Thursday, October 3, 2002

Thanks to a rep from the Diocese of LaCrosse's Office of Justice and Peace for sharing further information on the CROP walk controversy:

As the local director for Catholic Relief Services (a benefitting agency of the CROP walk), I would like to add a few more facts to the article you have posted from the Stevens Point Journal "Bishop Burke Directs Parishes against CROP Walk."

Church World Service has not been forthright about their funding of contraception. Last year, when the Diocese of Rockford asked Rev. John McCullough, executive director of CWS if they funded contraception, he responded that CWS had "no history of ..distributing contraceptives."

Last August, when local organizers from La Crosse asked the CROP Walk office in Madison about contraception, they were told the same -- CWS had never funded contraception.

In private letters however, CWS officials have admitted to funding contraception. In fact, as early as 1965, CWS was importing contraceptive devices to the Dominican Republic "on a duty free basis by classifying them as religious education materials" (Area Handbook for the Dominican Republic, p.26, Foreign Area Studies, Amer. Univ).

CWS representatives such as Judy McDowell now seem to admit that they distribute contraception because this issue has been forced into thepublic light. Ecumenical collaboration however demands full disclosure and openness among its participants. CWS has not told a consistent story to Catholics about what they are funding.

While the article notes that La Crosse and Rockford My prediction is that the Dioceses of Rockford and La Crosse will not be the last Catholic dioceses that disassociate themselves with the CROP Walk and Church World Service. Catholics do not need either one to assist the poor in the Third World.

Dr. Arthur M. Hippler,Office of Justice and Peace, Diocese of La Crosse

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