Six-figure grant to Catholics United tried to recruit clergy
Six-figure grant to Catholics United tried to recruit clergy

.- The education fund of Catholics United, a Democrat-leaning group that has clashed with the bishops on several prominent issues, received a grant worth almost its entire 2011 budget to recruit Catholic clergy in key swing states to support the Environmental Protection Agency.

The San Francisco-based Energy Foundation gave a $116,000 grant to the Catholics United Education Fund in November 2011 “to recruit and engage Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota” in support of the EPA’s “regulatory authority.”

The Catholics United Education Fund’s 2011 tax forms show total revenue of $116,200 for the year.

James Salt, executive director of the group, told CNA April 23 that The Energy Foundation supported the education fund’s work to teach Catholics what Salt characterized as “Pope Benedict XVI’s and Pope Francis’ elevation of environmental stewardship as a key priority for Catholics.”

He said the project reached about 200 clergy and that the Catholics United Education Fund has “a particularly strong footprint” in the selected states, which also suffer “major forms of pollution.”

The states named in The Energy Foundation grant included several key swing states in the 2012 election. Ahead of that election, many Catholic bishops named issues such as ending legalized abortion and defending traditional marriage as key priorities.

In 2008, Catholics United came under fire by then-Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who said the group and its allies have “done a disservice to the Church.”

The organization, Archbishop Chaput charged, has “confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”

The Catholics United Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) partner of Catholics United, a 501(c)(4) organization that often defends Democratic political causes, at times conflicting with Church teaching. The organizations’ different tax statuses mean the education fund faces more restrictions on political expenditures.

Salt is the executive director of both groups and the organizations share many of the same leaders.

The Catholics United Education Fund made the news in November 2012 for a petition drive against the Knights of Columbus’ support for non-partisan political efforts to defend marriage between a man and a woman. It also received news coverage in 2012 for criticizing the end of a Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant to a Colorado immigrant group which was a member of a coalition that supports same-sex unions.

Catholics United has drawn criticism for downplaying religious freedom concerns about the Obama administration’s HHS mandate requiring Catholic employers, including some Catholic colleges, charities and health care systems, to provide insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortion-causing drugs.

It also defended the nomination of Catholic Kathleen Sebelius as Department of Health and Human Service Secretary, despite concerns about her pro-abortion “rights” views.

The Catholics United Education Fund has connections with other groups that have stirred controversy over their political initiatives.

The chair of the organization’s board of directors, Jessica Barba Brown, is vice president for program development at Faith in Public Life, a communications strategy center that favors Democrat-leaning political causes. That organization helped run the “Nuns on the Bus” public relations campaign promoting several vowed religious who object to budget-cutting proposals from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Faith in Public Life also ran a behind-the-scenes media effort in 2012 to undercut the U.S. bishops’ efforts to defend religious freedom against the HHS mandate. The organization sent out a memo instructing journalists to corner the bishops with questions about their religious freedom concerns, which it labeled as “fiction.”

Tags: Politics, Environment

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family

Liturgical Calendar

July 29, 2014

Saint Martha

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 11:19-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 14: 17-22
Gospel:: Jn 11: 19-27

Saint of the Day

St. Martha »


Homily of the Day

Jn 11:19-27


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: