Uncovering Corruption in the Church (Guest: Michael Hichborn)

December 01, 2023 00:47:40
Uncovering Corruption in the Church (Guest: Michael Hichborn)
Crisis Point
Uncovering Corruption in the Church (Guest: Michael Hichborn)

Dec 01 2023 | 00:47:40

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Today's Church is sadly wracked with corruption. We'll talk to someone who has spent more than a decade investigating that corruption on what he has found and how he keeps his own faith in the midst of scandal.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:10] Speaker A: Sadly, in these days, the Catholic Church has undergone a lot of corruption and scandal. And Catholics have to deal with this, catholics have to address this, and we can't shy away from it. What does it mean though, as a Catholic to have to faith corruption and scandal head on and keep their faith? That's what we're going to talk about today on Crisis Point. Hello, I'm Eric Sam is your host and in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, just want to encourage people to smash that like button to subscribe to the channel. You can follow us on social media at crisis. Mag. Our website is Crisismagazine.com, where you can subscribe to our email newsletter so you can check out what we're doing. All the so. Okay, so our guest today, this has been, I feel like, almost a year in the making. We have not been able to connect, but now we finally are, which I'm very excited about. Michael Hitchborn, he's the president of the spent nearly before that. He spent eight years at the American Life League's. Director of the Defend the Faith project. He has researched and produced countless articles and reports on the funding of abortion, birth control, homosexuality and Marxism by Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. He lives in Virginia, is the most important stat here with his wife and seven children. That's what we care about the most. Michael, eight. Oh, I got an old bio here. [00:01:25] Speaker B: Yeah, you did. Our eight was born in May. [00:01:29] Speaker A: Oh, congratulations. That's great. I love hearing that. So that's just such a so, Michael, you run the Laponto Institute. Why don't you first just tell us what that is. [00:01:40] Speaker B: Sure. The Laponto Institute was founded as an outgrowth of the kinds of investigations that I was conducting at American Life League. We were looking into organizations that were promoting abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and somebody had tipped me off and said, you might want to look into the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. I said, okay, and I did, and I started to find some pretty serious problems. So we did a series of reports on that, and then I got a question in my head going, well, we found these problems with the CCHD. What about other ones like Catholic Relief Services? And I found serious problems there. So then my inquisitive mind went to Catholic Charities and started finding problems there, and then Catholic hospitals and finding problems there. I found problems going all the way up to the Vatican with an organization called Caritas Internationalis, which is the international aid and development body run by the Vatican that oversees Catholic Relief Services, cord Aid, Troker, Kfod, all the international aid and development agencies that belong to the Church. The problem that I discovered is that Karitas Internationalis is on the governing body of an international communist organization called the World Social Forum. And when I say communist, I mean communist. We're talking these guys parade through the streets with hammer and sickle flags, big banners of Karl Marx. I mean, they don't hide it. So as I was conducting these investigations, it became clear that my scope of investigations had kind of gone beyond the mission of American Life League, which was specifically American, specifically abortion. And we had a long conversation, and it was decided that I should just go ahead and start my own organization, which I did. And that's what the Laponto Institute is. It's a continuation of the work that I was doing at American Life League. And we've expanded a little bit to at least, you know, people like to give financial contributions to nonprofit organizations, to charity, real charity. And we thought, what if we put together a list of charitable organizations that people can donate to that aren't involved in all of this garbage and with warnings for the ones that are so that they say, hey, I used to give to this organization. I didn't know they were doing this bad stuff. And that's what we've done. We've put together a charitable reports list of about 100 charities or so more. Now, I think we're up to 115, 120 that we have personally investigated, and we've found either safe or not safe. [00:04:31] Speaker A: Yeah, I want to get back to that in a minute because I saw that on your website, and that is very useful. One of the things I'm interested in is 20 some years ago, my wife and I were helping run a nonprofit that helped Catholics with adoption expenses. So we would help Catholics who wanted to adopt. It's very expensive to adopt a child in America, particularly upfront cost. And these were families that could support a child, but they couldn't afford the initial. So we helped them out. And it doesn't exist anymore just because various reasons. But I remember one time my wife was dealing with Catholic Charities, local Catholic Charities, about an adoption situation, and there was a single mother who wanted