62% of Catholic Charities $ from US Gov't?

I found this video on a website that I think misrepresents what the Bishop said, so I used a link from the network. Other than what Cardinal Dolan said, or may have said, they repeat it here, but the thing I found striking at minute 3:40 is the claim that in 2010 the US Government gave 2.9 billion dollars to Catholic Charities, which would be 62% of it’s budget. And that CC got more money from the Obama administration than from Bush.

I had no idea Catholic Charities or any other charities, got money from the US Government.

Does anyone know if this is true or how to find out? Does this mean the taxpayers are being forced to support the Church? Is Catholic Charities considered part of the Church?

I really am confused in terms of the 1st Amendment with what’s going on here. I’m not even sure this should be in this forum. Is there some informed person who can explain this or confirm it or prove it’s wrong?

(if you watch the video, once it gets started, you can use the slider at the bottom to go forward to 3:40and skip the criticism of the Bishop parts)

They receive money through goverment grants just like other social services type charities, for example HUD grants for their housing programs. And they are also likely a government contractor receiving contracts to provide services and would be paid for those contracts. This is very common in social services.

You can look them up on charity sites and take a look at their 990, but you are not going to see details on government grants, just totals. Also, each Catholic Charities in each diocese is its own 501 ©(3) so you are going to have to look at them individually.

There is a large Catholic social services organization in my city. They cover several rural counties and have done wonderful works. They receieve a number of grants and funding from various private and government sources. This information is easy to find on the internet as it is public record.

I see no issue at all with this. The fact is, if it was not for The Catholic Church this organization would not exist. People can complain that government funds are going to these organizations, but, almost all charities are faith based. I’m sure there must be some, but I’ve never heard of any athiest groups working with the lepers of Calcutta, or secular progressives feeding and caring for the poor…


It sounds to me like Uncle Sam is getting one heck of a deal that it could never do through other organizations. They are using the thousands of volunteers provided by Catholic Charities. If Uncle Sam pulls it’s financial support it sets itself up for failure, people falling between the cracks.

I would like to know how much money Catholic Charities are saving the government. For example, they placed half the children for adoption in Massachusetts, and that is only one state. What about all the other work they do. Catholic Charities members agencies served more than 10.3 million people in 2011.

Secular charities get money from the government, why shouldn’t faith based charities?

I see. So, these are charities run by Catholics, but they are not part of the Church? Aren’t Catholic Charities in each diocese administrated by the diocese?

Googling about, it appears that about 62% of Catholic Charities funds come from the federal government. About 3% comes from private donations by Catholics to their diocese. The balance is corporate donations, trusts, and other entities.

I can see how this could become an issue in the areas of abortion, gay rights, and sex education. Federal money always has rules attached to it.

As far as legally, they are separate entities (to avoid liability concerns). However, it is usually required that the sitting bishop be on the board, and that they follow Catholic teaching.

Required by their own by-laws, I assume? And I don’t think this is about liability, because as non-separate entities, how would they get any government money?

Yes, by their own by-laws.

They get government money the same way all other non-profits (or even for-profits) get government money. Through grants or contracts.

And yes having separate legal entities is about liability. Do you want the non-profits paying out for the sex abuse cases? Or what about the diocese paying out for an employment discrimination case against the charity. (Now a lot of diocese run their own programs and have a Catholic Charities, but that is usually the reason for having separate institutions that are more or less the same). But this has nothing to do with how they get their money.

Well, I can certainly be wrong, but I thought in the US, churches could not apply for government monies as a first amendment issue. If the government favored on church over another it could be seen as promoting/establishing a religion. I thought this went to Court in the 50s. Like I said, I could be wrong.

And no, I wouldn’t want Catholic Charities to pay damages to sexual assault victims, I don’t think that the American taxpayers money should be used for that.

Required by their own by-laws, I assume? And I don’t think this is about liability, because as non-separate entities, how would they get any government money?

Here’s what canon law has to say on the subject:

Can. 1274 §1. Each diocese is to have a special institute which is to collect goods or offerings for the purpose of providing, according to the norm of can. 281, for the support of clerics who offer service for the benefit of the diocese, unless provision is made for them in another way.

§2. Where social provision for the benefit of clergy has not yet been suitably arranged, the conference of bishops is to take care that there is an institute which provides sufficiently for the social security of clerics.

§3. Insofar as necessary, each diocese is to establish a common fund through which bishops are able to satisfy obligations towards other persons who serve the Church and meet the various needs of the diocese and through which the richer dioceses can also assist the poorer ones.

§4. According to different local circumstances, the purposes mentioned in §§2 and 3 can be obtained more suitably through a federation of diocesan institutes, through a cooperative endeavor, or even through an appropriate association established for various dioceses or for the entire territory of the conference of bishops.

§5. If possible, these institutes are to be established in such a way that they also have recognition in civil law.

CIC, Canon 1274 (emphasis added).

Bishops are permitted to create sub-entities smaller than the diocese for administrative convenience. Some, such as parishes and seminaries, are automatically separate juridic entities if legitimately created; others, such as schools and universities, are separate juridic entities if the bishop says so in creating them. But, as an administrative matter, it’s easier to make them separate entities. That’s why you usually find them being created separately. But there are other reasons, too: a bishop who wants to engage in charitable works and apply for grants to do it might create a separate entity so it isn’t disqualified from grants by virtue of being an arm of the diocese, which exists primarily to proselytize. And, of course, if they’re separate entities under canon law, then they need to be seperate entities under civil law as well, or there can be incredible problems legally.

I know Catholic Relief Services gets the majority of their funds from the US government. Most of their work is in third world countries, that are disaster torn. They do fantastic work, so I think the funds are well spent. It’s good to donate to them even so, I do.

Really? How do you know this? I’m so surprised, I was told the government never gave monies to charities for foreign aid.

They are part of the Church and they are part of each diocese. They are individual 501©(3) corporations, there is no one “Catholic Charities” for which you can review aggregate financial data. There is only “Cathoic Charities of the diocese of X…” so you would have to look up a lot of inidividual 990s not just one.

I personally want to know where you heard this. :stuck_out_tongue: Since the government gives large amounts of money to the Red Cross who does charity work. How do you think all the money for foreign aid is actually given. Often the government will allocate foreign aid, and contract with charities to distribute that aid- food and health care, or run refugee camps or etc. They don’t just throw money at non-existent or dysfunctional governments who can’t get the aid to the people.

But you aren’t giving me any references or links to how you know this. The Red Cross works in the US doing disaster relief, to giving the Red Cross money isn’t foreign aid. I need a reference to a source for the bolded part.

Well, they are one or the other but by definition can’t be both.

:rolleyes: Here is the American Red Cross’s 990 for 2011. It says they receive 68,005,187 in government grants on page 9 of the 990. And here is the American Red Cross’s international programs. :shrug:

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