Sunday, 22 September 2013

I hate to say this, but...

...CAFOD are yet again calling their right to be associated with the Church into question.

Is it ignorance or incompetence? Or worse?

Did nobody there have the {sense/guts/wisdom} to tell their Head of Media and PR, Damian McBride, that to publish the kind of book he has just published sits rather ill with CAFOD's published values.

I don't know Mr McBride, and have no insight into his motivation, so I pass no comment on that. But I do think that CAFOD, who regularly ask Catholics in this country to put their hands in their pockets and support them as a Catholic Charity, should - and indeed must - do much better than this.

If this were the only question mark over CAFOD, I would almost certainly draw a veil over it. But it seems to be part of a pattern of playing fast and loose with their proclaimed Catholic values that I think is profoundly problematic, as I have mentioned before...

But am I not as guilty of detraction myself, in publishing this post?

I have thought long and hard about this, but do believe that it is necessary, as CAFOD (and its trustees, including, alas, some bishops) have been immune to previous calls to clean up their act; and there is a real risk that many will give money to them on the basis of a misunderstanding (I had almost said misrepresentation), that they are trustworthy and competent.  I think the evidence suggests that is not a safe assumption, and it behoves people to look closely at them and make an informed decision.

For myself, I think there are other more reliably Catholic organisations which merit support, such as Aid to the Church in Need.


Part-time Pilgrim said...

A few points

Firstly I don't think McBride's memoirs are anything like as serious as the other issues you have called CAFOD to task for.

Secondly I don't think refusing to contribute to CAFOD is the right approach. I argue why I think this on my blog here:

Thirdly, Aid to the Church in Need does not do the same work as CAFOD. A closer match would be something like Marys Meal's. I am not saying ACN don't deserve support - they do and a predict they are going to need more in the future. However the are not a development agency.

Ben Trovato said...


I agree that this is a less serious issue than those raised previously. It is just one more... And there has been no recognition, still less apology, still less change, with regard to the previous problems. So it seems to me to confirm that the problems are still unaddressed.

I read your post with interest and commend it to any other readers of this blog. You may well be right: it is a prudential judgement.

I agre ACN are not the closest analogue to CAFOD. I am not sure that there is a development agency as such that I can unreservedly recommend. Precisely because of the nature of their work (educational and campaigning, as well as distribution of aid) it is a very fraught area.

But you are quite right to argue, as you do on your blog, that if we stop giving to CAFOD and do not give somewhere else, that is a very grave evil; and Lazarus will be unable to relieve our sufferings hereafter...