to adopt. And our policy was, we're not giving assistance unless it is a mother and father, both a stable family, Catholic family. We only had so much money. We couldn't give everything. So we're like, no, we're not going to give to somebody who's a single mother. But the Catholic Charities had contacted us about possibly helping out this lady, and we said, no, that's not really our mission. We're doing this. And the Catholic Charities lady, she just went off about how actually a single mom is better for raising a child because they're focused only on the child, they're not distracted by their husband. That was an eye opener to me because I had only been Catholic for maybe about five or ten, eight years, something like that. And I knew there was corruption in the church, but it was still kind of like and that was just like on the street level of how just because it says Catholic and from it does not necessarily mean it's promoting catholicism. And so for me, when you give your guys reports, I'm like, yeah, that's unfortunate, and that's true and all that stuff, but I have to imagine a lot of people like catholics challenge the veracity of your report. So how do you go about making sure that what because you were saying some pretty controversial, some pretty damning things about these organizations, how do you go about making sure that what you're saying is accurate and that you can back it up and things of that nature? [00:06:42] Speaker B: We have an extremely high bar for degrees of proof. We've found all kinds of organizations that were entangled in things that we thought were really they really shouldn't be a part of, but we've never reported on them because we could not prove that they were directly involved in anything nefarious. There's a huge problem, and I think primarily in research circles today, where they get very involved in guilt by association. That's what we're accused of quite frequently is guilt by association. And my response is, no, this isn't guilt by association. This is guilt by participation. Case in point just earlier this week, we released a report on a CCHD grantee that we discovered held a staff meeting where they erected an altar with a pagan idol on it. They placed pentagrams on this altar, and then they recited prayers to demons. How do we know this? Because they wrote about it on their own website, and they said that this happened during a staff meeting. They even tweeted about it on twitter, and they posted about it on facebook. So we have various degrees of certainty that come from the primary sources, and that's the only way that we can show that this organization was doing something that was wicked. One of the ways that we're accused of guilt by association is because we talk about these organizations being involved with coalitions, where, for instance, there's a coalition called the hispanic federation, and it is super gay. That's the best way to describe it. We're talking rainbows and pixie dust. These people are queers of football bat and there are several CCHD grantees that are members of this hispanic federation. Here's the thing. The catholic campaign for human development actually has a specific grant guideline that says that CCHD grantees may not be members of coalitions that operate and do things that are against church teaching. So when we find these organizations that are members of these coalitions, our statement is not that this organization is promoting LGBTQ nonsense because they're a member of the coalition. We say they are violating the CCHD grant guideline because they're a member of this coalition, which is doing x, y, and z. Furthermore, and this is one of the degrees that we try to maintain, we look to see if these coalitions have a membership where you have to pay a portion into that membership, and most of them do. So when these grantees are paying into. They're paying membership dues to be a part of this coalition. What that means is that whatever small amount of the Catholic funding that's going to this organization is also being doled out in some small portion to finance these wicked coalitions. So there is that direction that we take, but it's all primary sources. There's no secondary source. We don't go on rumor. And that's how we maintain the degree of our reports. [00:10:08] Speaker A: So the Casa Campaign for Human Development, I think everybody had heard of it for a long time, but I don't think it was until you guys started reporting that all of a sudden we were like, oh, wow, this does not seem good. So explain exactly what it is in theory, and why is it they keep on coming up in your reports? [00:10:28] Speaker B: So the CCHD was created in 1969. It was the brainchild of a guy named Monsignor Jack Egan, who happened to be very good friends with Saul Alinsky. And the Diocese of Chicago had collaborated with Saul Alinsky on several community projects. I think one of them was called the Back of the Yards Coalition or foundation or something along those lines. And through these relationships, Jack Egan said, you know what? We take up all these collections. Maybe we could take up a collection for your community organizing group. And called the Industrial Areas Foundation. And Solinsky said, hey, that's a great idea. I kind of like that. So Jack Egan went to the Bishop of Chicago and said, here's our idea. And the Bishop of Chicago said, well, go ahead and take up a collection. See what happens. Well, they took up a collection. It was a large collection. It was very successful. Father Joseph Bernardin then became the Secretary