In recent years the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has come under a great deal of scrutiny and criticism. CCHD had a relationship with the national organizing group ACORN that was problematic, and when a variety of problems were discovered with ACORN the national CCHD office took steps to defund the organization. Yet, the relationships with community organizing groups across the country have been the fundamental problem with many CCHD grants in all parts of the country. Many have called on bishops to cease their support of the collection entirely, and some bishops have chosen that path for a variety of reasons. Others have called for a reform of CCHD, and in response to those requests the U.S. Bishops established a review board last fall to examine all aspects of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. This November the bishops will receive a report from this committee and recommendations will be made on the future of the campaign.
While we pray for the work of this review board and await the outcomes, it may be fruitful to look at one possible model of reform that we have established in the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. This model was established last year after a thorough review of the history of CCHD in our diocese and careful reflection on current funding decisions by the Human Rights Office of the diocese, the office charged with oversight of CCHD by Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn. In addition, Bishop Finn met with his fellow bishops in November to hear their experiences and to obtain their advice. What follows is the result of these two processes.