The following letter (the title "Questioning Catholic Charities" was added by the paper) was published in the March 21, 1997 edition of The Gulf Pine Catholic on page 4:

Questioning Catholic Charities

Your March 14, 1997 edition contained a Guest Commentary by John M. Murray entitled "With Friends Like This..." which took Sen. Santorum to task for his insightful remarks regarding Catholic Charities USA vehement opposition to welfare reform. I was disappointed that you chose not to provide an opposing commentary to provide a balanced view.
What Murray and many others are missing is why would a Catholic and Senator of Santorum's stature even seek such a controversy, perhaps Sen. Santorum has a legitimate argument. Just what is Catholic about Catholic Charities? Murray retorts that because Catholic Charities "..exemplifies the very spirit of the Beatitudes.." it must be Catholic.
Just about every religion on the planet engages in some sort of charitable effort, therefore are they now automatically Catholics?
A much more extensive article by CNS (in the February 21, 1997 issue of the Gulf Pine Catholic) provides a motivation for Catholic Charities' protests - over 60 per cent of its funding is from various government levels, therefore, Catholic Charities USA lacks objectivity (and apparently candor) in this debate.
So neither Mr. Murray or anyone else has answered Sen. Santorum's initial question - What is Catholic about Catholic Charities USA?
It seems to me that Catholic Charities USA is performing a service not unlike the money changers in the Temple - exchanging the state sponsored money into clean, good-conscience money.
Richard H. Bouchard


Sen. Santorum
Catholic Charities USA
Catholic News Service

Back to Opinion Page
Richard's Page
The Bouchards' Page