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MCDExamples MCDExamples Document Transcript

  • Examples of Charitable Projects to be Supported by Militia Caritatis DeiThe following examples are meant to give an idea of the type of charitable activities that MilitiaCaritatis (MCD) will support – or not support – and the type of charitable service opportunities thatwill be available to members of the organization’s “Catholic Peace Corps” arm, Militia PacisChristi (MPC). The examples are real – the names might have been changed to protect theinnocent or guilty – or are based on a composite of really-existing projects.+ Kindergarten Support; west-central ETHIOPIA The Consolata Fathers Institute, a missionary society, operates a Catholic kindergarten in a remote, neglected area in western Ethiopia. “Access to schools is very limited and the financial situation of the households is very poor,” writes the society’s provincial superior. “Proper kindergarten educational facilities are non-existent in the area.” A Spanish Catholic aid agency gave funding for the construction of a simple building to house the kindergarten…but finding money to actually operate the school is a much more difficult matter: The Consolatas don’t have sufficient funds of their own; there is no local or national government support; and most families are too poor to pay the full fees that would cover operating costs. As for “external” charitable support: The major secular-government aid agencies would not consider touching this too humble and too “sectarian” project. The mainstream “Catholic” humanitarian agencies – functioning to a large extent as contractor-agents of those same secular governments – are either forbidden by contract to direct their aid to a specifically Catholic endeavor, or are not themselves interested because the project is not developmentally trendy enough and its results are not sufficiently “measurable,” or both. So, without external assistance the Consolatas will be obliged, as their only option, to charge higher fees…which will exclude most of the poorer children in the community, thus defeating one of the major charitable objectives of the project. -- MCD will provide $15,000/year to subsidize about 65% of the kindergarten’s operating costs. (The Consolata Fathers will raise the remaining funds from school fees and other charitable sources.) About 200 children per year will benefit. -- MPCs will: teach or provide teacher-assistance at the kindergarten; follow up with, mentor, and do home visits with the neediest of the pupils; provide catechetical assistance at the parish run by the Consolata Fathers; monitor the use of MCD assistance and account for that funding. ∗ Antonio Vismara, Consolata provincial superior in Ethiopia, tells me that he considers education to be the key to development in that country, as 1
  • well as being the sector in which the Catholic Church can most effectively and appropriately make a charitable contribution. I hear the same claim from religious and lay Catholic charitable “practitioners” in other African countries. If it is also true, as the pope writes, that “life in Christ is the first and principal factor of development,” and if we take that “scandalous,” “particularist” assertion seriously, does it not almost logically follow that Catholic charitable donors can best contribute to development in poorer areas of the world through their support to specifically Catholic educational endeavors; by helping to provide an authentic, unadulterated education on “life in Christ” to disadvantaged children? While willing to consider the funding of any type of legitimate charitable activity in a developing country, as proposed by a local Catholic group, Militia Caritatis will nevertheless give priority to projects of Catholic education. These projects will not be flashy; they may not be trendy. They will not feature photos or sentimentalist descriptions of allegedly “starving” children, in so doing objectifying and diminishing their “beneficiaries” in a cynical attempt to better extract money from misguidedly guilt-ridden foreigners eager to make a display of their superficial and politically-correct “compassion.” And what they might have of statistically “measurable results” – so beloved of the short-term, this- world-focused secular-philanthropist quantifiers and their “Catholic” epigones – might only become evident in the long run… and perhaps not even then, as life-in-Christ results – the only important ones – will far exceed the pathetic, hopelessly inadequate measurement capacities of the development bureaucrats.+ Food and Education Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children; Kibera, Nairobi, KENYA In Kibera, often called “the largest slum in Africa,” a women’s religious congregation had for many years managed a project for orphans and especially needy children that (a) provided lunches at several school sites for children who otherwise would have gone without, and (b) paid the primary-school fees for selected children whose caretakers lacked the means. Dwindling vocations and financial resources forced the Sisters to abandon the project and turn it over to a secular philanthropy…whose subsequent mismanagement led to the complete cessation of assistance. Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, situated at the edge of Kibera, now wants to resume this aid, but lacks the human and financial resources. -- MCD will provide $30,000/year to the parish to assist about 100 children with food and 100 with school expenses. 2
