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  • Illustrative List ofCatholic Endorsers of an Initiative for a Voluntary, Truly Non-Governmental, Faithful International Catholic Charity • Russell Shaw, Catholic writer, journalist, syndicated columnist Here is a creative idea for something that clearly needs doing. Catholics faithful to the teaching of the Church have for a long time been looking for a fully Catholic charitable organization they could support with confidence that not only were they supporting programs and projects consistent with their Catholic beliefs and values, but only programs and projects which meet that crucial test. I am pleased to endorse the concept underlying Jon Merrills proposal, and I look forward with much hope to the result. – Russell Shaw • Philip F. Lawler, Director, Catholic Culture (CatholicCulture.org); Editor Emeritus, Catholic World Report; Author, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture. At last, an approach to Catholic charity that is both truly Catholic and truly charitable! Jon Merrills approach is truly Catholic in that it sees all charitable work as a form of evangelization. It will not sacrifice the truths of the faith, and in service to the poor it gives top priority to their spiritual needs. It is truly charitable insofar as it receives support only from voluntary donations – not from tax imposts and/or government contracts. Here is an opportunity for serious Catholics to help those who need help, confident that their help cannot be diverted toward other less savory causes. – Philip F. Lawler • Steven W. Mosher, President, Population Research Institute; Author, Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits. Government charity is a contradiction in terms. Catholics need their own institutions, free of government funding and hence control, to carry out authentic charitable work around the world. Jon Merrill, whom I have known and worked with for many years, has developed a proposal for just such a charitable institution. He notes that it would rely on private funds, rejecting on principle financial contributions from the state, and linked to no conference of bishops. These characteristics would, of course, give it the freedom to be authentically Catholic, which in practice would mean that its staff of orthodox Catholics would be free to openly practice and preach their faith, something they are not now allowed to do in government-sponsored programs. They could, for example, teach chastity without having to mischaracterize this virtue as abstinence. They could teach Natural Family Planning without being forced by the requirements embedded in government funding, to promote artificial birth control as well. And 1
  • they could stand with the magisterium in opposing all forms of abortion, not justsurgical but chemical as well.I am pleased to endorse Jon’s proposal for an authentically Catholic charity, andstrongly urge faithful Catholics to be generous in offering prayers and financialsupport towards it success. – Steven W. Mosher• Jeffrey Tucker, Managing Editor, Sacred Music, of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA); Director of Publications, CMAA; Author, Sing Like a Catholic; Editorial Vice President, Ludwig von Mises Institute.This seems like an excellent project. Ive not thoroughly considered all the manyways in which the existing structure of Catholic charitable institutions might havebeen compromised by public money and bad theory, but it certainly makes sensethat the problems are pervasive. To establish something wholly new anduncompromising in every way, while at the same time drawing on extensiveexperience with authentic charitable work, seems visionary. I sincerely hope that theidea takes off. A commitment to Catholicism, voluntarism, and hard work willproduce more effective results than billions in public aid. – Jeffrey Tucker• Matthew Hanley, co-author, Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West (available from National Catholic Bioethics Center); contributor, “The Catholic Thing” web journal.There will always be a need for authentic charity. The needs of the whole humanperson are many. We live in an era of prosperity, but also at a time where threats toauthentic human development (in all parts of the world) are as much moral as theyare material.Ours is also a time of proliferating NGOs – many of which are almost exclusivelydependent on government funding – which makes the distinctively Catholicapproach to charity and development all the more needed.Jon Merrill has thought these matters through and has developed a proposal for anauthentically Catholic charity that is worthy of consideration and support. Catholics(professionals and others) called to a life of charitable service need a place they cancall home, a place where they are not marginalized or ridiculed on account of theirCatholic faith but welcomed and valued; Catholic donors eager to participate incharitable activity also need an institution that does not compromise on essentialmatters of Catholic identity.I would like to see such an initiative take flight – and in so doing, complement,inspire and help transform existing entities. There is much to do. – Matthew Hanley 2
