To our friends and donors concerned about false accusations recently lodged by several websites:
Catholic Relief Services absolutely refutes false accusations by certain websites that we have violated Church teaching by working with CARE and other humanitarian organizations in providing life-saving charitable assistance to the poor overseas. We have contacted each of these outlets demanding a retraction to these misleading, false and damaging accusations.
CRS is not in agreement with CARE’s position on contraception because we do not support any positions that would be in violation of Catholic teaching on human dignity and the sanctity of human life.
Any funding Catholic Relief Services provides to CARE or any other international humanitarian organization comes from an outside source such as the federal government or a foundation, for a specific project, and has strict restrictions on its use.
The grant in question with CARE was used to provide vitally needed food, clean water, sanitation services and basic nutrition programs to desperately poor families in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and five countries in Central America. Make no mistake about it, these programs are saving lives.
Furthermore, these funds are not fungible. In other words, these funds provided by the federal government or foundations are specifically designated for the anti-poverty programs mentioned above, and cannot be used for any purpose other than that stated in the grant. If CRS and CARE had not received these grants, they would not have undertaken these programs. Therefore, the funds can in no way be described as “freeing up” money for either CRS or CARE to engage in other activities. Description of such funding being fungible is simply wrong.
CRS has a process for vetting our relationships with partners to ensure we are in full compliance with Church teaching. CRS has consulted with Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, an expert in moral theology who is a member of the bishops’ pro-life committee, to review our grants (including grants with CARE) and he found that none of them constitutes support of or involvement in immoral activities. However, he cautioned CRS of the risk of scandal if people become confused and wrongly assume that CRS was endorsing a partner’s position on other issues. He advised CRS to be clear with CARE or any other group we work with that CRS opposes contraception. To address this, CRS posted a statement following our Mission Statement on our website, titled The Catholic Values of CRS: http://crs.org/about/mission-statement/
The $5.3 million grant to CARE represents approximately 25% of the $20 million in grants as reported on CRS’ IRS Form 990 for 2010 (as a faith-based organization, CRS is exempt from reporting this information, but does so voluntarily). However, it represents less than 1 percent (0.65 %) of our $823 million budget for that year. Overall, these grants to other groups represented less than 2.5% of CRS’ total 2010 budget. Yet for the people who have food and water as a result of them, they make a huge difference.
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