General of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. And he took this idea of the Campaign for Human Development to the US. Bishops and said it was such a success in Chicago, we should take up a national collection to finance these community organizing groups. So that's what they did. And it was the most successful collection they ever conducted, because people love to help the poor, and that's how it was sold to them. What they weren't told is that these organizations don't do anything to help the poor. They simply conduct political agitation for political change. And that's the whole purpose. It follows the blueprint that Solelinsky set in his book Rules for Radicals. So the first collection was taken on the national level, I think, in 1972. And ever since that time, organizations that promote abortion, contraception, homosexuality, communism have been found by intrepid reporters like Capital Media Research, I think that's what they're called, or the Capital Research Center. Also, the Wanderer had conducted several investigations that used to publish regular articles showing that these organizations were receiving funding from the CCHD, and they were exposing this. So that went on for a long time, but it was easy for them to sweep it under the rug because, well, when you have a newsletter or a newspaper that has a very small circulation, you're not going to get a whole lot done. It was the advent of the Internet that changed all of that. So when we started doing our investigations in 2009 and we put out a news article, suddenly it gets picked up by Catholic news Agency, catholic National Catholic Register, and then National Catholic Reporter scrambles and says, oh no, we got to defend our friends. And so they jump in, they start attacking me and saying, oh, he hates the poor, that's why he's doing this, and he's a capitalist. Well, aren't you kind of betraying yourself by saying that? But anyway, that's kind of the genesis of it. That's why our reports are most remembered, because the advent of the Internet has given us a much broader platform, and more people have been able to see and hear about the problems. [00:14:03] Speaker A: It'S marketed as. This is to help poor communities. But basically what happens is when you give money on your collection, is it in November? When do they do this? [00:14:14] Speaker B: CCHD mid November. Every mid November? Yeah. [00:14:18] Speaker A: So when they do that, you put your money in there, and then it goes to, I guess, DC. They probably have an office there, and then they take all that money, and then throughout the year, they give grants to various organizations. Is that the way it works? [00:14:32] Speaker B: Sort of. So 25% of what each diocese collects remains with the diocese. The other 75% goes on to the National Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Then they take that money, and there's an grant application process that starts at the local level, goes to the national level, goes back to the local level, and then they disperse the grants, I think, in two rounds. So one covers the first half of the year, and then the other covers the second half of the year. From July to June of the following year is the grant cycle. That's the grant year now, okay, so. [00:15:12] Speaker A: You even mentioned already that they have rules for who they give grants to, and it sounds like these rules actually there's some good ones. I mean, they don't want to give to organizations that are members of coalitions that undermine church teaching, but clearly the actual grants being given aren't always following those kind of regulations that they have. So why do you think that is? Do you think they just are sloppy or do you think they kind of just don't care? I mean, at this point, they got to know they're going to get caught. And so why do you think that they keep on? Because this isn't like just they started this last week. It's been going on for years, and yet you just said that literally this week, it just came out that this is still happening. [00:15:56] Speaker B: So there are many levels to the question. I think that there are true believers within the Catholic Campaign for Human Development who are just totally content to give funding to organizations that are pro abortion, that are advancing the LGBTQ agenda. [00:16:14] Speaker A: I think that there are unbelievers more like it, right? [00:16:16] Speaker B: True. Unbelievers, yeah. And I know that there are individuals like that because we know of at least one CCHD grantee or grants coordinator from up in New York who she has been a participant in the Democratic Socialists of America. So we know that that goes on. There are some who are just naive. They're told from on high, look, we investigated this. Everything's fine. Don't worry about it. And there are bishops who are just left in the dark. Some bishops, when they finally see my reports, as it hits their desk, they write me and they tell me, I had no idea, this is shocking. I'm going to get to the bottom of this. And I've had bishops who actually stopped taking up the CCHD collection because of our reports. But then there are other bishops who will write me and say, you're all washed up, you're full of hot air, and I don't believe a word you're saying. We love the CCHD. We're going to continue funding them. Everything that you say is bogus. And I've been told by CCHD personnel that if a bishop wants an organization funded, even if they find something wrong with it, it gets funded. So there's that problem, too. So it's a