22) Fathers Philip and Daniel Berrigan and the antiwar movement,(23) Father James Groppi and the civil rights movement,(24) Monsignor Jack Egan and Alinsky's community organizations,(25) Thomas Merton and his social critiques from the monastery,(26) and John Courtney Murray and U.S. civil discourse.(27)

All very familiar names.

Now we add a bit more to the mix.

The [Second Vatican] council marked a shift in the Church's self-understanding. Implicit in Pope John's aggiornamento was a constructive encounter with modernity. Under Pius IX and Leo XIII the Church had taken a defensive position against post-Enlightenment thought. The dominant grounding for that position was a neo-Scholastic synthesis between faith and reason, a synthesis that provided a unified Catholic worldview that collapsed at Vatican II.(32) While there is some consensus about a postconciliar shift away from the primacy of natural law in theology to a more inductive, biblically based, interdisciplinary, democratic, and empirical theological methodology,(33) there has been substantial debate whether this shift has had a positive or negative impact and whether natural law itself remains a viable approach.

What also occurred, much more significant, was an interpretive hermeneutic of "change" which was rammed into the pew-sitting Catholic with great effectiveness--never mind whether such "change" was ordered by the Council. Remember, this was still the era of "Father says...."

Then, in 1969, the founding of the Campaign for Human Development.

...On the occasion of the 25th-anniversary celebration of the CHD on August 25, 1995, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin delivered a keynote address in Chicago entitled "The Story of the Campaign for Human Development: Theological and Historical Roots."(38) He noted that, "as General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops at the time, [he] was directly involved in this exciting endeavor."(39) As general secretary, his direct involvement consisted in the executive oversight of the design, development, and establishment of the CHD. Bernardin had been brought to the NCCB in 1968 by Archbishop John Dearden of Detroit

With those two names, you know everything you need to know. FLEE!!

At least Bernardin was fairly honest about Campaign for Human Development's roots:

"It is fitting that we are gathered here because since the beginning, Chicago has been important to the Campaign and the Campaign has been important to Chicago. As you may know, Msgr. George Higgins of this Archdiocese wrote a Labor Day message that pointed the way to the Campaign; Auxiliary Bishop Michael Dempsey of Chicago was the CHD's first spokesperson; Msgr. Jack Egan organized the "Friends of CHD" in the mid-1970s, and for decades has been an inspiration to the Campaign's work; the great work of community-organizing began in Chicago, and Chicago has many important networks and training centers; CHD enjoys a rich tradition of support here, both in the form of active and enthusiastic participation by people in organizations and projects funded by CHD, and in the generous donations to the annual CHD Collection....

Yes, indeed. Citizen Action Wisconsin people were 'networked' and 'trained' in Chicago, (Midwest Academy)which should tell you all you need to know. Barry Obozo got his training there, too. Getting the picture?

Alinsky was not stupid. He knew that there were two vehicles for his success:

...In 1941 Alinsky wrote that "two basic social forces ... serve as the cornerstone ... to effect constructive changes in the life of the Back of the Yards neighborhood. These two elemental social institutions are, first, the Catholic church and, second, organized labor."

What did I just say about Citizen Action Wisconsin?

And look who else was involved!

John L. Lewis also gave his imprimatur to the campaign. Lewis's Congress of Industrial Organizations was in the midst of a bitter organizational drive in Chicago's stockyards

Recall that the CIO was identified as a major Communist Party outfit and was forcibly cleaned up by the AFL under George Meany, who was an American patriot (which is why they are AFL-CIO.) That merger wasn't exactly friendly.

Well, Alinsky & Co. defeated the meat-packers, following which:

Invitations to organize came from cities throughout the nation, and within every campaign Catholics played a prominent role.(63) Through these activities Alinsky developed hundreds of relationships with Catholic leaders. Alinsky's friendship with Thomistic philosopher Jacques Maritain is perhaps the most fascinating Catholic connection.

And the connection with Maritain produced something else of interest:

Maritain was so enthralled with Alinsky's writing and organizing that in 1958 he personally urged Archbishop Montini of Milan, the future Pope Paul VI, to meet with Alinsky

The temptation to mention Windswept House is irresistible.

Alinsky took a priest, Jack Egan, under his wing and taught him everything he needed to know.

Egan developed the first Office of Urban Affairs in Chicago with a mission to "focus the power of the Church on the problems of the city." With this institutional credibility, Egan recalled, "Saul and I began working very closely." ...Like Bishop Sheil in the Back of the Yards 20 years earlier, Egan gave community-organizing a Catholic mantle of credibility, accessed funds, motivated people, and articulated the theological premises for church involvement in community organization.

