CCHD Director Responds--And So Do We

Last week, CMR published a story about the Director of the Catholic Campaign For Human Development (CCHD). In the piece we brought to light the fact that while Director of the CCHD, an ostensibly Catholic organization, Ralph McCloud simultaneously held the position of treasurer in the succesful campaign of a pro-choice Democrat to unseat a pro-life Republican in Texas.

Even though Director McCloud declined to return our calls to him prior to publishing the story (4 calls in fact--more on that later), he has now decided to respond to us.

In his response he asserts that CMR's accusations are false. Mr. McCloud, we understand, has sent his response to us and to the CCHD Diocesan Directors as well.

His response (which we reprint in its gloriously inept entirety at the end of this post) can be summed up thusly.

You can't hold him accountable for being the treasurer of a pro-choice campaign because:

Defense #1) Even though Wendy Davis and he were good enough friends after 4 years on the City Council and they worked on many issues together, guess what? He never asked her about her position on abortion. She must have only taken the pro-choice position AFTER he agreed to (even though this position seemed to be known by many people in the district prior to her announcement.) So, even though he is "deeply and consistently pro-life" and "committed to upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church on the life," he never even thought to ask about her positions on the Catholic "non-negotiable" life issues before lending his name to the campaign? It strains credulity, no?

Further, as Directory of the CCHD he is responsible for vetting organizations on these very Catholic "non-negotiables" before issuing them grants. Yet, he never even thought to ask?

If we are to take Director McCloud at his word, and I suppose we must, then he is freely admitting his own incompetence in an area that is vital to his job function. Not a very good defense.

Defense #2) Even though he agreed to be campaign treasurer, it was an honorary position and so he didn't have to do anything. While it is true that Texas law imposes no obligations on the position of Treasurer that does not make it honorary. Accepting the position and allowing his name to be used on signs and literature for this campaign is material support for the campaign. In essence, he is vouching for her by allowing it. Further, he endorsed her campaign as well.

So even though McCloud asserts that he didn't do much, at the very least, he lent his name in support of the candidate. Further, as treasurer of the campaign he could have and should have been in a position to know that Davis received contributions from several pro-choice groups. The "I wasn't a very good treasurer" defense does not seem like a really good excuse.

Defense #3 (and my personal favorite), When he accepted the position at CCHD just months after accepting a position on the ongoing pro-choice Davis campaign (it would last another year), he completely forgot. So even though he acknowledges that he should have resigned his position in the pro-choice Davis campaign, he completely forgot that he was treasurer.

He forgot. That is his excuse. He should not be held accountable because he was too incompetent to remember. Don't get me wrong, I have forgotten a lot of things in my life. I have forgotten to buy milk, I have forgotten to take out the garbage at night, I have even forgotten my birthday, but I cannot imagine that I could ever forget that I am treasurer of an ongoing campaign. Credulity is again strained to the breaking point. One cannot but wonder if McCloud was ever asked to disclose such things as part of his hiring at CCHD and how he answered?

So in essence we got the whole story wrong because even though McCloud and Davis were co-workers and such BFF's that she asked him to vouch for her by being treasurer, the topic of abortion never came up and he never thought to ask. Plus, he wasn't a very good campaign treasurer, so poor in fact that he completely forgot that he was treasurer for an entire year while Director at the CCHD.

We got it wrong because we should have known that Mr. McCloud is grossly incompetent. As far as defenses go, this does more harm than good, no?

Lastly, as for his assertion that we only called him for comment the night before and the morning of publishing, not true. We actually placed two additional calls to the CCHD (not his personal CCHD number) two days earlier that went un-returned. We can only guess at what tales of incompetence led to those calls being ignored.

In my opinion, Mr. McCloud, through his actions in accepting the position of treasurer of a pro-choice campaign, his admitted negligence in asking the required questions, and his failure to resign the position after accepting the CCHD position, he has shown himself to be unfit for his position at the CCHD. This is precisely because in his actions and his feeble attempts to explain them away, he demonstrably lacks the kind of judgment that the director of the CCHD needs to adequately and reliably perform the critical grantee vetting process.

The response.
Facts Regarding Ralph McCloud and Accusations circulated by “Creative Minority Report”

In a blog posting on January 19, 2011 “Creative Ministry Report” wrongly asserted without talking to me, that I, while heading CCHD in 2008, was “simultaneously working as a highly placed campaign official for a pro-choice politician seeking to unseat a pro-life politician….CMR believes Ralph McCloud and the CCHD should explain McCloud's actions to Catholics concerned about the sanctity of life. Does the Catholic Campaign for Human Development only care about human development of some while turning its back on the unborn? Calls to McCloud and the CCHD were not returned.”