multi layered problem. It comes from all sides. [00:17:43] Speaker A: So if a bishop, say, just hypothetically in Chicago, for example, if the bishop there, let's just say, is like he likes a certain organization that violates a lot of their own grant procedures and regulations, but he says, I want these guys funded, and he contacts the CCHD. Essentially what you're saying is they will almost definitely then go ahead and give them a grant. [00:18:08] Speaker B: Yes. If the bishop wants it funded, it's going to get a grant. [00:18:13] Speaker A: Okay. So do you know if the donations each year, do they make it public how much they raise each year in their November fundraising that they do? [00:18:29] Speaker B: So the numbers aren't readily available. They don't tell us exactly how much they get in the collections. They tell us how much they budget for the various projects. So with the Campaign for Human Development, typically they give out grants ranging from ten to $15 million a year, depending upon whatever for whatever reason. That's generally the range of the budget. So it is interesting that we don't see any numbers regarding how much they take in the collection, only what they budget for on the other end of it. [00:19:07] Speaker A: They have to be getting money from somewhere else then, because there's no way they're raising ten to $15 million from the Pew collection, do you think? [00:19:15] Speaker B: I wouldn't think so. Not anymore. [00:19:17] Speaker A: That's what I mean. Now. I mean, maybe in their high point or something like that, but I can't imagine, first of all people are just not donating harley. There's less people in the pews, and then the few people who are left all know about CCHD now from so do you have any idea if they get money from somewhere else? [00:19:36] Speaker B: Well, I mean, money is when you have to remember the USCCB is classified as a religion according to IRS rules, which means they're not required to report any financial dealings except for when it comes to government grants. But when it comes to what they pull in from pew collections and how the money is used, they don't have to report any of that. All they have to do is budget for it. So it's entirely possible that they're pooling the resources from various budget items and just saying, we came up a little short over here. Let's shore up our end, and then we'll put a little bit more over on this end. And it could be just some very creative accounting. I don't know, because they're not telling us. [00:20:23] Speaker A: Okay, so they're not making that public because I have to imagine that the amount that they receive has gone down over the years considerably, but it sounds like they just keep on putting money out there. So that would be interesting. If there's a way, if there's anybody who works there who wants to go ahead and contact michael and let him know and has the numbers, please do so, and then he'll let us all know when that happens. [00:20:46] Speaker B: I would love that. [00:20:48] Speaker A: Yeah, I'm sure you would. Yeah, I'm sure you would. Okay, so outside the kevin campaign for human development, I know there's some other organizations in particular that you have I don't want to say targeted, but just kind of exposed is probably a better word. Those in catholic relief services. Isn't that one that has had some issues in the past? [00:21:07] Speaker B: Yes, and continues to have issues. [00:21:10] Speaker A: And what are some of the issues of catholic relief services? [00:21:14] Speaker B: Well, I'll start with 2008 when father jermaine grise was told that CRS had put out these flip books and this literature that was promoting condom use. And CRS vehemently denied up and down that they had anything to do with the promotion of condoms. And father Grisez, because of his stature, was able to obtain copies of these flipbooks that had CRS's logo right on them. And he turned around and he said, look, these were published by your people with the logo you can't deny. Finally, CRS said, well, you know, there was a mistake that was made. We never really should have done this. And we tried to make it clear with this project that this wasn't really something that we were going to get involved in. But alas, so that was the start. As I have been investigating CRS, I've found they've given millions of dollars to organizations that themselves push contraception and abortion. They gave millions of dollars to care international, millions of dollars to save the children of dollars to Population Services International, which is this organization is so bad, there's no way they should have partnered with them. This group. Population Services International. The title says it all. They're a population control organization was created by a pornographer. It was created by a guy who created the Adam and Eve stores. If you've ever heard of those, which is basically BDSM paraphernalia sex store, a sex shop, this guy created that, and he uses the money from the profits of those stores to create Population Services International. And the purpose of Population Services International is to reduce the fertility rates of poor people. That's why they exist. So for CRS to partner with them indiscriminately, and they still do, they say, oh, no, we've stopped partnering with them. I even asked a CRS guy once. I said, Let me ask you this. If you were partnered with Planned Parenthood, or if Planned Parenthood said, hey, we want to help distribute mosquito nets, would you give them a grant? And he said, well, no, we would never