Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two masters


No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
-Matthew 6:24


Some Catholic bloggers (Fr Tim, Laurence England, Catholic Action) are scratching their heads at why supposedly Catholic charities can at times openly dissent from the teaching of the Magisterium. The bewilderment is obvious - these bloggers are themselves loyal to the Holy Father and the Teaching of the Church and cannot understand why anyone who might call themselves a Catholic and especially a Catholic institution might want to rebel.

The answer is, I think, a simple one and has been highlighted by a group of bloggers who have developed an online list on fake charities at fakecharities.org. A fair definition of a fake charity would be one which gains a substantial proportion of its funding from central or local government or the EU. The fake charity thus becomes an arm's length arm of government and any deviation from the ruling agenda is likely to result in the teat of funding being taken away.

I was amazed that CAFOD has a total income of £47M and that over £2M of funding comes from HMG (6.9% of total income). I'm not sure 6.9% makes them a fake charity but I can imagine that it would become easy to be reliant on a regular injection of £2M pa. Likewise, PROGRESSIO (formerly the Catholic Institute for International Relations - see what they did there? Progressio as in Populorum Progressio, but also a name that might appeal to a certain end of politics). PROGRESSIO had a total income of £4,973,133 in 2008 - £3,131,734 (63% of all income) came from HMG and the EU.

Consider. If a substantial chunk of your income is coming from a government with a particular agenda, whose tune are you going to dance to?

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