In light of recent accusations against CRS, we would like to provide some background on the relationship between CRS and an organization called the CORE Group.
The CORE Group is a professional association of NGOs and humanitarian professionals focused on child survival work overseas. The work of the CORE Group has contributed to saving the lives of millions of mothers and children since 1997 through technical expertise and exchange.
CRS and the people we serve have derived great benefit through the CORE Group. Through its assistance, CRS was able to document our obstetric emergency protocols that we had successfully developed in one region of Honduras, which were credited in reducing maternal mortality there by almost half. This documentation enabled us to work with the Honduras Ministry of Health to take the project nationwide. Our HIV team collaborated last year with other CORE Group members on rolling out new counseling techniques to improve nutrition among people living with HIV. And we are currently co-chairing a study on improving nutrition recuperation approaches that agencies and governments can use to reduce childhood malnutrition.
We see our membership in the CORE Group as a means of demonstrating our faithfulness to Church teaching. Some networks to which CRS belongs include members which do not uphold all tenets of Catholic teaching.We acknowledge our differences, air our disagreements on these issues and contribute our Catholic voice to the conversation. As an active and influential member of the Core Group, we are able to represent the Catholic positions on health for mothers and their infants. For example, CRS’ involvement in CORE ensures that natural family planning has a place in the discussion. It is also important to note that CRS seeks to advance the common good of the world through the uncommon excellence of our staff, partners and programs. In order to achieve this goal, it is important for our staff to engage in the community of technical excellence and expertise in their respective fields. CORE Group offers us an opportunity to highlight our work and improve the quality of our programming so mothers and children can live and thrive.
Some have brought up a document issued by the CORE Group in 2006 that promoted artificial birth control to prevent the spread of HIV. Two CRS technical staff members reviewed the document, which is something we do so that they can suggest revisions that are more in line with our HIV prevention approaches. However, their comments may or may not be taken into consideration in any final documents, and CRS did not endorse this document. CRS has since revised our policies to ensure that our name is not associated with documents that are counter to Church teaching.
The latest LifeSite News story once again references the $5.3 million that CRS transferred to CARE in FY2010. We wish to make clear that these funds never belonged to CRS or the USCCB. The funds were given to CRS by the federal government and a private foundation to carry out a joint program with CARE, and CRS fulfilled its obligation by transferring those funds to CARE for the specified programs.
The reason CRS competes for grants from the federal government and from private foundations is that we believe there should be widespread support for our Catholic approach to the humanitarian work we do. We work with a wide range of groups, such as governments, other faith communities and secular institutions. As clearly stated on our website, “although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS’ association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching. Furthermore, CRS neither facilitates, endorses nor enables any violation of those teachings.”
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