do that. And I said, well, why not? And he said, Because we look at the preponderance of the work of the organization that we partner with. So they're okay with partnering with organizations that are participating in abortion, contraception, and whatnot. Well, so that got me started looking into their actual grants, their actual projects, and I have found hands on evidence. I worked with Steve Moser at Population Research Institute back in 2015. We sent a researcher on the ground. The researcher was able to obtain all kinds of evidence to show that. CRS itself implemented programs called Healthy Choices Two, which was all about the spread of contraception to young people. They implemented a program called Suga, which was an MTV produced TV series that was all about promoting condom use. And I filed a Freedom of Information Act request and got CRS's own documentation reporting. Yes, we implemented this. We reached this number of people with this program. Same thing with Suga and so on. So we had the receipts, and CRS's response was, well, we didn't do that. [00:25:04] Speaker A: Okay, so obviously, Catholic Relief Services, they're a little bit sloppy, we'll say, about who they're helping as well. And then did you say that you've had some investigations of Catholic Charities as well? [00:25:18] Speaker B: I did. I've conducted research into Catholic Charities primarily when I was at American Life League. Father Larry Snyder, who was the head of Catholic Charities at the time, was heavily involved with an organization called America's Promise. And in this organization, he was helping to I can't remember the was this was actually quite some time ago, but it was Catholic Charities being financially involved with this group that was promoting contraception and promoting homosexuality and that kind of thing. We also found that Catholic Charities USA was an active member of USHRN. And I can't remember what the acronym stands for anymore, but that organization was actually involved in trying to lobby the government to be soft on abortion and to be soft on contraception. So there was that kind of thing that we found with Catholic Charities. One thing that I want to point out back to CRS for a second. [00:26:21] Speaker A: Sure. [00:26:22] Speaker B: In 2020, we conducted a very broad ranged investigation into CRS, and I found Catholic Relief Services produced documents that were promoting condom use right there in their own documents with their letterhead. Oh, and by the way, it was on CRS's own website. We found that CRS was implementing a program called Dreams. Dreams. It is a PEPFAR funded project, and CRS was implementing it. The primary purpose of Dreams is to increase the preponderance of contraception use and to increase the contraceptive mix. In other words, don't just use a condom, use a condom and the pill, use a condom and the patch. So that was the stated goal of Dreams. I went through CRS's documents related to what they were doing with the Dreams project. In their own documentation, they said, yeah, we know that they're promoting contraception through this program, but we've carved out just this little section that we're involved with that allows us to get girls enrolled in it so that they can get financially secure. So we don't have anything to do with the contraception part except you're enrolling girls in this program. And part of the purpose of the program, or part of the stated objective and rule of the program, is that everybody who's enrolled has to get every aspect of the program. And you knew that. [00:28:02] Speaker A: It's like saying, okay, I'm going to help enroll these people in a satanist school. They have a good math program there. [00:28:08] Speaker B: Yes. [00:28:10] Speaker A: Okay. But they get the whole thing while they're there. Right. That's insane. I do think that seems to be the response often is, well, we're not supporting that part of it. We're supporting this other good part of it. Now, my question to you is, it seems like many organizations that help the poor do tend to have a pretty hard left position on a lot of stuff. And so are there organizations that exist that are solid, solidly Catholic or at least don't do? I mean, heck, a lot of Protestant organizations are probably better in some ways that do help the poor that Catholic Campaign for Human Development could support. Catholic Relief Services could support. Do they actually exist, or are they all pretty much terrible like this? [00:29:04] Speaker B: We actually have on our website a charity reports list. I think we're up to about 120 organizations that we have personally investigated, and we have them marked as either safe or not safe so that people can see exactly what it is, where their money is going, what the organization does, and the ones that are safe. I mean, we really, really vet these groups. We go deep into their resources. We go deep into their we look for news articles going back ten and 15 years to see what they were involved in ten and 15 years ago. But we have thoroughly vetted these organizations, the ones that are marked safe, they're really safe. The ones that are marked not safe. And we have a little checklist that says it's either because they're promoting abortion or contraception or transgenderism or it's all there on the list. And if you click on the name of the organization that's marked safe, it'll just take you straight to it's a link. It'll take you straight to that organization. If it's marked Not Safe, then you click the name of the organization on our report, and it'll