The Poor and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The theme of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is “breaking the cycle of poverty.”  Unfortunately, its financial grants in the past have been directed almost exclusively towards those who are seeking to help the already poor, frequently by making them more politically active.  That doesn’t break the cycle.

There is a familiar saying about taxes and subsidies: what you tax you will get less of, and what you subsidize you will get more of.  I suspect that the latter applies also to the various ways to fight poverty.  For example, Aid to Dependent Children was and is envisioned as way to help needy children whose poverty is no fault of their own.  However, when a single mother has one surprise-pregnancy child and then another and then another…, the program becomes for some a subsidy for having children out-of-wedlock.

Judie Brown of the American Life League has recently written that in 2013 the CCHD made grants to “over 20 problematic grantees,” that is, organizations to which Catholic money should not be given.  On the good side, some previous grantees are no longer on the list, and the CCHD made one helpful step in the right direction—a $500,000 grant to the Birth Choice Health Clinic Network in California.  This is an anti-abortion association and, to its credit, it has a program on parenting.  However, even the grant to Birth Choice is still part of the overall problem of little or nothing being done to reduce the rate of new fornication-caused families.

The bottom line is that if the leadership of the Catholic Church in the USA wants to break the cycle of poverty in this country, it needs to focus on ways to stop the start of fornication-caused families.  Planned Parenthood and others have been trying for many years to address this issue with contraception and abortion, but that failed approach has served chiefly to increase the rate of fornication, out-of-wedlock pregnancies (OWP), abortions and out-of-wedlock births.  In 1965 the white OWP rate was 3% and the black OWP rate was 24%.  Enter government funded birth control.  Currently the white OWP rate is 24% and the black OWP rate is 70%.

The Catholic Church needs to use the CCHD and other vehicles to get across somehow or other the biblical idea that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act, and that it should be a renewal of the love and commitment the marriage covenant.  Then the Church will truly lead the way in breaking the cycle of poverty.

John Kippley,

P. S.  Allow me to share the following letter that brightened my day.  I have been giving free rosary booklets to prisoners, and some of them really appreciate it.

“I have been saying the Rosary every day since I was incarcerated in May of 2012.  It was the traditional [way] until September of this year when Ernie Pavlock had you send me the “Seven Day Bible Rosary.”  Now I pray it every day.

It has brought such freshness and insight to my life I would like to share it with my parents.  They are both 86 years old, and faithfully drive 130 miles every week to come visit me in prison, and while they drive over they always say the Rosary.

I would love to share the Seven Day Bible Rosary with them.  If you would please send a copy to them, I would be so appreciative and grateful.

Thanks very much.  Stan H.”   11/16/2013

The rosary will be sent.  For more information, click on Rosary at the top of the page.  If you know a prisoner who might like this, just send me his name, number, and address.  Bur first check with her or him; I don’t want to be accused of sending unsolicited religious materials and thus be banned from any particular prison.

Pope Francis, the Poor, and Purity

Pope Francis has great sympathy for the poor.  He has criticized multinational corporations for their role in causing poverty, and he has adopted a simple lifestyle to show his empathy with those who have little or nothing by way of material goods.

I cannot address the issue of multinational corporations beyond wondering what their employees in third world countries would be doing if they were not employed by these corporations.  At the same time, one can safely propose that even if the employees are net beneficiaries compared to their condition if unemployed, there is most probably much more that can and should be done to improve their situation.

The issue of purity is more specific and has direct economic consequences.  The single greatest source of new poverty in the United States is the household headed by a single woman with children.  These children have two strikes against them from the day they are born.  Currently, about 70% of black children are born out-of-wedlock compared to about 24% of white children.  The respective rates for families living in poverty are just about the same.

Thus, the single greatest thing that can be done to alleviate poverty in these United States will be a rebirth of chastity.  That will take a considerable and sustained effort by the Catholic Church and all others who are concerned about the plight of the poor.  Somehow or other, every community needs to understand that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act, a renewal of the marriage covenant.  “Waiting for marriage” is not just a nice thing to do, sort of an ideal from the past.  It is the moral norm based on Sacred Scripture.

For those who do not recognize the biblical moral norm, there is simply the hard statistical fact that starting a family without marriage is an invitation to lifelong economic hardship.  The Left has been arguing for more than 80 years that contraception will solve the problem.  As a result, almost no one of fertile age is unaware of contraception, and condoms are universally available.  Still the rate of illegitimacy has risen steadily for the past 50 years.  In other words, contraception has aggravated, not relieved, the problem of poverty.

Dear Pope Francis, please lead your millions of listeners to believe that purity is not a man-made hurdle but is an essential part of God’s plan for the alleviation of poverty.  There is probably nothing that you can do or say that will have more good social effects than your steadfast promotion of purity both before marriage and within it.