The American Life League (ALL) has issued a report and video that are, once again, critical of Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
We are saddened that this report, a rehash of old allegations against CRS that have already been refuted, comes so soon after the strong statement of support issued by the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The report suggests that CRS should not partner in any work with respected aid agencies like World Vision and Adventist Relief Agency. Cooperation with such groups in areas that do not violate Church teaching over our 70 year history has saved countless lives.
ALL claims that the US bishops have one set of rules for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and another for CRS, when it comes to giving grants to organizations whose activities are not fully in line with Church doctrine. There is only one set of rules—Catholic teaching on cooperation with those who disagree with us. However, this does not mean that this teaching leads to the same actions in all situations. To ensure that we apply this teaching and act appropriately, for several years CRS staff and board have been consulting with moral theologians and have been regularly reviewing how we apply this teaching to our decisions. We plan to continue and expand our consultation and review process in the coming months. This will include working closely with the Committees on Pro-life Activities and Doctrine, both of which have helped us in the past and last week offered to work with us again as we continue to vet our partners.
ALL’s agenda is clear: CRS and the Church should not engage with the outside world. We should only work with those with whom we totally agree. The isolation advocated by ALL runs counter to the history of the Church and especially to the spirit of engagement that has been enlivened by Pope Francis. At CRS we are proud to be active in the world, reflecting our Catholic identity as we engage with those who agree and disagree with us, whether they are our partners, our donors or our beneficiaries. We do this work with deep joy, knowing that answering the Gospel’s call to serve the poor is a privilege. The real scandal would be not to do this work and to allow our brothers and sisters around the world to suffer and die.