take you to a full detailed report page that gives you everything we have found on this organization and says, this is why we've marked it not safe on our list. [00:30:23] Speaker A: So I'm going to make sure I linked your website in the show notes. What was the website address? [00:30:28] Speaker B: It's Leponton.org. [00:30:32] Speaker A: Okay, lepantoin.org. I'll make sure, like I said, I'll link to that in the description so you can go to it. I did check out that list earlier, so if I remember correctly, I mean, a decent mark safe, too. It's not like it's two out of 115 or whatever. It seemed like almost half, maybe even. How long did that take you to compile? Because doing all that research for all his organization, I guess that's been over a few years now. [00:30:54] Speaker B: Yeah, we've been in existence for eight years this January, going into our 9th year, which is pretty exciting. But this is research that we've been doing for a very long time. Every once in a while, somebody I mean, not every once in a while anymore. Now it's constant, hey, look into this group, look into that group. And we have a list. We have a very long list. It does take us a long time to get through those organization names and to figure out whether they're good or bad. But we do this regularly, and we do it because it's the biggest service that we can provide for faithful Christians who really do want to be generous and to help the poor, but they don't want to finance the shenanigans that we've found with some of these other organizations. [00:31:39] Speaker A: And so when an organization is marked Safe, do you check on periodically to make sure it doesn't start doing something bad? Okay. Because I could see it being safe five years ago, they had a new leadership, and they start doing some funny stuff. So when it comes to Catholics, and of course, one of the big questions debates, cris of conscience, I think you'd say, for a lot of Catholics is their donations. Because it's normal. It should be normal and natural for a Catholic to say, I'm going to give to my parish. But what happens to that money that they give to their parish? Does some of it end up being used for these organizations that you're talking about? I'm not talking about. The collection, the specific CCHD don't give to that. I mean, I think everybody should know that. I mean, just I'm giving my weekly donation to my parish, so this is. [00:32:32] Speaker B: A big problem, especially right now. One of the things that happens, every parish is taxed by the bishop, okay? So if you give to your parish, just your parish, a portion of that money is taxed by the bishop, and that portion goes to the diocese. Every diocese is taxed by the USCCB. So there is a supply chain that goes from the local contribution all the way to the USCCB, even if you never gave to the second collection. However, you can earmark your funds. So if you give a little know, you've got your little envelope, you can write on the outside of the envelope for vestments or for hosts, just the purchase of hosts or whatever. Yeah, whatever it is, for the electric bill. You can earmark everything. You can even say for the priest stipend, okay. You can earmark it for his salary. That way that money, all money is fungible, but by law, those earmarked funds cannot be used for anything else. So if everybody earmarked their funds, well, there really isn't much room for a tax, is there? [00:33:58] Speaker A: Right. So if assuming a parish is doing things legally, and let's say they got $1,000 in collections, and 500 of that was earmarked by people who are listening to this podcast or whatever, and they've heard from you, so that means only the 500 remaining would be taxed by the diocese. Is that correct? Or do you think the diocese no, we're going to tax the entire 1000 unless it's earmarked. [00:34:26] Speaker B: If it's earmarked, it can't be taxed. It can't be grabbed by the diocese. [00:34:30] Speaker A: Okay. [00:34:31] Speaker B: If it is earmarked or if it's not earmarked, well, then it's up for grabs, right? [00:34:36] Speaker A: Exactly. Okay, so the idea then is to figure out ways when you give to your parish, first, you can gift outside the parish to the groups on your list that are marked safe, go there first. But then also if you give to your parish, earmark it such that it won't be subject to the diocesan tax and then therefore the USCCB tax. [00:35:01] Speaker B: Right, okay. [00:35:05] Speaker A: And I assume that that's kind of what you do. And is that what you recommend that Catholics do at this point? [00:35:11] Speaker B: Yeah, that's what I recommend. There's another thing that people are doing that is feasible. Some laypeople have created a parish finance committee, and then they take up a parish finance collection. And if people want to contribute to the parish without any of the funds being touched by the bishop at all, then a bank account completely outside of the church's jurisdiction is established. Funds go to that bank account, and then the bank account turns to the priest and says, okay, Father, what do you need paid for? We'll pay for it, but we're not just going to give you cash so that's another thing. [00:35:52] Speaker A: For example, directly pay the electric bill or whatever the case may be. [00:35:57] Speaker B: Okay, that's right. [00:35:57] Speaker A: And that one, of course, you're trusting the people who run the thing because legally it's not part of the parish. Therefore the people who control the bank account, they're the ones who are responsible