Tags: Catholic | Church | Pope | Francis | Welfare

Washington Times: Catholic Church Runs America's Welfare State

Washington Times: Catholic Church Runs America's Welfare State
Amid Pope Francis’ first-ever visit to the U.S. this week, some analysts are digging into the books to note the amount of money the American government doles out to Catholic charities every year. (Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 25 September 2015 10:05 AM

The largest charitable organization operated by the Roman Catholic Church gets about 65 percent of its annual budget from state and federal governments, The Washington Times reports.

Catholic Charities USA — founded in 1910 as National Conference of Catholic Charities and made up of more than 160 local Catholic charities agencies nationwide — serves millions of people annually regardless of their religious or economic backgrounds.

But its huge reliance on government money, in essence, makes it an arm of the federal welfare state, Brian Anderson, a researcher with the Manhattan Institute, tells The Times.

According to the newspaper, 57 government agencies currently contract with the Catholic Church, which receives about $1.6 billion.

The Times reports an analysis by Adam Andrzejewski, founder of OpenTheBooks.com, reveals that "if the church were a state, its $1.6 billion in funding would rank it about 43rd out of the 50 states in total federal funding."

Most of the money is used for refugee services and rehabilitation.

Leslie Lenkowsky, who served as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service under George W. Bush, tells The Times:

"A lot of the charity is distributing food, running homeless shelters, most things considered charitable. So what we're not talking about is federal money being paid for priests and religious activities."

There is some worry about the Catholic Church being so ingrained in the nation's charity work because of the supposed separation of church and state.

But Anderson tells The Times the church and its charities are so much a part of the government's welfare system, it would be difficult to reform — or improve it.

Lenkowsky believes its better to have Catholic charities basically run the federal welfare system.

"There's certain things Catholic charities can do that social workers can't do, like pastoral counseling — a minister trained to give counseling to people facing critical issues like substance abuse," he told The Times.

The Times' report comes as Pope Francis continues his historic visit to the United States.

The pontiff is in New York City on Friday, where he will address the United Nations and lead a prayer service at Madison Square Garden.

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The largest charitable organization operated by the Roman Catholic Church gets about 65 percent of its annual budget from state and federal governments, The Washington Times reports.
Catholic, Church, Pope, Francis, Welfare
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2015-05-25
Friday, 25 September 2015 10:05 AM
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