  • • Fr. Fabian Hevi, Regional Superior, Kenya, Society of African Missions (SMA). SOCIETY OF AFRICAN MISSIONS P. O. BOX 15573 00503, Nairobi Kenya Tel. +254 20 891914 Fax: +254 20 890092 Mobile: +254712292229 Email: kofihevi@yahoo.comThis indeed is good news for those on Mission and working for the less privileged.From experience over the years it has not been easy getting funding from mostCatholic Charitable institutions. This is not because they are not ready to help, butsimply because their hands are so tight and they are controlled by the links andsources of their funding. With Jon’s ideas and spirit, he intends for something pureand focused on the Catholic Church and her values without any interference. Thiswill also help beneficiaries through their Bishops to have a free hand in funds thatare meant to help missions in their charitable and evangelization work. It is anopportunity for thousands of Catholics who think they are being charitable throughtheir tax deductions to realize that charity demands sacrifice and a bit of pain. Iknow many do not know about the truth and therefore this calls for education, andjoining hands with Jon and his ideas we shall have a revolution in our style ofhelping out the less privileged.Jon, knowing you and working with you for a good number of years, I stronglysupport you and endorse what you are starting. This is a big wake-up call to all ofus and I believe a lot will be behind you for a great success of the Church’s roleand responsibility in the lives of the less privileged in our society and the world atlarge.Fr Fabian Hevi SMARegional Superior, Kenya 3
  • • Prof. Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, England. The priorities of many aid agencies become distorted by their relationships with governments. This new initiative is most welcome as it promises to provide help in the best Christian tradition of love and charity, thus attending to the real needs of the poor rather than having to adapt to the whims of political structures. – Philip Booth• Dr. Samuel Gregg, Director of Research, Acton Institute; author of numerous works on political economy. Clearly not all is well with the operation and ethos of many Catholic charities today. Excessively reliant on government funding and seemingly anxious to put distance between themselves and the Church’s moral teachings, many have subtly hollowed out their Catholic commitments and become largely indistinguishable from the secularist alternatives. Our broken world is in desperate need of Catholic organizations that live out – without compromise – the distinctly Catholic understanding of caritas, so beautifully described by Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, and which are not beholden to anything except the truth revealed by Catholic faith and reason and the magisterial teaching of the Church. Jon Merrill’s proposal to help realize precisely such a Catholic charitable organization is only to be commended. – Samuel Gregg• Dr. Andrew Abela, Chairman, Department of Business and Economics, and Associate Professor of Marketing, Catholic University of America; Chairman of Ethics Committee, American Marketing Association. In the section of his encyclical Deus Caritas Est entitled "The distinctiveness of the Churchs charitable activity," Pope Benedict wrote that "Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies. It is not a means of changing the world ideologically, and it is not at the service of worldly stratagems, but it is a way of making present here and now the love which man always needs." (31b). Jon Merrill is to be commended for his efforts to bring this distinctive charitable activity to the worlds most needy. – Andrew Abela• James Fitzpatrick, columnist, The Wanderer. Jon Merrills effort is exactly what many Catholics have been looking for – a way to make charitable donations to serve the least of our brethren that does not serve the transnational, secular liberal agenda that has crept into too many established Catholic charitable groups. – James Fitzpatrick 4
  • • Sister Catherine Miranda, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Namaacha, Mozambique. Jon Merrills initiative to start a Catholic charitable organization attentive to the fullness of Church teaching is laudable. Having worked with him for the past years and seeing the fruit of his intervention for the orphans and vulnerable children in Mozambique who are entrusted to religious communities such as the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (my own) and the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, I look forward to seeing the establishment of this organization. I am confident that, through its “evangelistically charitable” approach to aiding the disadvantaged, it will make a great contribution to the purification of organized Catholic charity, and to advancing and supplementing the charitable work of faithful Catholic religious congregations in the developing world and elsewhere. – Sr. Catherine Miranda• Fr. PeterSixtus Emenike, C.S.Sp., Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Ethiopian Foundation. Purity of purpose and purity of tradition are essential to the distinctiveness of any charitable organization. Getting involved with governments or governmental parastatals, most non-governmental organizations are no longer “non- governmental” but “pro-governmental.” And, in an effort to be in exact tune with the “signs of the times,” many charitable organizations also deviate from their original vision, mission, and objectives. As for Catholic charity organizations, some have de-linked themselves from the Church in the process of responding to these “signs of the times.” They have lost their taste according to the Biblical proverb about “salt losing its taste.” We need a charitable organization that, while responding intelligently and with understanding and compassion to those signs of the times, will always remain true to its traditions and the Tradition. Having worked and interacted with Jon Merrill for the past years, his high level of dedication and conviction explain in themselves that he is clear about the importance of purity of purpose and purity of tradition in any organization, especially a Catholic charitable organization. The schools managed by the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans) in Borana region of Ethiopia experienced through the projects and programmes coordinated by Jon that a charity organization can successfully carry out its activities, even when funding is very tight…and remain Catholic. Jon negotiated a common vision, mission, and specific objectives with the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), Ethiopian Foundation, using verifiable indicators. We all collaborated in the activities and achieved the set targets of the various programmes we negotiated with him. This method of carrying out charitable activities was commended by our Monitoring and Evaluation Committee and has 5