Egan accessed archdiocesan funds for each of Alinsky's three Chicago organizations in the 1960s. To raise funds for the Woodlawn Organization, Egan and Alinsky met with Cardinal Albert Meyer. Egan recalls, "I was alone with the Cardinal and Alinsky. The Cardinal made a commitment for 150,000 dollars for three years, 50,000 dollars a year."(78) In his anniversary keynote, Cardinal Bernardin stated that he was personally involved in the Chicago Metropolitan Sponsors, an Alinsky Industrial Areas Foundation organization that received $116,000 from the campaign in 1995. CHD guidelines state that the campaign funded organizations for three years.(79) These are fascinating parallels: two Chicago cardinals more than 30 years apart, both supporting Alinsky organizations with Catholic money for a three-year period.(80) The striking difference is that Meyer committed local archdiocesan Catholic funds whereas Bernardin committed national CHD funds

You can decide for yourselves whether promoting Stritch and Meyer to Chicago was a good thing. We already know what to think about putting Bernardin there.

Now a most interesting factoid:

...In 1968, when Cardinal John Cody became the archbishop of Chicago, the Office of Urban Affairs was discontinued. Suddenly, archdiocesan financial support for Alinsky and the mantle of credibility for community organization were gone. Egan had been laid out "on the canvas."(81) With these events, President Theodore Hesburgh invited Egan to the University of Notre Dame for a sabbatical, an invitation that led to Egan's staying there for 14 years.

Cody later moved to Rome and just-by-coincidence suffered character assassination there when heading the Vatican Bank. I'd bet that the Paul VI connection.......well........maybe someday the WHOLE story of that affair will be told.

Egan used ND as a handy tool.

Founded in 1967, the Catholic Committee on Urban Ministry had an impressive membership: Monsignor Geno Baroni of the Archdiocese of Washington's Urban Office; Father Eugene Boyle of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, active with the United Farmworkers of America; [UFWA was heavily supported by Roger Mahony while he was in Sacramento and later in Los Angeles] Father Patrick Flood of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, active in race matters; Father P. David Finks of the Diocese of Rochester, active in Alinsky's FIGHT organization; Father John McCarthy who was assistant to labor priest George Higgins; Father Phil Murnion of New York who was to direct the National Institute on Pastoral Life; Father Marvin Mottet of Davenport who was to become the director of the Campaign for Human Development, and other clergy.(86) These priests were at the forefront of Catholic activism and had experience in organizations focused on self-determination: community organizations, economic development organizations such as worker cooperatives or credit unions, housing initiatives, and neighborhood associations.

And of course, there was a need for more money.

In June 1969, Father Baroni, now chairman of the Urban Task Force Advisory Board, presented the "Agenda for the 70s" to the bishops. The report read: "The NCCB could establish an annual collection for human development in the United States.

...In August 1969, Baroni had called the Cumbermeare gathering to come up with ideas on how the Church through the Urban Task Force could respond to the urban crisis.(97) Attending the meeting with Baroni were McCarthy, Finks, Michael Groden of the Archdiocese of Boston, Patrick Flood, and his assistant Dismas Becker.

Isn't it wonderful that Milwaukee supplied so many of these fellows?

If nothing else, Catholics were generous.

...At Cumbermeare in August 1969, the foundational elements of a national Catholic campaign were agreed upon. The campaign would be a national mechanism responding to the urban crisis, one similar to Protestant efforts committing financial resources. The Catholic commitment would be $50 million, a sum matched by no other denomination to that date. Funds would be designated specifically for "organized groups of white and minority poor to develop economic strength and political power in their own communities," "self-help funds" for such "projects as voter registration, community organizations, seed money to develop non-profit housing corporations, community-run schools, minority-owned cooperatives and credit unions, capital for industrial development and job training programs, and setting up of rural cooperatives."

Familiar endeavors, no?

You can search all you wish; there is no Roman Catholic encyclical, doctrine, or dogma which endorses the incipient C.H.D./Alinsky/Baroni/Finks agenda, to wit:

..."we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people, to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation ... the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by values that give meaning to life."...

That kind of crap is why you see the bumper-sticker which declares that "Jesus was a Community Organizer". Yes, it's a reductio ad absurdum; in addition to that, Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth" (Vol. 1) directly contradicts such inanity.

In 1969/70, Baroni and Finks wrote the paper which was adopted by the Bishops in 1970. It called for a "5-Year Plan". Thus, C.H.D. joins those Gummint Programs mentioned by Reagan as "immortal."

And sure enough, McHugh of Camden copy/pasted Alinsky:

The resolution's wording that "there is an evident need for funds designated to be used for organized groups of white and minority poor to develop economic strength and political power in their own communities"(137) was language used for the first time in NCCB legislative history.

You can read the rest of the essay, of course, at the link above. Suffice it to say that C.H.D. then funded a number of Alinsky-ite organizations about which we've written previously, such as "Gamaliel" and "Esther", "Joshua", "Amos" and "Jonah." We also mentioned this whole bag of worms here.

HT: Skellmeyer and Apostacy

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