· I served as a member of the Fort Worth City Council representing District 8 , a low income community and focused my efforts on crime, housing, employment and related issues. In August of 2007, my colleague on the Council and a partner in these efforts Wendy Davis asked me to serve in to serve as treasurer of her campaign for Texas State Senate. Since the position was purely honorary and Ms. Davis was a friend and colleague on the Council and served a district adjacent to mine I agreed. We had worked together for 4 years on issues affecting very low income communities in Fort Worth.

· I was unaware that she subsequently took a position on abortion that conflicted with my own strong pro-life convictions. We had never discussed or worked on issues related to protecting the unborn or abortion. At the time I gave my permission to serve the honorary role as treasurer, Ms. Davis had taken no position on abortion nor accepted any campaign funds.

· In Texas elections, the treasurer designation is an honorary designation with no formal responsibilities or duties. I attended no meetings, received or made no reports, I made no contributions, and did no fund- raising or campaigning. I was not actively involved in her campaign or in any way.

· Accusations suggest that I worked in Ms. Davis’ Campaign and for the Conference of Bishops simultaneously. I have never worked in Ms. Davis’ campaign. I left Fort Worth to serve as Director of CCHD in January 2008.

· Since my appointment to Director of CCHD, I have worked and lived in Washington DC. I have worked for the United States Conference of Bishops only. My short visits to Fort Worth were only to visit family and attend to my aging parents. I have not been involved in any campaign, and certainly not involved in the Davis campaign for Texas State Senate.

· Prior to my appointment to director of CCHD, I received the endorsement and encouragement of my Bishop and always had the full support of the bishop and his predecessor for work for the diocese and my service on the City Council.

After moving to Washington, I should have formally resigned from the honorary post treasurer but I had simply forgotten I had agreed to be listed and given all that was going on personally and professionally, it didn’t occur to me. I have since asked to be removed as treasurer. I deeply regret if my role as treasurer and my failure to resign has caused any confusion or misunderstanding.

I am deeply and consistently pro-life, beginning with protecting the lives of unborn children, the most vulnerable in our midst. More importantly, CCHD is fully and completely committed to upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church on the life and dignity of all. I am proud of my role as Director in insuring that CCHD abides by these principles and am working to strengthen them in carrying out the review and renewal of CCHD accepted by the Bishops last fall.

As for not returning calls, the first inquiry from the Creative Minority Report was made on a phone call placed to my office at 12:57 AM on Wednesday morning, just before 1 AM on the day the item was posted. Another call and message was left at 9:16 AM, 45 minutes before these inaccurate accusations were posted.


  1. He is the perfect bureaucrat. He can justify hob-nobbing and trading political favors and support with people he claims to oppose. The position of "honorary" treasurer IS a very important one: you throw your good name out as a public witness that you ENDORSE the candidate's positions. Claiming not even to know or inquire about her position on this issue is total incompetence. She's a DEMOCRAT dude! What did you think her position would be? He endorsed her character. He endorsed her vision and her plans for public service. And that includes the murder of the unborn.

    Surely, if Wendy was a buddy, he'd know these things about her, right? Or did McCloud just want his name on something important? Either way, this doesn't look good for a man who is going to need some major backbone in D.C. For guys like this, abortion is just some dirty little awkward political chip you can flip around when it is expedient ("I need money from Catholics!") and file away when you are ashamed of being Catholic and want to "hang" with other people in public service.

    This is how abortion will be enshrined forever in the laws of this country. Petty bureaucrats will pay the issue lipservice until the end of time, their mouths chock full of Chicken Dinners-For-Life while at the same time trading "honorary titles" with the enemies of the unborn.

  2. Give the man credit, when he shovels it he used both hands.

  3. The Church is an ark, but bureaucratic organizations like this and many of the people involved in them are like barnacles slowing the ship down, keeping it from a straight course, and rotting out its hull. They need to get in the boat instead!

  4. Blackrep: not just petty bureaucrats, but Cardinal Archbishops, as long as they get to sit with Presidents-to-be at the Al Smith Dinner.

  5. While there are many "life issues" out there (poverty, equal education, health care for seniors, etc.), if life isn't valued from the beginning moments, it will not be valued later on. The church is clear that this is a non-negotiable.

    Even as a "private citizen", before his appointment, he should have taken a few seconds to double check her stance on abortion. Most likely, he already knew, but didn't care...

    This guy does not deserve to be in the position he is in. Period.

    Great reporting, guys! He we all thought you were just a bunch of amateurs! You're big-league, now! ;-) Keep up the good work!

  6. Liar or idiot, take your pick. That defense always plays so well....

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. How can anyone on the USCCB or even the CCHD, after seeing the YouTube video after this posting, put up with anything less than snow-driven pure, unambigious, unapologeticly PRO-LIFE folks working in their bureaucracy... there is no future for a Church run by inept (if even in only PR matters) paper-pushers and political hacks. This is yet another indication that CCHD and all who associate with it (even the bishops conference itself) are compromised by its politics and its political bed-fellows. When will the bishops learn, if only for the sake of their own name and stature as a conference, that enough is enough?

