In a letter dated February 18, 2016 and addressed to priests, scout leaders and the lay faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Carlson disbanded the Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts had been under increasing scrutiny by Catholics over the years because of its intimate relationships with abortion and contraception providing organizations, such as Planned Parenthood. The website Girl Scouts, Why not? is full of information documenting the Girl Scouts’ promotion of abortion and contraception pushing organizations and websites, as well as its consistent elevation of women well known for their promotion of abortion and contraception.
What is of particular interest regarding Archbishop Carlson’s disbanding of the Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts is found in his opening list of concerns about the Girl Scouts. Listed among the concerns cited by Archbishop Carlson regarding the Girl Scouts is the following:
4. Organizations that GSUSA promotes and partners with are in conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, OxFam and more. This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for “reproductive rights” (i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors)
Just to be clear, one of the reasons listed by the Archbishop of St. Louis for ending the Archdiocese’s relationship with the Girl Scouts is that it “promotes and partners with organizations that are in conflict with Catholic values” and then he identifies one of those organizations: Oxfam.
What’s interesting about this is that according to a list of grants dispensed by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for fiscal year 2014, CRS gave nearly half-a-million dollars to Oxfam. We are currently analyzing the latest list of CRS grants for fiscal year 2014, but on average, between 86% and 90% of CRS’s grants to domestic organizations go to agencies that are acting in direct conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching.
According to CRS’s 2014 grants list, CRS provided Oxfam with $441,064.
So, what is so wrong about Oxfam that Archbishop Carlson would disband a nationally recognized organization because of its partnership with it?
- be available and accessible – physically, culturally and economically – to women and men, without any form of coercion or conditionality;
- consult and involve women in policy making and programme implementation;
- provide informed choice: a variety of methods should be made available, and enough information provided so that women and men can make informed choices according to their ages and personal circumstances;
- strongly recommend the use of condoms, given the increasing rates of HIV and AIDS;
- be backed up with adequate medical services to deal with side effects and/or contraceptive failure;
- give greater priority to promoting women’s reproductive rights and reproductive health.
And just to give an example of Oxfam’s philosophy in action, here is a brief survey of a program of Oxfam-India called “Improving Maternal Health.” This program was aimed at increasing access to and awareness of “safe” abortion clinics, as well as a host of contraceptive methods. In fact, on the first page of the survey is a list of key objectives of the project. One of the key objectives is to increase “access to safe abortion services and reporting of the same institutionally.”
Throughout the survey are quotes from individuals working for Oxfam as they comment on various aspects of the project. The following quote says plenty about what Oxfam is doing in India:
We’ve compiled a more detailed profile on Oxfam and its promotion of abortion and contraception, and you can read it by clicking the link here.
Some may argue that the money CRS gave to Oxfam was not from CRS donations, went to a morally good project, and the money could not be used for spreading abortion, contraception or sterilization. However, in 2012, when asked if CRS would provide a grant to Planned Parenthood for a morally neutral or morally good project, CRS responded by saying, “We would never partner with Planned Parenthood. We’ve given this a lot of consideration, and there’s a threshold in terms of what the focus of an agency is, and the preponderance of their work.” So, at least in theory, if CRS wouldn’t provide funding to Planned Parenthood, it should also refuse funding to organizations in the same abortion and contraception expanding business.
Archbishop Carlson was right to disband the Girl Scouts because of their work with organizations that promote contraception and abortion. He was right to identify Oxfam as a major violator of Catholic moral teaching. And while Archbishop Carlson is rightly expelling an organization for collaborating with the likes of Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services is providing it (and many organizations like it) with funding.
Once again, we encourage our readers to print out the note below and politely refrain from participating in this year’s Rice Bowl campaign.
Just click the image and print the page.