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CHILDREN FIRST FOR OREGON, a member of a coalition of activist organizations which are not only pro-abortion but also teach sexuality education in public schools and dispense birth control in school-based health centers, has been denied CCHD funding in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.  In 2006, Children First publicly opposed a Parental Notification  measure on the Oregon ballot.

This has been accomplished by the independent research and tenacity and patience of one Oregon Catholic, James Welsh.

Read Welsh’s opinion piece on Life News here:

Portland Archdiocese CCHD Office Admits, Stops Funding Pro-Abortion Group.

The following is Welsh’s 12/15/09 letter to Archbishop John Vlazny which is reproduced here with the author’s permission:

Keywords:  Children First For Oregon (CFFO), Oregon Parental Notification Ballot Measure 43

Dear Archbishop Vlazny,

In the November 19, 2009 edition of the Catholic Sentinel you wrote an article containing your thoughts about the upcoming CCHD collection and  the recent embarrassing revelations that CCHD had given grants to organizations espousing positions in conflict with Catholic teaching and CCHD guidelines. One paragraph was particularly disturbing and directed to a particular group of Catholics. I happen to be one of those Catholics. I think it is only fair that I should reply to your comments in an open forum as they were made in an open forum.  You wrote as follows:

“There are people, including some who call themselves Catholics, who campaign against the Campaign!”—-Archbishop Vlazny

I am one of those persons who has serious doubts about the CCHD and the Saul Alinsky-derived methods of empowering the poor. That is my opinion and it is only that, an opinion. But it distresses me greatly that my Catholicism was implicitly questioned by the choice of the words “who call themselves”. Why did you not just write “including some Catholics”? Am I to infer that support for the CCHD and its community organizing philosophy is required to be fully Catholic or, conversely, my lack of support for the CCHD makes me less Catholic? Perhaps your choice of words was just a mistake.

“Both in policy and practice, CCHD refuses to fund groups that take positions contrary to Catholic teaching.”—-Archbishop Vlazny

If this is indeed the policy and practice of the Archdiocese then how was it that Children First for Oregon (CFFO), which publicly opposed Measure 43 in 2006 (parental notification for minors seeking an abortion), was funded by the Archdiocese of Portland in 2009? It may be the policy but it certainly does not appear to be the practice. And if 2006 was too far back to check, as Matt Cato, Archdioesan Director of the Peace and Justice office apparently feels, why wasn’t CFFO’s current website-proclaimed enthusiasm for “school based health centers” sufficient to deny the grant?

“No grant is made in any diocese without the approval of the local bishop”.—-Archbishop Vlazny

I must assume that you approved the grant to Children First for Oregon. Charity requires me to reply that “to err is human”. I hope in the future that more informed persons will be on the CCHD screening committee and prevent such flawed recommendations as this.

“Once again this year objections have been raised to the Campaign because some CCHD-funded groups have taken actions in conflict with CCHD guidelines AFTER (my capitals) they were funded”.—-Archbishop Vlazny

CFFO did not take the above cited position after it was funded. It took that position in 2006 which was nearly three years before the grant was approved.

“When facts (are) confirmed, the groups (are) defunded”.—-Archbishop Vlazny

CFFO has not been defunded but rather has been declared ineligible for future grants. There is a difference. Guidelines of the USCCB specifically state that it is the policy of the USCCB to pursue reimbursement of the granted funds. Matt Cato, who administers the CCHD local grants, informed me the Archdiocese will not pursue reimbursement. Why doesn’t (didn’t) the Archdiocese follow national CCHD guidelines regarding reimbursement? Hard working Catholics of this Archdiocese donated this money. They deserve an explanation of what happened. I trust the Sentinel will report on this mistake.

“Mistakes were made but quickly corrected”.—-Archbishop Vlazny

Obviously you were referring of course to problems in other diocese’s. A mistake was indeed made in the Archdiocese of Portland but it was not quickly corrected. Why did it take nearly one month for anyone at the Chancellery to respond to my questions about CFFO’s funding? Was it only coincidence that I received no responses to my emails until I contacted the national office of the CCHD?  It took me all of 15 minutes to gather the information that I furnished to the Respect Life office. The Archdiocese’s notification to CFFO of its grant disqualifiation should have been sent the next day.

[…]

What could possibly cause anyone to have  positive feelings about CCHD grants given the way this matter has been handled?

Respectfully,

Jim Welsh

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