Catholic Charities launched its 2019 appeal early this year, an acknowledgment that it will be harder to find donors as the church’s sexual abuse scandal continues to roil the faith.
Hopefully, more of those will listen to Bishop Richard J. Malone who is urging donors “look past” the clergy scandal and the nonprofit’s controversial decision last year to end its adoption and foster care program. “Look past,” of course, is a euphemism for “choke down your anger.”
The appeal runs through June 30 and hopes to raise the $11 million sought the previous couple of years.
It has been a tough year for the faithful.
The church has been rocked by the priest sex abuse scandal that broke loose last year and has been covered extensively in this newspaper and by other media.
People are understandably upset. But Catholic Charities, powered by the annual appeal helps fund 70 programs and services across 61 sites in the eight counties of New York. It could be the lifeline for any number of us, our friends, family and neighbors. Programs and services benefited more than 152,000 people in 2018.
These programs work in concert with a number of initiatives and ministries that benefit all parishes through the Fund for the Faith. Catholic Charities’ services are available to those in need, regardless of religion.
Catholic Charities’ community presence has made an impact on people like Evone Hardy who took advantage of the Workforce and Education Services on Buffalo’s East Side. The mother of three grown children has decided to work on earning her high school equivalency and plans to pursue a fashion degree in college.
Early signs point to an understanding of the agency’s critical mission. It has already received $1.4 million in pledges and “cash in hand” from board members and others, making it the most money the agency has had to launch a campaign. Officials are making an even stronger effort to prove transparency and improve choice.
About 40 percent of the fundraising proceeds will go directly to the diocese but the bishop said none of the money raised through the appeal will be used to pay settlements as part of the diocese victim compensation program.
Moreover, the appeal includes a change this year that will allow donors to choose among three designations of giving: split between Catholic Charities and the diocese’s Fund for the Faith or, 100 percent of the gift going to one or the other.
Scandal continues to rock the church, along with anger at the closing of two beloved programs. It may be difficult but, for the sake of those in need, the community should, indeed, choke down its anger and support the appeal.