“Judas was the first Catholic bishop to accept a government grant.” — Peter Kreeft
Today, according to its website, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ mission statement is “to promote the greater good which the Catholic Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place.” The conference employs over three hundred souls; laymen, deacons, priests, and religious staff the various departments, which include Migration and Refugee Services, Cultural Diversity in the Church, Domestic Social Development, International Justice and Peace, Resettlement Services, and Customer and Client Relations — to name just a few.
The daily operations of any vast bureaucracy require enormous sums to continue its mission and remain active in the public square, and the bishops’ conference is no exception. In the latest financial report (which dates to only 2018), the audit disclosed total assets of the USCCB and its affiliates of $365 million, with “total operating revenues, gains, and other supports” of $203 million.
As listed previously, there are many offices — a grand total of thirty-three — which make up the bishops’ conference. It can be said that certain departments require more funding than others, as determined by forecasted operating budgets, but as the most recent financial report suggests, the institution is financially stable and even prosperous. Yet the Conference has in recent years sought out and successfully received millions in federal funds.
By far the largest recipient of taxpayer money within the conference is the umbrella of the Resettlement Services office. According to usaspending.gov, the the bishops’ group received over $2 billion from the federal government between 2008 and 2015 for the purpose of refugee resettlement. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was one of nine major recipients to have been contracted by the federal government to “resettle refugees and asylums,” as stated by James Simpson of Foundation Watch in a piece for the Capital Research Center.
Speaking on the perhaps distorted nature of these massive funding recipients (designated as NGOs), Mr. Simpson further commented: “While six of the nine contractors are affiliated with religious groups, the false notion that they are charitable organizations just doing the Lord’s work needs to be corrected. They are federal contractors, relying on the government for most, and sometimes most all, of their income. This is big business. They do the government’s bidding, whether it honors religious principles or not.”
Deal W. Hudson, former Crisis editor and advisor to President George W. Bush on Catholic policy issues, expressed his own concerns in an interview with LifeSiteNews. “How can either institution call itself ‘Catholic’ when they have created financial dependency of the federal government?” Mr. Hudson asked. “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?”
In his blunt, straightforward response to Bostock v. Clayton County on the Senate floor, Senator Joshua Hawley urgently reminded people of faith that “it’s not time for religious conservatives to shut up. No, we’ve done that for too long. No, it’s time for religious conservatives to stand up and speak out.” The extent to which the USCCB will take heed of this call to duty remains questionable. Will the Church be forced by the federal government to give up its tax-exempt status, as first proposed by Beto O’Rourke, or will it rescind its tax-exempt status out of free will, realizing that the current political reality poses a grave threat to Catholic social doctrine?…
The above comes from a June 19 story in Crisis magazine.