  • -- MPCs will: monitor the project and account for the funding; follow up with and mentor the orphans; tutor selected students; provide catechetical assistance at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. ∗ Militia Caritatis is a Catholic charitable organization. In keeping with the Catholic principle of subsidiarity and the Biblical and common-sense principle of responsibly providing, first, for the needs of one’s own (religious) family, it will thus prioritize assistance to Catholics. Aid to non- Catholics, however, is by no means excluded. The evangelization imperative in fact compels it, where possible and appropriate. In this project, for example, assistance is given to children regardless of their religious affiliation. This is entirely appropriate and does not violate the principle of subsidiarity because: Here the non-Catholic beneficiary, unable to provide for himself and not provided for by his “first-level society,” i.e., by his family, is also not receiving help, as would “normally” be the case, at one of the next higher levels, e.g., from his extended family, from his own religious community, or from another neighborhood/community group. Thus, in succoring these non-Catholic children, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish is not usurping the role of another helping agent or group which, being “closer” to the children, would theoretically be the proper “first responder.” Since this Catholic parish has an obligation, when and where it can, to aid those of its non-Catholic neighbors who are not being helped by a “lower-level society,” it is fitting and a true act of “evangelistic charity” for Militia Caritatis Dei, through the local parish, to help these children who are not in the family of the Faith. In doing so, Militia Caritatis and the parish obviously eschew the “proselytism” (of quid-pro-quo compulsion) that is sometimes attributed to Christian charities – often falsely and maliciously. Equally rejected is the “opposite,” far more common approach favored by the secularized and/or government-supported “Catholic” aid agencies, that of “hiding” the Faith or presenting a de-Christianized, “humanitarian” version of it. Yes, when we’re in good moods and on our toes, it is to be hoped that “they will know we are Christians by our love”…but they will also know it because we haven’t been afraid or ashamed to mention the fact.+ School/Home for the Physically Handicapped; Mwanza, ZAMBIA The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi struggle to manage and support a residential school for the physically handicapped in western Zambia. Government assistance – in the form of the payment of the salaries of a few teachers – is minimal. Tuition payments from the families of the students must be kept almost nominal so as not to exclude most of the children. The international religious congregation – originally mainly 3
  • Italian but now headed by a Zambian and peopled largely by Africans and other non-Italians – is far from having the resources to cover all costs. It is only through the ad hoc, local money-making enterprises of one particularly energetic and enterprising Zambian Sister, and through her ability to raise a certain amount of funding from abroad, that the school remains afloat. -- MCD will provide $40,000/year to cover the cost of food – about 40% of the institution’s operating budget – for the school’s 250 handicapped children. -- MPCs will: teach, tutor, and counsel at the school; assist with the physical upkeep of the home; provide physical therapy for certain handicapped students; communicate with the families of the children on student progress/problems; monitor and account for the MCD funding. ∗ In many parts of Africa, physically and mentally handicapped children, often stigmatized, shunned, or ignored, are truly among, if not the, “poorest of the poor.” Families living at subsistence levels can be unable or unwilling to provide the assistance these children need for their very survival. In such situations, private institutions run by the Church can be the only lifeline for the handicapped…but such schools and homes are often on the brink of failure. Care for the visibly weakest and most vulnerable among us having always been a powerful means of Christian witness, a compelling testimony to the love of God, caritas Dei, it is appropriate that Militia Caritatis Dei give special attention to such endeavors.+ Maternity Wing Construction at St. Michael’s Dispensary; western TANZANIA An international “society of apostolic life,” the St. Patrick Missionary Society, and a local women’s religious community, the Assumption Sisters of Nandi, are together trying provide basic medical and maternal-health care to the transient population of a slum area outside of a major city in western Tanzania. They provide services from a well-kept but cramped facility, with inadequate space for a separate maternity section. Here’s how the local Tanzanian nurse in charge, an Assumption Sister, describes the situation: “There is need for more rooms to serve the maternity wing. We are unable to serve expectant mother at term because we don’t have rooms. There is a big demand for the services and the unit has to refer them to the district hospital which is a distance away and with an overwhelmed maternity wing. In the 4
