Bishop Thomas John Paprocki: Looking at Effective Programs that Address Poverty

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CCHD/USCCB

By Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, Catholic World Report, June 18, 2024

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki is Bishop of Springfield in Illinois and is Chairman-elect of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.

(Editor’s note: This column for The Catholic Times, Magazine of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, is reposted here with kind permission of Bishop Paprocki and the Diocese of Springfield, IL.)

 

Just as it is fair to ask if the “War on Poverty” was effective, given the number of people who still live in poverty and have become dependent on the welfare state, it is reasonable to ask if the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been effective in its mission.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

The 2024 Spring Plenary Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) took place June 13-15 in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to the public sessions, the bishops spent time in executive session reflecting on the future of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). This discussion was prompted in part by the fact that, in 2022, the most recent year for which information is publicly available, the campaign operated at a $5.7 million deficit. CCHD is also plagued by repeated reports of giving grants to organizations that promote or are affiliated with causes that are contrary to Catholic teachings.

Executive session supposedly provides a confidential forum for brainstorming and frank discussion of proposals before going into public debate and decision-making. I say “supposedly” because shortly after the “confidential” executive session there was a story in the National Catholic Reporter in which Michael Sean Winters wrote, “Several bishops told me that in the executive session where the Catholic Campaign for Human Development was discussed, the support for the program was overwhelming. Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki intervened to suggest it was time to sunset the program, and his sentiments were echoed by Kansas City, Kansas, Archbishop Joseph Naumann.” ….