What I cannot believe still is why Catholic Relief Services continues to defend some very un-Catholic positions — and now it seems, the positions of their employees — while attempting to explain away the institutional rot festering in the name of the Catholic bishops.
Of course, why are you reading this here on RedState?
The simple fact is this sea of counter-Catholic bureaucrats — including those at Catholic Relief Services — that self-promoted itself during these last four decades is the problem. Insular, protective, and at times insanely counter-Catholic, these bureaucrats assume the mantle and respectability of the Catholic Church and the network of hospitals and charities while refusing to shed their political religion… in short, rather than being faithful to the Magisterium, these unnamed and faceless bureaucrats perpetuate the very evils faithful Catholics in the pews expect them to resist.
…or so the story goes.
Yet instead of fidelity, we find a thread of lame excuses, twisted facts, and bizarre rationalizations. To this day, Catholic Relief Services continues to defend its grants to pro-abortion organizations — among which are dues-paying membership in pro-abortion organizations and pro-abortion employees.
So far, CRS has been able to correct the record precisely one time. Yet because CRS’s latest defenses are so terribly egregious, it is important that we address each case one by one. For the ease of reading, I’ll post a few links here to the relevant information. For visual proof of each, take a look at what has been written up over at Societas Restitutio.
Want to meet some of these nameless, faceless bureaucrats? To start, meet Charisse Glassman… the punchline to “what has four wheels and loves to run down pro-lifers…”
#1: Charisse Glassman
In its defense of employing Ms. Glassman, CRS said:
Charisse Glassman was an employee when she was involved in an incident in January 2011 that resulted in assault charges. She denied the charges and CRS gave her the presumption of innocence in accordance with standards of due process in this country. CRS sought legal counsel and actively inquired into this incident and other issues. She resigned in July of that year before going to trial.
The problem with Ms. Glassman’s employment at CRS really doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that CRS continued to employ her after Glassman intentionally ran down a group of pro-lifers at the March for Life. The real issue at hand is that CRS employed an individual whose philosophy was so at odds with Catholic teaching that she actually used her vehicle to run over pro-life marchers. The revelation of Ms. Glassman’s employment at CRS was one of several examples of employees who should never have been hired by CRS to begin with.
#2: Dr. Sok Pun
Dr. Sok Pun is the second employee CRS defends, claiming:
Dr. Sok Pun, who works on health and HIV/AIDS issues in Cambodia, previously worked for CARE on projects that were entirely funded by USAID, which, at the time, operated under strict U.S. government guidelines that no money went to abortions or contraception. Dr. Pun’s work with CARE would meet the guidelines of Catholic Church teaching as, of course, does all his work for CRS.
CRS claims that while with CARE, Dr. Pun’s work “would meet the guidelines of Catholic Church teaching,” however upon closer inspection, it is clear that Dr. Pun had been involved with the promotion of condom use while working for CARE. For instance, this 2006 conference report clearly shows that Dr. Pun promoted condom use. Under the description for the session on “Sexual and Gender Minorities,” Dr Pun complained that even though “most recognized condom use as a means of preventing HIV/AIDS … actual condom use was inconsistent.”
A 2002 article on HIV in Cambodia quoted Dr. Pun as he promoted condom use:
Sok Pun, HIV/AIDS Programme Manager for CARE Cambodia, said the rising trend of no-condom use in affectionate relationships needs to be addressed, but acknowledged it was not easy.
“It is difficult to make interventions because we cannot just say ‘do not trust your partner’,” he said in an interview in the capital Phnom Penh.
But the doctor says that behavioural change is imperative if Cambodia hopes to win its battle against the disease from which 12,000 Cambodians have died as of 2001.
“HIV/AIDS is dynamic. Without effective interventions we will lag behind the epidemic. We have to move faster than the epidemic,” he said.
And it should not be forgotten that it is Dr. Pun who is on the steering committee of the viciously pro-abortion MEDiCAM for CRS. But in addition to that, Dr. Pun is also currently on the steering committee for another organization that promotes condom use.
Dr. Sok Pun sits on the steering committee of HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee (HACC) as a representative of Catholic Relief Services. Page 18 of this 2011 annual report for HACC explains that it is introducing a new condom called “Love Condom,” and that it has distributed 120,000 condoms and “other promotional materials” primarily aimed at youth.
In summary, Dr. Sok Pun worked for CARE, and while he was there, complained that not enough young people were using condoms, and now that he is working for CRS, he is on the steering committee for an organization that is just as committed to the spread of abortion as Planned Parenthood, as well as on the steering committee of another organization that is actively distributing condoms. CRS’ claim that Dr. Pun is not engaged in activities contrary to Catholic teaching and that he is bringing the Catholic position to these organizations committed to the Culture of Death is pure nonsense.
#3: Dr. Amy Ellis
Regarding Dr. Amy Allis, CRS was quick to correct the record regarding her alleged participation in the 2011 Family Planning Conference. While it is true that she did not attend that conference as a “participant or presenter,” she did play a roll. Amy Ellis was one of the authors of a document titled, Understanding beliefs about birth spacing among married women in Somaliland. The stated objectives of this report, which Dr. Ellis co-authored, are:
to identify beliefs related to birth spacing and family planning among married women of reproductive age in urban Somaliland; to assess knowledge of and sources of information for different family planning methods; to explore current and past experiences with different family planning methods; and to gain an in-depth understanding of barriers and motivators associated with family planning behaviors.
Keep in mind that Dr. Ellis came from the Population Council, where she helped produce and review a HIV/AIDS handbook which heavily promotes condom use titled, Designing HIV/AIDS Intervention Studies: An Operations Research Handbook. With this sort of thing on Dr. Ellis’ resume, one has to wonder just how closely she is going to adhere to Catholic teaching. Nonetheless, CRS maintains that Dr. Ellis’ participation in the “Women Deliver” conference was just to learn about newborn care:
Dr. Ellis did attend a conference in Bangladesh in May entitled “Asia Regional Meeting on Interventions for Impact in Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care.” She was there as a learning participant, focusing on maternal and neonatal health, gleaning valuable information and contacts to further CRS’ expertise in caring for and saving the lives of mothers and young children.
So, CRS admits that Dr. Ellis was indeed a participant in this conference. What CRS fails to mention is that participants in this meeting made a series of key recommendations, including the following:
REVITALIZE FAMILY PLANNING: Family planning is a key intervention for saving lives of young girls, women and newborns. Family planning needs to be repositioned and revitalized, as family planning today is not seen as a key intervention. We also need to expand access to meet the unmet needs for contraception including that for youth / young people.
Given Dr. Ellis’ work for the Population Council and Population Services International, both major population control organizations, and the fact that she authored at least two documents that promote contraception, it stands to reason that she would carry that philosophy with her to the Women Deliver Conference which recommended the expansion of “family planning services.”
#4: Daphyne Williams
Finally, CRS defended the hiring of Daphyne Williams, who spent her entire career working for pro-abortion, pro-contraception organizations, claiming that:
As is expected of all staff at CRS, Daphyne has carefully abided by all Church teaching in her work for CRS, adhering to CRS’ strong position against the use of contraceptives and abortions.
To this, I would simply ask CRS to explain this April 2010 document titled, Drug Recovery and Reintegration Standard Operating Procedure Manual. The manual says:
A number of people have helped with the writing and review of this manual including: Shannon Senefeld, Senior Technical Advisor for HIV, CRS Headquarters, Natalie Kruse-Levy, CRS Southeast Asia Regional HIV Technical Advisor; Prakash Nellepalli, HIV Technical Advisor, CRS Headquarters; Daphyne Williams, CRS HIV Technical Advisor; Devon Dunsmore, International Development Fellow with CRS Vietnam and Andrew Wells-Dang, CRS Vietnam Representative.
So, to be clear, this is an official CRS document, written and reviewed by CRS personnel, including one Daphyne Williams. It is important to be clear that Daphyne Williams participated in the writing of this document as an employee of CRS, and that this is itself a CRS document because it very clearly provides instructions regarding condoms that are NOT in line with Church teaching. For instance, Tool 2: Agenda: Sessions for Active Drug Users Program, beginning on page 83, provides a schedule of sessions for patients in the center for drug addicts. Session number 24, found on page 85 says, “Contest on HIV-related knowledge: questions and how to use condoms properly.” Honestly, I can’t think of any reason why a CATHOLIC document would have the phrase “how to use a condom properly” in it. But there’s more.
Page 160 attempts to deflect any claims that CRS has anything to do with condom distribution, but fails utterly by admitting that CRS “programs can give complete and accurate information on harm reduction methods and condoms.” In full, the answer to the question, “Can CRS or our program distribute needles or condoms to its clients? Is:
ANSWER: No. CRS and its programs can give complete and accurate information on harm reduction methods and condoms, but it does not distribute or promote either of these items. There are other programs that distribute these commodities within the project area of CRS’ rehabilitation center. It is the responsibility of the Center to provide clients with complete and accurate information along with information on all other related services provided in the area.
Page 162 provides an outline for a 30 minute session on “Issues Related to Sex and HIV,” asks a number of questions related to “safe sex,” including whether condom use is considered to be “safe sex” by medical professionals. Page 163 provides the statement that “women have the economic rights to refuse unprotected sex,” and the session concludes with the statement”
Thank each participant for their attendance and participation. Do not forget to provide information on local condom provision or HIV counseling and testing services. Inform them about the next topical talk/session.
Now I wonder what precisely the Vatican would think about this? Oh yes… we already know the answer to that question thanks to Pope Benedict XVI’s papal address on 30 August 2012:
Dear brothers and sisters, the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist reminds us, Christians of our time, that we can not stoop to compromises with the love of Christ, his Word, the Truth. The Truth is the Truth and there is no compromise. Christian life requires, so to speak, the daily “martyrdom” of fidelity to the Gospel, that is the courage to let Christ grow in us and direct our thinking and our actions. But this can only happen in our lives if there is a solid relationship with God. Prayer is not a waste of time, it does not rob much space from our activities, not even apostolic activities, it does the exact opposite: only if we are able to have a life of faithful, constant, confident prayer will God Himself give us the strength and capacity to live in a happy and peaceful way, to overcome difficulties and to bear witness with courage. St. John the Baptist intercede for us, so that we always maintain the primacy of God in our lives.
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Indonesia, Japan and Malta. Today, the Church celebrates the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist. John, whose birth we celebrate on the twenty-fourth of June, gave himself totally to Christ, by preparing the way for him through the preaching of repentance, by leading others to him once he arrived, and by giving the ultimate sacrifice. Dear friends, may we follow John’s example by allowing Christ to penetrate every part of our lives so that we may boldly proclaim him to the world. (emphasis added)
Now does any of this institutional rot at Catholic Relief Services sound like “boldly proclaim(ing) Him to the world” to anyone else?
Didn’t think so.
So, there you have it folks … a CRS-published Standard Operating Procedure Manual instructing CRS staff to tell people participating in its program where to find condoms. This is contraceptive promotion, it is being done by Catholic Relief Services, and Daphyne Williams is named as a writer/reviewer of this document that does instructs CRS staffers to inform participants where they can find condoms.
Yet CRS continues to defend its grants to pro-abortion organizations.
CRS defends the dues-money it gives to organizations spreading abortion and contraception. CRS is defending the hiring of employees who come from organizations that spread abortion and contraception.
…and this is just the stuff that exists on the internet.
Does anyone want to wager that a full-fledged investigation of Catholic Relief Services conducted by an independent review panel on behalf of the American bishops would turn out a whole heck of a lot more?