Saturday, August 10, 2013

Judie Brown and If The Truth Be Told . . .

Judie Brown, President of American
Life League
Before we return to Saint Francis and the Franciscan Charism in relationship to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, I want to bring something to your attention that is coming to a roiling boil in the Church’s teapot.  When we say “history” we think of the past—and that is most unfortunate as history is not about the past.  The person interested in the past qua past is not a historian but an antiquarian.  The historian uses the past as a metaphor better to understand  the present or to prepare for the future.  Historians are very interested in current matters as today’s news is tomorrow’s history and also because our past gives us windows into the present. 
The katholic krazies are all abuzz in their blogs about the “scandal” surrounding CRS (Catholic Relief Services) and how CRS is not being faithful to the teachings of the Church in allegedly supporting contraceptive programs and even abortions in the developing world.  We owe this news to one Judie Brown who is president of “The American Life League.” Michael Voris of Church Militant TV has been her Paul Revere but what Voris is not telling you and the krazie blogs probably don’t even know is the long term relationship between Judie and CRS that went sour, triggering these unsubstantiated allegations.
You see Judie Brown is not only the president of American Life League but years ago her family started a printing business that printed the materials for ALL.  That permitted Judie to keep ALL resources “in the family” as it were by using ALL money to make Brown money.  There is nothing wrong with that, of course, except for lack of transparency.  The printing business was very successful and other pro-life organizations turned to them for their printing.  Success builds on success and the Brown family printing business did very well.  And CRS turned to the Brown family printing business to do their printing.  Judie's family do good work and at a reasonable price.   From a financial point of view it was win/win for both the Browns and CRS.  In fact CRS became the Brown’s largest client with the massive CRS mailings that go out soliciting donations for the work of Catholic Relief Services.  Their biggest customers!  Then disaster hit—or at least disaster for the Browns.  Ken Hackett, then Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Relief Services, decided that because of the way that Judie Brown and ALL were undermining the work of the Bishops and sowing division in the Church that it was not appropriate for CRS to give the Brown family their business and the Browns lost their biggest customer.  Well, as they say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”  When earlier this year President Obama—a particular bête noire to Ms Brown—appointed Hackett as Ambassador to the Vatican, she was livid.  She wrote a column for Renew America, a right-wing blog decrying the appointment, Hackett, and CRS.  One can only image how chagrined she was that the Holy See did not have objections to Hackett’s appointment. 
Her attempts to discredit Hackett’s appointment were not successful and now Brown has turned on CRS itself.  And who would know better than Judie Brown the hidden sins of CRS—her family business had printed all the CRS materials for years.  And all the time that they held the CRS contract, Judie never sounded the tocsin.  Did CRS money coming into family coffers buy her silence?  Or are her allegations simply retaliation for the financial losses caused her by CRS moving their business elsewhere?  Either way, Ms. Brown doesn’t have the moral high ground.
One of the things I like about CRS is that less than 10% of its income is used for administrative purposes.  This compares with over 33% of ALL’s expenses.  In fact almost 10% of donations to ALL goes to Judie and others who “serve” on ALL’s executive team.    Not shabby when you remember they have a flourishing printing business too. 

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