    Maybe the second thing to say is that there is never any political position which is "purely honorary". McCloud lent his name to Davis and Davis lent her name to McCloud for their mutual political benefit. A quid-pro-quod... with ALL the attachments. Mr. McCloud, dude, you got busted. No excuse. Give it up and go home.

  9. When someone asks for my vote for any position I ask them "What is your position on abortion?"
    That is the first question.

  10. Before I offer my opinion, let me make this clear: I am unambiguously pro-life. I won't vote for a pro-abortion candidate, I am a political conservative, I am on the traditional side of the liturgy wars, I think politicians like Pelosi, Biden, and the Kennedys are a disgrace, I think many of our church leaders have been wimps (or worse) when it comes to abortion, and I think it's the defining issue of our time and must be abolished and condemned.

    But for the sake of charity, why are you singling this man out? It is clear that he's a democrat, and it's clear that he doesn't see a candidate's abortion views as a dealbreaker when it comes to giving political support.

    When the vast majority of bishops themselves won't even come out and condemn (or even criticize) the supporting of pro-abort pols, is it any surprise that many of the people who work for the Church support these candidates?

    I agree that this is a serious problem, but what good does it do to single out one man like this. He has responded to your charges. He has gone on the record as saying he is unambiguously pro-life.

    His version of the story is that he was friends with this lady at work, she tells him she's running for a legislative seat, he says, "Great! I'll be your treasurer!" He moves to DC, so it's not exactly like he's working on her campaign. I find it pretty credible.

    Should he have sought out her position on abortion? Sure. Is it unusual that he didn't? No. But this is a systemic problem, and putting this one layman up as a scapegoat is irresponsible and unjust.

  11. What a liar he is. And what a disgrace.

    He clearly has a low opinion of our IQs, to think that his transparent attempts at self-exculpation would convince anyone.

    Disgusting. Why do the bishops tolerate people like him?

  12. As a Texan, I hate to see that Ralph McCloud would stay in his position with CCHD after serving on Wendy Davis' campaign. It makes us look like Washington, D.C., either in the White House or District/City politics, both of which are incredibly filthy.

  13. I like this blog, but I would like to agree with with Anon @9:13pm.

    "We can only guess at what tales of incompetence led to those calls being ignored."

    Lines like this need never be written or even thought, because this hateful spirit is corrosive to the body of Christ. I understand these things make us angry; the evil of abortion is oppressively sad and infuriating, but we must not "let the sun go down on our wrath." Not trying to be judgmental here, but it just seems like there's been a lot more vitriol on here lately, and as such I've read your blog less and less.


  14. I'm way over the CCHD; we haven't given them a dime in years just because of this kind of duplicity. This isn't 'nit-picking'. Turning a blind eye to this type of incompetency ("I forgot") is precisely what's gotten us in the mess we're in now.
    Again, just substitute the word 'slavery' for the word 'abortion' & see how much sense the argument makes: I.e., "I forgot to ask her about her position on slavery before I agreed to support her campaign." Ya, right.

  15. Not trying to be judgmental here,

    I love lines like this, especially from anonymous posters, because yes, you are being judgmental. We have an individual giving material support to pro-abortion politicians, and your main concern is the tone in which that criticism is leveled.

  16. Where does the Church find these people?

  17. Anon, when the basement is full of snakes how do you get them out? One at a time.

  18. Anonymous at 12:20 PM has it right. I'm not so sure about the previous anony-mice who advanced the arguments that a) We can't single out X when Y and possibly Z are doing it, too, and b) it's "irresponsible and unjust" scapegoating to call a brother out.

    Maybe I'm just forgetful. Help me out. Where's that Gospel story about how when our brother is committing a sin, we pretend it's not happening.

  19. Did any of you ever see the Father Steven Scheier interview with Mother Angelica on EWTN. Fr. Scheier had a near death experience. He encountered Jesus, and Fr Scheier says, in life when you do something you know is wrong you justify it with excuses. When you stand before Jesus, there are no excuses. It is what it is. I try always now, to think about my actions and if I have to come up with an excuse about why I did them, I probably shouldn't have been doing it. This guy falls into that category. If anyone is interested here is the link to the Father Scheier video.

  20. One of the saddest points to this tale is that as Director of the CCHD he is essentially responsible only to Archbishop Dolan as President of the USCCB, and a subcommittee led by five bishops, two priests, a couple of social workers and a few other laypeople (probably social workers, too).

    Does the Church ever disciplined or fired anybody? I doubt it. Does the Church hire people with degrees and experience in management? I doubt it.


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