  • maternity wing, pregnant mothers are assisted to have live and healthy infants. The mother is taken care of psychologically, physically, and emotionally. “Through the maternity unit, the dispensary will be able to manage over 400 mothers yearly with difficult labour who are referred from traditional birth attendants. Sick/premature babies, over 100 yearly, will be nursed in the baby care unit. The above will help lessen the number of home deliveries, the incidence of vesicovaginal fistulae, and the mortality rate of pregnant mothers and unborn babies. The unit will benefit over 600 expectant mothers yearly directly. The unit is operating on a strict Catholic foundation but the health facility does not discriminate on the basis of faith. The facility gives community health talks twice a week with the aim of improving the health conditions of the population.” -- MCD will provide $25,000 for the construction of the maternity wing and the purchase of all medical equipment and furniture necessary for the proper operation of the wing. -- MPCs will: aid in the supervision and the construction of the maternity wing; monitor and account for the use of the MCD funding; provide ongoing assistance as nurses, nurse-aids, and midwives.+ Social Assistance, Nursing, Teaching, Catechizing; northwestern JAMAICA The Missionaries of the Poor, Sisters (currently mainly young women from the Philippines), a new, more traditional order, has taken over social and missionary duties in Jamaica from an American-based women’s community which is expiring from attrition and lack of vocations. The new order and the Jamaican dioceses to which its members are assigned struggle to find financial support for the Sisters, as they serve in the following ways: visiting and giving material support to the indigent elderly; teaching and counseling at a local Catholic girls school; providing administrative services and ministering to the ill and dying at Hope Health Clinic and the Hope Hospice for the Dying (many HIV/AIDS patients); catechizing children and adults in a remote, mountainous parish. -- MCD will provide $15,000/year to cover some of the living expenses of six Sisters, allowing them to carry out the above social and missionary responsibilities. -- MPCs will: aid the Sisters in their teaching, nursing, counseling, administrative, and catechetical duties. 5
  • + General Charitable Assistance to Priority Projects Designated by the Archbishop of Colombo; SRI LANKA Declaring the Year of the Eucharist in his Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith writes: “Uppermost in our mind is the urgency to live the Eucharist in daily life through well-coordinated and directed works of charity. … We need to break ourselves for others, and be pressed and crushed for justice and peace simultaneously as we believe and celebrate this most holy Sacrament. … I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. … Latin still remains the main liturgical language of the Church. In Sri Lanka we made a mistake in abandoning the language of our worship altogether. Let this Eucharistic Year be an occasion for us to resuscitate this lost tradition at least to some extent. … I also wish to affirm that as indicated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7th July 2007 priests and institutions are now permitted to celebrate, where it is appropriate, the Tridentine Mass and the Sacraments in that rite. In this case it is best that the faithful be prepared for it beforehand.” -- MCD will provide $50,000/year to priority social, educational, catechetical, and liturgy-training projects as designated by the Archbishop of Colombo. -- MPCs will: teach Latin, English, and other subjects in local Catholic schools; assist in the execution or administration of priority charitable projects as advised by the archbishop of Colombo; monitor and account for the use of the MCD funding.+ Community-Based Orphan-Support; BUNDWELA: Funding Denied A group of local, nominally Catholic women, responding selflessly and sacrificially to the unmet needs of large number of AIDS orphans living in slums around the capital city of this east African country, found an organization to mobilize community volunteers to help provide these children with various forms of non-institutional support – e.g., supplemental food, home visits, medical consultations, partial payment of school fees. This approach might or might not be the most effective way to address the plight of these orphans, but, in any case, the organization is efficiently managed and it is certainly succeeding in alleviating some of the material distress of its beneficiaries. It receives substantial financial support from an American ambidextrous “Catholic”/Protestant charity, and it enjoys at least the tacit endorsement of the local Catholic bishop. It also – probably unbeknownst to that bishop – uses morally-relativistic “values- 6
  • clarification” techniques in the sex-education lectures it delivers at localsecondary schools; promotes the use of certain prophylactic/“birth control”methods that are at least “officially” condemned by the Catholic Church;and, when counseling adolescents on “family life,” employs as anacceptable reference the now-standard, secular, Planned-Parenthood-inspired, polymorphously perverse, UN-funded literature on inter- andintra-gender relations.When the group requests financial assistance from MCD, it is refused, onthe grounds that, in word and deed, it is violating Catholic moral guidelinesand principles of the natural law.