It’s old news that many individual Bishops and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have leveled criticism towards Trump’s attempts to temporarily stop immigration, to assess and reform the process – basically every iota of his immigration stance. The most radical of these is San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy who called for opponents of Trump’s policies to “become disruptors” and that immigration is the “key [issue] we have to face in our local church at this moment.” (Bishop McElroy’s radicalism should come as no surprise; he’s a big fan of LGBT “rights” too. Apparently just an SJW tool?)
Lisa Bourne writes for LifeSiteNews that the “harsh tone leads to questions that some bishops’ concerns could be more driven by political and fiscal interests than by compassionate motives. Government funding and Catholic identity don’t easily mix, say critics.”
It’s a rather cynical interpretation that has occurred to many: it’s about the money, not compassion. Why the vociferous response to Trump’s plans to pause immigration, when previous presidents’ similar policies brought not a word of opposition? It certainly does not speak to a consistent position.
Why are US bishops so concerned about Trump’s refugee orders? Follow the money trail: Is a conflict of interest behind some of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ strong criticisms of President Trump’s immigration policy, in particular his two temporary travel bans? That’s the question being raised by a number of experts in foreign policy and Catholic charitable work…
These critics are pointing out that in Fiscal Year 2016, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received more than $91 million in government funding for refugee resettlement. Over the past nine years, the USCCB has received a total of $534,788,660 in taxpayer dollars for refugee resettlement programs, reported Ann Corcoran, editor of Refugee Resettlement Watch.
Raymond Arroyo of EWTN News has this to say in response to the American Church’s position:
“They have a heart for people who are suffering… However… if the country decides, and the president decides that it’s time to take a pause, everybody has to step back and let that happen. President Obama did it, President Bush did it after 9/11. It’s not forever, it’s just for a time. But these groups I think, sometimes their heart, and perhaps the financial motive gets in the way.”
Deal Hudson, editor of The Christian Review, also has his concerns about the entanglement of Catholic organizations and the US government:
“How can either institution [USCCB and Catholic Relief Services] call itself ‘Catholic’ when they have created financial dependency of the federal government? … Doesn’t this level of funding make the USCCB hesitant to publicly criticize the Congress and the administration on abortion, same-sex marriage, fetal stem cell research, and euthanasia?”
Another critic, Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, which has reported on numerous Catholic organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities not living up to their Catholic identity (supporting LGBT “rights” and abortion/contraception, etc.), told LifeSiteNews:
Pope Benedict, in his motu proprio, made it clear that Catholic charitable work should begin with the Mass and sacraments, work in conjunction with the local bishops and Church, and hire faithful Catholics to carry out the programs… It seems to me that these refugee resettlement programs fail on all counts… Here again, the Church is behaving as just one more NGO
Just what we need, right? The Church to be just one more NGO. Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn shares Mosher’s concerns:
“We never hear the USCCB complain about much except for the decisions to cut funding from the troughs feeding its social programs… The USCCB cried the same sob-story over USAID and PEPFAR, despite the fact that they both work hand in glove for the spread of abortifacient contraception and condoms… The fact that Catholic Relief Services receives nearly two-thirds of its annual revenue from those agencies is most definitely linked to the lobbying efforts… So its concern over refugee resettlement is really no different.”
“We have to give the first priority to the respect for human life and for the family in order to have the right orientation in addressing all of the other questions which are involved with poverty and immigration, the many challenges that any human being faces in life… It doesn’t make any sense at all to be concerned about immigration or poverty if human life itself is not protected in society. It’s an absolute contradiction… The first justice accorded to any human being is to respect the gift of life itself, which is received from God.”
Entanglement with government funding often means compromising principles and the silencing of the organization’s voice when it comes to unpopular positions, especially when it comes to abortion. Separation of church and state, so often invoked as a way of protecting the state (and secularists) from the supposed abuses and controlling nature of the church, really should protect the church from the state.
Deal Hudson summed it up:
“How can the Catholic Church be a free, prophetic voice when it has created a financial dependence on the federal government? Answer: It cannot!”