for it, and you have to trust them into it. But obviously, if it's a group of people that you trust, that might be a very good solution as well. And I would think that most pastors would be like, okay, if you're going to pay something for me, I'll take it. I'm not going to complain about it. Now, I want to go back then for a minute to talking about you mentioned how bishops reactions would you say on a whole that I have my own thoughts on this, but mine are guesswork. Yours are less guessy than mine would be. Like bishops on a whole in America I'm talking about, are generally they're fine with what the Campaign for Human Development does and Catholic Relief Services, or do you think most of them, if they really knew and they had the time and the resources and the energy, they would actually go against it? I mean, do you think it's more a matter of just a few bad seeds in it, or do you think most of them are just like, it's not that big a deal? [00:37:08] Speaker B: I think that by and large, the majority of bishops are lazy. I think that they don't want to rock the boat, they don't want to cause problems, and for whatever reason, I don't know if they've got skeletons or closet and they're afraid of being found out. I don't know what the issue is. But what I can say is that the majority of the bishops are very hands off. They tend not to get involved. They turn to their staff, they say, you look into it, you figure it out. They don't want to get involved. And it's unfortunate, but I think it also kind of follows the same proportions that we saw during the Passion. You had one bishop out of twelve who was an absolute betrayer. You had one bishop out of twelve who remained right there at the cross throughout the entire crucifixion, and the other ten ran away and hid. And that seems to be the same proportion that we're seeing even with regard to CCHD, right? [00:38:15] Speaker A: And I would say probably the right word might not be lazy because I think probably most of them are hardworking about the things they care about, but I think ultimately they're not courageous. And many of the first apostles weren't courageous and it just isn't that important to them. They just don't care that much because something that they do care about, like bouncing the books or something like that, they probably are hardworking on because I've seen that a few times where a bishop might be a hard worker, but this just isn't, like, something that bothers him, I guess is probably. Or if it does bother him a little bit, it's, like, not worth the political capital to fight it. Sure, yeah. [00:38:52] Speaker B: By laziness, I didn't necessarily mean lack of industry. I meant kind of a moral or a mental. [00:38:58] Speaker A: Yeah, okay. Yes, okay, that makes sense. That makes sense because I know most of our bishops, they work hard. But the question is more how are you spending your resources? How are you spending that work? What are you focused on? Okay, now I want to kind of conclude here in a minute, but I want to ask you, so for years now, it sounds like, was it eight years with the American Life League now eight years, almost nine. So over 16 years now, you have been involved on some level with uncovering corruption and scandal within the church. Now, I think all of us know stories, people we don't need to be named or anything like that, but public figures who they do this and then they fall. They themselves get either for various reasons, but some of them even leave the church because they see what's going on. They experience it more directly than a lot of us. Like average person, the pews does, and it scandalizes them such that they leave. Yet, first of all, you seem like one of the most normal people, I mean, in a good way. You're not shooting from the hip and stuff like that. You're not like crazy and all that stuff. That's a compliment. But how do you do that? Your day job is literally seeing how people who represent the Catholic Church are doing these evil things, and yet you're also living the Catholic faith. How do you balance all that out? [00:40:29] Speaker B: So I like to use an analogy. If the head of a household discovered that he had termites and they were eating at his foundation, his disposition is going to be this. He's going to be upset. He's going to be demoralized. Why? Because he found something that was eating away at the foundation of his home, and now he's going to have to spend lots of money. He's going to try and figure out how to fix it. There's so many things he now has to do because of what he discovered, and it demoralizes him, and it might even cause him to say, you know what, I'm just going to sell the house and find a better one. On the other hand, what do you call it? I'm losing my word. What's the word for somebody who goes exterminator? An exterminator gets called and he wakes up in the morning and says, all right, I've got this house call, this house call, this house call. Let me go see what I can figure out, and let me see how I can help people. And he's going to go to the house, and he's going to look around and say, okay, I see spongy walls. And I see there's track marks here that indicates that there's a problem, but we need to find the nest. And he's going to sit there and spend all day poking around prodding through walls until he actually finds the nest. And he's going to take joy in that because the frustration is in not finding the problem. You know there's a problem instinctively. You know there's a problem. You can see it through the evidence that there's a problem, but