∗ MCD is a traditional, orthodox Catholic charity. We slavishly toe thetraditional and “official” lines (praying that those will always be identical)on issues of practical morality. Concerning the Church’s teaching onsexual morality specifically, here’s how we see it, as through a glassdarkly:Western society’s current moral endorsement of the practice ofpolymorphous perversity (P3) – to use an objective, nonjudgmentaltechnical designation – seems to be shaping both the behavior and thedoctrinal thinking of some of our bishops and many of our priests. Thanksto the more advanced laity in “developed” countries – especially thoseeducated at “Catholic” colleges – it has also definitely moved what couldbe claimed to be the sensus fidelium towards a laissez-faire positionfavorable to full or partial P3. Going with the flow of this sensus, the major,mainstream “Catholic” relief and development organizations, especiallythose funded heavily by Western governments and directed by groups ofbishops from the developed North, see absolutely no ethical problem orissue of Catholic integrity or “conflict of interest” or scandal in taking hugesums of money from the very governments which are, proudly andconspicuously, the major financers and fomenters of P3 – includingabortion, an inevitable P3 byproduct – in the poorer South, nor incooperating with those “population” and “health” institutions which arevocally committed to making the world safe for P3 and abortion. Such“Catholic” “humanitarian” “charities” are also staffed largely by programdirectors who, when not yet courageous or philosophically consistentenough to openly and wholeheartedly embrace theoretical P3-ism, areeager to let it be known – “Some of my best friends are P3-ers!” – that theyare at least on that enlightened path.MCD, too, certainly wants to keep up with progressive trends in human-rights thinking, when permissible…but, try as we might, we cannot detectthat the “official” Catholic line – always a bit skeptical of P3 – has changedin this area. Moreover, when – in trying for program planning purposes toanticipate a change (or rather “development”) in the Church’s P3 position 7
  • which would be more in keeping with the spirit of the age and allow us towork more happily with the Red Cross, Save the Children, CAFOD, andthis dedicated women’s group in Bundwela – we look to Scripture andTradition for an “opening”…we look in vain. However, we are admittedlynot very theologically sophisticated, and our readings are likely superficialand time-bound. We perhaps fail to understand the historical and culturalcontingency of what had appeared to us to be moral absolutes. “Hopesprings eternal,” say even some of our own workers – who, though“traditional,” are only human – as they pantingly pray that, along withpeace, the Church will give P3 a chance.But until It does, MCD and all of its workers – panters and non-panters –will consider themselves bound – not so much as Catholics but as menand women of simple honesty, decency, and integrity who would find itshameful and dishonorable to be members of a Church or servants of anorganization with whose “official” principles they are in disagreement – togive full assent, in word and deed – yea, even in thought, you panters – tothe traditional and official teaching of the Catholic Church on relationsbetween and within the sexes.MCD will neither cooperate with nor accept funding or other support fromprivate institutions, “nongovernmental” organizations, corporations,governmental agencies, or individuals who publicly express and/or act onmoral views counter to the teaching of the Church, particularly in whatPope Benedict XVI called the “decisive” moral area of life and family, intowhich the P3 issue falls. MCD will not itself provide funding to, or lend thesupport of its workers to, “Catholic” organizations or projects which violateMagisterial teaching on life and the family.This policy will distinguish us from the mainstream international “Catholic”relief agencies, which are not nearly so squeamish.The two primary justifications (or rationalizations) which those agenciesgive for what we consider to be their unnecessary cooperation with evil –on the rare occasions when they even feel it necessary to giveexplanations – are to us far from convincing.They will, first, claim that the funding that they take from or give to a“morally suspect” organization is restricted to only the “legitimate,” moralparts of the organization. Their cooperation with a particular branch oraspect of that entity – as either beneficiary or benefactor – in no wayimplies and should not be seen, they say, as Catholic support to orendorsement of the less savory activities of the organization.We say, to the contrary, that cooperation, in both its financial and moralaspects, is fungible, and thus indeed constitutes and can easily be seen 8
  • as Catholic approval of all of the activities and aims of the suspectorganization: Cooperation in the form of donated money, supposedlyrestricted to one “good” part of an organization, can, with some accountinglegerdemain, be moved by the recipient to a “bad” part, or it can simply beused to free up other organizational resources for the support of the badstuff.As for moral cooperation – the practical, social, and moral approval whichthe Catholic party confers by its willingness to associate with the offendingorganization: Since such cooperation is perfectly “liquid,” indeedintangible, its transfer from one (good) part of the organization to another(bad) part is even more easily accomplished than the shifting around ofthe financial cooperation. It is thus even more important, meaningful, anduseful to the organization which is using immoral means in one or moreareas of its activity. It will be rightly understood both by the suspectorganization itself and by scandalized observers that the Catholic party’swillingness to cooperate in any way or in any area – when the Catholicside could, after all, have found other ways to accomplish its charitablegoals – constitutes a tacit endorsement of the organization and indicatesthat the Catholic side thinks that those “bad parts”…are maybe really notso bad after all. (“We just need to give the ‘official’ Church