Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
According to Catholic News Service, Catholic Charities USA has landed a five-year federal contract worth potentially more than $100 million.
The contract with the Department of Health and Human Services is the first the agency has received from the federal government. The monies will be used in Catholic Charities’ natural disaster relief work.
The contract governs disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes provided a federal disaster declaration is issued. It calls for the agency to organize national, regional and local teams to respond quickly and to work with disaster victims to meet their immediate needs as well as long-term needs in putting their lives back together. As a prime contractor, Catholic Charities will be able to subcontract with local agencies for the services disaster victims need and all necessary follow-up.
“It’s a model that’s dependent on local agencies being involved as well,” said Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “While we have the contract, it means we’ll be partnering with our own Catholic agencies across the country and also with other community organizations to provide this case management.”
Commentors at Catholic News Agency wonder what price the Church might have to pay for the money and what government strings will be attached to it?
As pointed out in this East Valley Tribune story, when an organization accepts any type of federal funding, the organization must fully comply with government requirements. According to professor Dr. Everett Piper of Tulsa’s Oklahoma Wesleyan University, that means an inability by such organizations to discriminate in hiring, including whether the organization has the ability to hire and employ Christians.
There are those who say that Catholic college and universities’ decisions to accept federal monies and federal student aid grants have resulted, in some cases, in faculties where the majority of educators are not Catholic, thus weakening the Catholic identity of the school and the ability of students to receive an authentically Catholic education.
Is it possible that the same could happen with Catholic Charities, or has it happened already?
For more on the issues of “antidiscrimination” and “tolerance,” read Cardinal George Pells’ recent article in First Things, titled “Intolerant Tolerance.”