  • remained a blueprint for most of our projects and programmes in the Borana region of southeastern Ethiopia. Jon, as a seasoned development (aid) coordinator and a dedicated Catholic, will bring his experience and sense of commitment to the task of establishing a distinctively Catholic charitable organization. In that task I would give him my maximum cooperation and support. Through such a charity, evangelization will get to the ends of the earth. – Fr. PeterSixtus Emenike, C.S.Sp.• Mary Ann Kreitzer, President, Les Femmes; President, Catholic Media Coalition. As a Catholic activist who has fought the secularization of many Catholic charities over the years, particularly the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, I see Jon Merrills proposal for a Catholic charity grounded in the fundamental doctrines of the Church as absolutely imperative. For too long, Catholics have poured their money into collections taken up in the pews that have misdirected donations to groups that either actively or passively embrace the values of the secular world. For Catholics to find that their donations go to pay the salaries of community organizers working to elect social liberals to public office and to promote abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexual adoption, and other evils, is outrageous. The fact that many of those involved in these charities operate with "good intentions" is no excuse. As the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I personally endorse the concept Jon Merrill has developed for a lay run, international charity to direct money to causes that are totally Catholic, operate in accordance with Church doctrine reflecting true social justice rather than socialism, and stress personal and voluntary giving versus "government charity" by taxation, an oxymoron. Such a charity that Catholics can support without reservation is long overdue. To reiterate and summarize, I support the concepts that: (1) True charity – organized as well as personal – can only be voluntary; (2) Government funding – which may be necessary for material “welfare” functions in society – must never be allowed to masquerade as or substitute for true Catholic charity; (3) It is the primary and direct responsibility of the laity – not the clergy – to direct, manage, and fund actions of organized Catholic charity; and, (4) To qualify for the name, a true Catholic charity must adhere, not only theoretically and passively, but conspicuously – as the “sign of contradiction” which the Church is obliged to be – to the most “controversial” Catholic teachings on life and family. I wish Mr. Merrill much success in this endeavor and encourage others to support the establishment of a charity that will meet these truly Catholic goals. – Mary Ann Kreitzer 6
  • • Marc Brammer, RealCatholicTV. Jon is undertaking a most worthy project. Clearly, these modern times cry out for charity that prepares and preserves both body and soul. No state or public entity has the capacity or the will to address the spiritual and corporal needs of both body and soul. Catholic charity on the other hand is uniquely qualified to serve both. It is therefore the responsibility of Catholics to undertake this important work of Militia Caritatis Dei completely separate from and independent of the state. Jon has the right idea. Jon will make a difference for many deserving souls. Jon deserves our financial support. – Marc Brammer• Fr. Kenneth Okoli C.S.Sp., Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans); previously missionary priest in Ethiopia; currently director of Revive, “supporting refugees and people seeking asylum,” Manchester, England. Many Catholic charities are formed based on the social teaching of the Church in care and service to the less privileged and in respect for the dignity of the person and equality of all. Unfortunately, many of these charities, because of financial challenges, have strayed away from their origins and become the puppet of their donors, thereby neglecting the Catholic ethos of their charity. Many now have to support government and political agendas even when it is against Catholic teachings. The good olden days of Catholic charities standing upright against the anti-Catholic social teachings and working alongside the oppressed and the poor are going far away. An initiative like this one of Jon Merrill, bringing us back to our traditional roots of authentic witness in the footsteps of Christ through our Catholic faith and tradition, is long overdue. Having worked with Jon in the past in Ethiopia and through my conversation with him, I’m quite convinced that this new initiative will uphold the great tradition of our Catholic ethos and open a new door of hope to many Catholics who are worried about the future of many of our existing Catholic charities. I am therefore pleased to endorse this initiative and urge all Catholics of good will to give this proposal their support. – Fr. Kenneth Okoli, C.S.Sp.• Stephanie Block, editor, Los Pequeños Pepper (publication of Los Pequeños de Cristo). This proposed Catholic charity remedies the precise errors that CCHD – and to a lesser extent CRS and Catholic Charities and, God love them, even the St. Vincent de Paul in some places – have embraced. As a long-time observer of such institutions, I’m pleased to endorse Jon Merrill’s proposal for an authentically Catholic charity. 7