time to catchup.”)The second rationalization used by the mainstream “Catholic” charitableagencies, related to but a bit more sophisticated than the first, and usuallyproffered by an official “ethics advisor,” probably a cleric or religiousbelonging to one of the more “liberal” congregations, will employ technical,moral-theological, “material-cooperation” arguments to try to show that inorder to accomplish a charitable good it is necessary, and thus justifiable,for the “Catholic” agency to work routinely with a semi-dastardlyorganizationThat simply will not wash. Only if there were no other way for the“Catholic” agency to render charitable assistance would it have possiblybeen justifiable for it to regularly cooperate with an organization which hadpublicly embraced moral principles opposed to those of the CatholicChurch and the natural law. (And probably not even then; for “a good enddoes not justify an evil means.”) But in the real world, there is almostalways another way; a way that does not involve the use of immoralmeans or cooperation with evil-promoting organizations.When a “Catholic” relief and development organization claims, then, that itis “obliged” to cooperate with and take a major percentage of its fundingfrom USAID – the primary propagandist for and promoter of P3, artificial“family planning,” and abortion in the developing world today – what it isreally saying is that it is unwilling to give up the fantastic financial 9
  • resources which, though morally tainted and coercively extracted,contribute to its worldly prestige and influence. It is saying that the largeamounts of food that it is able through this means to deliver to hungrypeople during a natural disaster justify its cooperation with evil. (Note that,had the “Catholic” agency correctly refused such cooperation, thosehungry people would have been just as well fed by another secularcontractor of USAID – and all organizational servants of USAID, includingthe “faith-based” ones, are obliged to work as “secular” contractors.) Andit is saying that it is unwilling to use alternative, moral means – i.e., fundsraised from voluntary donors rather than from coerced taxpayers – to carryout charitable activities.As noted, then, MCD will try to conspicuously distinguish itself from the“mainstream” “Catholic” relief agencies by using only moral charitablemeans – i.e., voluntary, free-will donations – and by a policy ofconspicuous non-cooperation with evil-promoting organizations. Theobject is, not to become a “major player” in the secular world’s system of“humanitarian”-assistance delivery, but to provide a safe, effective, andefficient way for authentic Catholics to support authentically Catholicworks of evangelistic charity around the world.If you think, by the way, that the above, Bundwela example represents anunusual or unimportant case, or that its inclusion in this list is evidence oftraditional Catholics’ unseemly focus on, or even “obsession” with, mattersof sexual morality, when it is “social justice” issues that need to receiveour priority attention, we should point out that…you are wrong. Or thatyou have somehow missed the massive “population-control” andanti-“family-values” campaigns that have been waged by rich Westerngovernments and institutions against the materially-poorer people of theSouth for the last fifty years – and which continue unabated. (Is that waron the people of the South not itself a matter of “social justice”?) If it is wewho are “obsessed,” that is not (usually) due to our own disorderedinclinations, but is a necessary defensive reaction to an enduring idée fixeof those powerful governments and institutions, to their obsessivelyunreasoning conviction that “birth control,” abortion, and partial to full P3will save the world.Consider, if you are skeptical, just one recent, typical, telling example: apolicy initiative of the United Kingdom’s Department for InternationalDevelopment (DFID), the functional and philosophical equivalent of theUSA’s Agency for International Development which funds the Americanbishops’ Catholic Relief Services. DFID has announced that it will “nowhave an unprecedented focus on family planning [euphemism for artificialbirth control, polymorphous perversity, and abortion promotion], which willbe hard-wired into all our country programs.” “Key proposals for UKaction” include “modern methods of family planning such as implants, 10
  • injectables and IUDs” and “ensuring abortion services are safe.” “Familyplanning will be at the heart of DFID’s approach to women’s health in thedeveloping world.”So: “unprecedented focus,” “hardwired into all country programs,” “at theheart of the approach.” Now, tell me again which side it is that is sex“obsessed”? Is it those Western secular government agents of asupposedly easily-identifiable and attainable “social justice”…or thoseCatholics who confidently carry out humble but meaningful works of truecharity while at the same time working for, or rather peaceably searchingfor, a social justice which they know that this world will yield, even at itsoccasional best, only partially and feebly?The Bundwela example is indeed typical and widespread: a local, well-intentioned “Catholic” charitable group that has been pressured by apowerful donor, or been truly convinced from breathing the ambientsecular and “Catholic” air, to include in its program activities which violateChurch teaching on life and the family. The large, nominally Catholic aidagencies – themselves having been so convinced – give a wink and a nodto those local “Catholic” groups. MCD – for better or worse, and until weget the Magisterium’s own pro-P3 go-ahead – won’t. 11