In the face of President Obama’s veto threat, members of Congress may not be able to pass legislation suspending or upgrading the program permitting refugees from Syria, the Middle East and North Africa to settle in the U.S. But the Republican Congress certainly has the power to hold hearings into the millions of taxpayer dollars being funneled through Catholic and other church groups to bring them here. Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike would like to know how “religious compassion,” using federal money, is increasing the potential terrorist threat to America.
You may recall that Pope Francis promoted the Obama administration’s pro-immigration policies during his visit to the U.S. Left unsaid was the fact that the American branch of the Roman Catholic Church is getting millions of taxpayer dollars to settle refugees. According to their financial statement for 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops received over $79 million in government grants to provide benefits to refugees.
Simply stated, Congress can expose how the money is being spent and cut it off.
Some of the refugees being settled are Catholics from Latin America who join the church in the U.S. But others are from the Middle East. Ironically, the Catholic Bishops are bringing Muslims in, while closing down Catholic churches inside the U.S.
Ann Corcoran’s Refugee Resettlement Watch website notes that Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse, New York, was closed down by the Catholic Church and has been leased to an Islamic society which renamed it Mosque Of Jesus The Son Of Mary.
“There are slim copper crescents where, for 100 years, there had been crosses,”reports Marnie Eisenstadt of the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. She adds, “The six crosses were removed and replaced at the end of June. Four of them were massive: 600 pounds of concrete each, and more than 4 feet tall. The step was the last, and most visible, in the building’s change from church to mosque.”
The situation is even worse in Europe, where Islam is replacing Christianity as the dominant religion.
The Catholic News Agency reports that only 2.9 percent of the French population actually practice the Catholic faith. That compares to 3.8 percent of the population that practice Islam.
It is reported that as many as 150 new mosques currently are under construction in France.
Nevertheless, in response to the recent wave of Muslims fleeing the Middle East, Pope Francis has appealed to Europe’s Catholics, calling on “every” parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to take in one refugee family.
The Catholic Church in America would clearly prefer to bring immigrants into the U.S. from Latin America, where Catholicism is still strong, and have them join Catholic churches in the U.S. The Catholic Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that 40 percent of all growth in registered parishioners in Catholic parishes between 2005 and 2010 was from Hispanic or Latino Catholics.
But even with the massive immigration from Latin America, Catholic churches around the U.S. are still being closed down. A group called Future Church reports that hundreds of parishes have been merged or closed in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland and many other urban and rural places.
“Recently,” the group reported, “the Archdiocese of New York merged or closed more than 70 parishes, often in the face of staunch opposition by committed parishioners. Pope Francis, during his U.S. visit, stopped at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, where the Archdiocese closed the parish in 2007.”
Corcoran has recorded a popular video, sponsored by the Center for Security Policy, explaining the history of resettlement refugee policies and their connections to Muslim groups and the United Nations.
James Simpson’s book, The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America, notes that the Catholic Church has been a major component of the open borders movement.
Many Catholic groups are proud of the federal dollars they receive, for purposes that go far beyond refugee resettlement.
Overall, reports Network, the self-described Catholic Social Justice Lobby, “…the Obama administration has actually increased funding for Catholic nonprofit organizations and programs. In fact, more than $1.5 billion went to Catholic organizations over the past two years.” These figures include an increase from just over $440 million (2008) to more than $554 million (2010) to Catholic Charities USA.
In addition to direct federal grants to help refugees, government at various levels provide subsidized housing, healthcare, food stamps, other cash assistance, and free education. There is also a cost to the criminal justice system of taking care of the criminals among them.
It’s the Catholic role, in collaboration with the federal government, in bringing refugees to the U.S. that caused Corcoran to leave the church. She told Accuracy in Media, “In 2002, having been raised in a protestant faith, I became a Catholic. For a few years I loved being a Catholic. All of that changed beginning in 2007 when I learned that another church group began resettling mostly Muslim refugees to my rural county in Western Maryland. I learned that the church group was largely funded and directed by the U.S. State Department to place the refugees in our county with no local input.”
She added, “But that is not everything I learned. My research led me to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ acceptance of over $70 million a year of taxpayer dollars to similarly resettle thousands of impoverished third-worlders, many from Muslim countries, in other unsuspecting towns and cities. Catholic Charities throughout the U.S. get many millions more to do the work as well.”
She says this kind of work by the Catholic and other churches is not Christian charity. “As harsh as it sounds,” she says, “I look on it as thievery when a supposedly non-profit ‘religious charity’ helps itself to the U.S. Treasury and then pats itself on the back for doing good works. And then lobbies Congress for more money for itself to boot!”
Corcoran said she has found reporters reluctant to investigate the federal dollars going to the Catholic Church. “When talking with a reporter recently I was told by the reporter that he would never even have dreamed to look into where the U.S. Bishops were getting their millions of dollars for their ‘migration fund,’ presuming it was from the personal charitable donations of good and generous Catholics in hundreds of parishes across the country,” she said. “I suspect all those good Catholics never think to ask the question either—where are the millions coming from?”
“Why aren’t more reporters exposing the U.S. Bishops deep pockets?” she asks. “And, why are our ‘leaders,’ even our budget hawks, in Washington not speaking up?”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.