Friday, July 27, 2012

An apology and a request to CRS

Yesterday, I revisited the questions regarding CRS funding of CARE.  I admitted my intellectual inefficiencies in understanding how the aforementioned funding could not be fungible in some way and asked "If you are smart enough to convince me that there's no way receiving funds from CRS helped CARE in other areas, please take a shot."

Jim Stipe of CRS did "take that shot".  First, I want to thank Jim for not only responding, but for doing so in a charitable manner.  I still had to read his comments several times along with all of the other material I had already read and re-read and re-read ... again.  Told you I might be kind of dumb sometimes.

Next, I do want to address something Jim says in his comments:

"On a personal note, I wouldn't want to work for an organization who had an opportunity to save people’s lives and do no other harm but decided not to simply because they were worried that some people might misunderstand and object."

I admire Jim for his conviction.  While I cannot speak for the motivations of others, I do want to clarify that the prime mover for my reaction(s) was not just the possible misunderstanding of people.  A good priest told me "the heart of true Christian ministry must always be the salvation of souls".  (I do believe that the work of CRS fulfills this obligation.)  I will resist the urge to carry on about spiritual and material needs and their shared connection.  Lucky you.

I admit my own concern that the faithful are tired of feeling "duped" whether warranted or not.  I admit my concern with the "appearance" of an opportunity for the Obama Administration to conclude that the Catholic Bishops are not serious about their opposition to the HHS mandate and its implications with regards to religious freedom.

One must also take into consideration though that we live in a "headline" world where many form opinions quickly and most are too stubborn to change their minds.  Yes, mia culpa many times over.  "The faithful", while collective are also individuals.  Each is at a particular point in his or her spiritual life.  Some are more susceptible to being scandalized than others.  I remain most concerned about the appearance of the donation to CARE for those who may be easily misled (yes, scandalized) and for those who will refrain from charitable giving in the future.

Now, for that moment my wife has been waiting for:

I admit that I was wrong.  Furthermore, I apologize to CRS and to the USCCB for the tone of my original response to this particular issue.  I also want to point out that it is commendable of CRS to use a third party to perform ethical reviews of its activities.

I do urge CRS to consider more carefully the effects that such "appearances" might have and to possibly be a little more proactive in addressing possible concerns of the faithful in the future.

I'll conclude by joining Brandon Vogt in his resolve:
"Despite their imprudence, though, I still support CRS and their otherwise life-changing work. I’ll continue donating every month, our kids will fill up their Rice Bowls with coins next Lent, and I’ll support their projects near and far. I hope you will to. Few charities do better work in the name of Christ and his Church. And almost none do it as efficiently or faithfully as CRS. So together let’s help steer this ship forward in the right direction. And let’s do all we can to strengthen its Catholic identity, not rip the name-tag off its chest."


  1. George, I appreciate your posts on this subject and won't pretend to fully understand everything at work here, but it does raise one question for me. Which is God's plan for give of ourselves in service to God and his people freely or to hold back for fear that our service may be taken advantage of by evil ones? I know we have a moral obligation to the world to make sure our actions fully support God's will, but if it causes us to shrink back and do nothing, we do even more harm.

  2. George,

    I really commend you for weighing all of this and taking a thoughtful approach. You're very right that issues like this are often boiled down to their smallest soundbites or black and white statements that can lead one to a quick conclusion, but I appreciate that you were diligent enough to listen to both sides of the issue and do your own thoughtful thinking.

    A huge kudos to you.

    All the best,
    Jim Stipe

  3. Anthony, if that question was simple to answer, we would have need for these dialogues.

    In short, we need to follow the Church's authoritative teachings. These will differ for businesses, organizations, people, etc (and even more so as pertains to one's state in life, the nature of the business, organization, etc.

    Additionally, there will OFTEN be times where the interpretation of such may not be so clear. We should always seek to grasp what the Church intends to the best of our ability. I leave you with the following from the Catechism to help you with your own conscience in the matter, but you know how to get me for a more personal and lengthy conversation :-) (will have to leave in multiple comments too) :


    1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

    1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

    1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55


    1786 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

    1787 Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law.

    1788 To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

    1789 Some rules apply in every case:

    - One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

    - the Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."56

    - charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ."57 Therefore "it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble."58


    1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

    1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

    1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

    1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

    1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith."60

    The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.61

  6. a link to the above so that you can follow references, etc: