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Austin Cline

Catholic Church: Guilty of Money-Laundering?

By November 21, 2009

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Many churches in America have set up separate divisions in their organizations to administer charitable programs in their local communities. The reason for this, rather than administering the programs directly, is that creating this separation allows them to solicit and receive government funding for the projects. Government cannot give money directly to church coffers because that money could be used for religious purposes, a violation of church/state separation. Government can, however, give money to a church-run organization where the money is separated from church funds and which is run according to secular standards.

This has worked rather well for quite some time now but the Catholic Church, which benefits massively from this process, has declared that it's actually a form of money laundering. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops didn't make this statement with respect to funding church charities, but rather about an amendment offered by Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) to the recent health care reform bill. Ellsworth's amendment would have created a separation between government funds and funds that pay for abortion, a distinction much like that relied upon by churches which receive government funds.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which speaks for the approximately 300 active bishops in the United States, sent a memo to congressional staff on Thursday about the issue. The memo, a copy of which was obtained by CNSNews.com, says that the Ellsworth amendment is not a "meaningful compromise," because merely segregating the funds would not prevent federal money from being used to fund abortion. ...

In the case of the bill's public option, the Ellsworth amendment mandates that the government segregate federal subsidy payments from individual premiums. The bishops called this a "money-laundering system" because once premiums are paid into a public option, they become federal funds. ...

Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) told CNSNews.com that House Democrats were "desperately trying to disguise" the fact that their health care overhaul would allow the federal government to pay for abortions. ...Johnson called the Ellsworth amendment a "fig leaf made out of cellophane," adding that it was nothing more than a "last minute effort" to cloak the reality of the bill.

Source: CNS News

I wonder if any of the bishops thought to run their memo by a lawyer or someone who might know to check to see if any of its contents might create problems for the USCCB. If they had, they might have been informed that the "fig leaf made out of cellophane" was something they relied upon heavily for millions of dollars in government aid. If that fig leaf is strong enough to protect their charitable program from breaching the wall separating church and state, then I'm sure it's strong enough to protect federal funds from abortions.

On the other hand, if the Catholic bishops want to insist that it's not possible to truly separate federal funds from abortion funds, then they should be willing to accept the consequences for their own charitable program. Indeed, they should be willing to take the first step and stop accepting all government funds just as a matter of principle because they cannot guarantee that their will never be any violations of church/state separation. The would demonstrate far more moral principle than I think I have seen from the USCCB, though.

Comments
November 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(1) FordManiac76 says:

I heard recently that the Catholic church was now the richest entity on the planet now, with their monies, possesions sn properties. They claim to do so much good, why aren’t they spreading the wealth. I though Jesus’message(if he actually excisted)was to give, give, give until you are poor yourself. Cathoics/Christians-What a bunch of hypocrites.

August 21, 2011 at 11:58 am
(2) KO says:

Been hearing that anti-Catholic propaganda all my life. Likely churches that compete with the Catholic church stared it.

November 22, 2009 at 1:28 am
(3) pimapen says:

Cathoics/Christians-What a bunch of hypocrites.

November 22, 2009 at 9:09 am
(4) Ron says:

I believe that now would be a good time for Rep. Patrick Kennedy to repeat a speech that was made by his uncle John on Sept 12 1960.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091122/ap_on_re_us/us_ri_bishop_kennedy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP2C0dCUD3A

November 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm
(5) Ron says:

RE: Post #3. I forgot to make my point. It is my opinion that when a church extends itself this deeply into politics then perhaps it should be stripped of it’s 501 C3 tax exemption.

November 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(6) ChuckA says:

I think so-called “Pro-Life” Christians are rather blind and deaf regarding the whole issue of abortion. Personally, I and some other fellow atheists have commented many times on the SIGNIFICANTLY tangential issue of…MISCARRIAGES…not to mention other natural, biological, “abortive processes”.
The estimated number of miscarriages is in the range of 10 to 20% of ALL pregnancies.
Of course all those factors are claimed to not be intentional; therefore ‘absolving’, for the most part (but perhaps not even completely?), the pregnant woman.
Point being; aside from any other obviously ‘sticky notions’ regarding natural biological factors, like the commonplace expulsion of a woman’s eggs and embryos …for believers, these would have to be “God’s” abortions; amounting to infinitely WAY more than the number of human painful, and certainly non-frivolously, “intentional” abortions.
In an (imaginary?) existential sense, God is the all-time, totally unrecognized, Champion Abortionist!
And (related to Ron’s point about Kennedy), what’s the big deal about a Pro-Choice Catholic receiving communion…i.e…receiving Jesus (as God, of course)…the Champion abortionist of all time? :shock:

To a long ago, childhood brainwashed, EX-Catholic and, these days, confirmed atheist, the blindness and tone-deafness…and OBVIOUS lack of critical thinking…of the religious believers…is astounding, and rather frightening, to behold. Frightening, also, because of it being blatantly introduced into the current American Health CARE debate.
Of course, it’s also intimately attached to Christianity’s longtime addicted abhorrence of ANYTHING sexual; AND, like all the inherently patriarchal, Abrahamic traditions, to the suppressive control of women and, albeit, a woman’s NATURAL power related to human reproduction.
The Catholic Church, in particular, essentially replaced woman’s, even rightful, “Goddess” position, if you will, by the enthroning of the “VIRGIN” Mary (in reality “young girl”) as the other worldly “Queen of Heaven”; a blatant exercise in “God’s” inexplicable (and ridiculously unjust?) favoritism.
No favor, of course, to the billions of long suffering women throughout the history of this forlorn planet!
[Pardon my...rather forlorn...mini-rant?]

June 25, 2010 at 12:03 am
(7) JohnBS1 says:

This is a powerful point “The estimated number of miscarriages is in the range of 10 to 20% of ALL pregnancies.” The Catholic church’s obsessional focus on the balance clearly has affect on all miscarriages. A miscarriage is a self abortion when the body rejects the fetus.

The church once again wages another false emotional argument as a result of its overall sexual dysfunction. Why so many publications continue to put these church ideals as the machinations of a broken religious ideal where they must eventually become a point of ridicule once the facts are known.

The Catholic church lost it ability to act morally and socially when it failed to treat humanely the victims of these abuses. Not only that; it continues to this day as if there is simply no human needs other than acceptance of their apology and nothing more – no support systems, no coordinated relief programs, no ability to manage or deal with those survivors who have lost all faith in religion.

As a religious consequence the failure is catastrophic and will remain so until the church implements full redress to all known victims. To do anything else is to continue to fail on an increasing and rising scale.

There is only one key to unraveling this and that is the Catholic church as a whole committing themselves to a daily pray for the return to health, wealth and good status in the community of the survivors of clergy sexual and other abuses.

Perhaps the Pope would not find that too offensive to offer us for the part we have played in bringing this out into the open.

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