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More Thoughts and a Question About the Collection Basket

In light of my post on an alternative way of giving, you might be interested in these words from Fr. Neuhaus:

The Campaign for Human Development (CHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.

Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.

What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations. Yes, that’s bizarre, but the history of CHD is bizarre. The bishops could really help poor people by promptly shutting down CHD and giving any remaining funds to, for instance, Catholic inner-city schools. In any event, if there is a collection at your parish this month, I suggest that you can return the envelope empty—and perhaps with a note of explanation—without the slightest moral hesitation.

This reminds me of another topic I’ve been meaning to broach with my readers. What do you think of the automatic payment plans for parish giving? I have just signed up with our parish to have our monthly giving deducted directly from our bank account. I can designate to which special collections I want to contribute. (CHD did not get checked.) This is definitely a more convenient method for giving. Also, when I visit another parish on Sunday, my home parish does not have to wait until the next week to get my doubled up contribution. However, after all these years of plopping an envelope in the collection basket, I feel very awkward just passing the basket on without contributing. It seems silly to put in an empty envelope, though I know some pastors recommend this so they can “take attendance”. (Our pastor has made no such suggestion.) What do you think?


Barb, sfo said…
I have to say the whole thing makes me feel a little awkward. Yes, we use it. I'm not the envelope-handler anyway since I am in choir, and I think my husband hands Little Brother a dollar to put in the basket when it comes around.

As to CHD, we just won't be donating to that. We don't generally "do" the special collections anyway, except for the Retired Religious and the Missions ones.
Michelle said…
Bill has already penned a letter to include in our CHD envelope. I think I may follow up with a letter directly to the Diocese.

As for the automatic deductions - I hope our church goes that direction. Our problem is simply remembering the envelope or having the parent in possession not be in the church at the time of the collection (due to child discipline problems).

If they did go that way, I'm not sure about the envelopes. I know the awkward feeling one has when you don't put something in - having forgotten the envelope too many times to count or when Bill and I go to different Masses, one of us goes envelope-less. But then, I wonder if that's not just pride that makes me want to show that I really do contribute. It's difficult to not tell the right hand what the left is doing.

As for attendance? Shake hands with Father after Mass?

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