you can't find the problem itself. But when he does, he rejoices. And I see myself in that same role. I rejoice in finding the problem, because now I can put a name to it. When a doctor discovers the source of the patient's cancer, okay, all the tests, everything leading up to that causes an immense amount of stress. The doctor is going to be stressed out. Why can't I figure out what's wrong with this patient? The patient's going to be worried and stressed until they get to the actual problem, and then they can put a name to it. And the reason people get relief from that is because you can finally say, I know how to fix this, or I know how to treat it, or at least I know what's going to happen. Now, if it's terminal, then of course the patient goes through a phase of arguing with God and being upset, and then they finally resign themselves to it and they say, okay, I have to have peace. This is something that's going to happen. There's nothing I can do. I'm going to die. So therefore, I need to make amends, whatever the case may be. But I don't have a problem finding problems because problems exist everywhere, whether it's in the church, whether it's in my house, whether it's with termites, or whether whatever the issue may be, there are always going to be problems. So I can't let myself get upset by that. It's like Our Lord said, it's necessary that scandals come, but don't allow yourself to fall into sin because of the scandals. And we have to think about it in the same way. I'm not going to get upset just because whatever happened, happened. Okay, so it happened. What do I do now? How do I fix that? How do I get around that? And as long as that's my disposition, and as long as I remain prayerful every day, we pray the rosary as a family every single day. We make a consecration to Our Lady in the morning. We make a consecration to Our Lady in the evening. I'm firmly grounded in everything that I do, and I give everything every single day to Our Lord and to Our Lady. This is their work, not mine. If I find something, if something good comes of my investigations, praise be to God, because that was his work. He used me as an instrument, but I didn't actually do this. I was following his inspirations I was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and something good came out of it. Praise be to God if I don't find anything, well, maybe he didn't want me to find something anyway and I'll move on to the next house. [00:44:36] Speaker A: That's a good analogy because I'm not a handyman at all. And so when something the worst part of the whole process of something wrong with my house is when I first find out about it, because is that demoralizing? It's just like and then one of the best parts is when I finally get I get a contract or whatever, and they say, okay, here's what it is, here's what we're going to do, here's how much it's going to cost. Then it's going to take them like, okay, now, even if it's a lot more than I expected, even if it's worse than I thought, it still is a relief. Because it's like, now I know, okay, this will be fixed because I know this now. But when it's all unknown and so I like your analogy because it's not like you caused the scandal. You're the creator of scandal. You just simply are saying it exists and I'm telling you the details hopefully that it doesn't continue to happen. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet with the CCHD and some other places. But just the fact that I think less people give to them is a good thing. Less people know about it. So I really appreciate and I have for years, the work you're doing there at Appreciate. Like I said, I appreciate your level head, frankly. It's funny because I still see people kind of rail on your work at Laponto as, oh, this is just like you said, guilt by association. This is just sensationalistic. I'm like, just, okay, we'll tell him where he's wrong, tell him where it wasn't, what he got wrong, and I'm sure he'll correct it, but most critics don't seem to do that. [00:46:03] Speaker B: I've been wrong before, and I'm never shy about admitting it either. [00:46:08] Speaker A: Yeah, we all make mistakes. So the work you're doing is great. I really appreciate it. So again, it's Lapontoin.org. I'll link to it. Is there anything else that's coming up that you guys are working on you want to let us know about before we get off here? [00:46:23] Speaker B: Well, we're just wrapping up the end of the year summary, and I'm kind of counting all the victories we've had. I'm sort of going, wow, we did a lot this year. But we did just wrap up a six month investigation. I can't say much about it now because we're still going through all of the information. We're compiling it all. But very early next year, probably towards the beginning of February, we're going to be releasing a new report and it's going to be quite damning. Quite damning. That's the next thing coming. [00:46:58] Speaker A: Good, I'm glad to hear that you guys keep doing good work. Well, thank you very much, Michael. I really appreciate you being on. Keep up the good work. And like I said, people go to his website. I especially like the list of charities, the safe and non safe, because it just lets you give in peace without having to worry about your money going to stuff that you don't want it going to. So thank you very much and God bless you. [00:47:19] Speaker B: Thanks so much. God bless you and your audience. [00:47:22] Speaker A: Okay, everybody, until next time. God love.

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