Stephen Phelan's March 18, 2015 Crisis Magazine article is the latest in a series of coordinated attacks by a small number of groups whose claims about CRS have proven to be misleading and inaccurate. This latest attack is more of the same, restating claims that have been addressed again and again. It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that no answer CRS provides satisfies these critics, since their goal is not to help us build up a culture of life and love, but to tear down our efforts to do so.
Our Catholic identity is the heart of our mission, and we have implemented comprehensive processes to help ensure that we remain faithful to Catholic teaching in all our programming. We rigorously monitor and frequently review all our relationships and activities to ensure that they are faithful to Catholic teaching. If a problem does arise, we work to resolve it immediately. This includes applying policies developed by the CRS Board of Directors in consultation with the Holy See, the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and other leading moral theologians. Information on these policies, as well as responses to the various allegations that Mr. Phelan repeats in his article, can be found at CRS Upholds Catholic Teaching and Values.
The groups behind these allegations advocate for CRS’ retreat from public engagement and even its dissolution. While these groups may have their opinions, they do not speak for the Catholic Church. CRS must follow the direction we receive from Church leaders about how to apply Catholic teaching to our work. Mr. Phelan and others are free to disagree with those leaders, but as an agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we will continue to follow their guidance. We are grateful for the support of the USCCB Administrative Committee, which affirmed in a statement of support for CRS that "The U.S. Catholic bishops stand firmly behind CRS in its commitment to promote and defend human dignity and the sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and at every moment in between."