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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Dec 09, 2019

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Two true stories, both dating back to the Sunday before Thanksgiving, when the US bishops took up the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD):

♦ In a parish in the south, a visiting priest was giving a strong homily about reverence for human life, explicitly condemning abortion, when a woman in the congregation stood up to interrupt him.

No, she wasn’t denouncing the Church’s teaching. Nor was she telling about her own experience with abortion. This parishioner was challenging the priest. If he agreed that cooperation with abortion is unacceptable, she said, why was the parish taking up the collection for the CCHD, which provides financial support for groups that promote abortion?

Taken aback, the priest said that he couldn’t believe the US bishops would endorse an agency that was complicit in abortion advocacy. But the parishioner was ready for him, with compelling evidence that the CCHD does exactly that. Eventually the priest conceded that, if parishioners believed the criticism, they should not donate to the CCHD.

The collection was held in that parish, but the baskets came back virtually empty.

♦ In a parish in the north, the pastor went further. He announced that the CCHD collection would be taken up on schedule. But he announced that he was distributing the envelopes only because he had been directly ordered to do so. As pastor, he continued, he felt morally obligated to tell his people that they should not donate. ….

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