Date of Award

Summer 1998

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hughson, D. T.

Second Advisor

Hinze, Christine F.

Third Advisor

Carey, Patrick


There is an evident need for funds designated to be used for organizing groups of white and minority poor to develop economic and political power in their own communities .... Therefore be it resolved that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops establish a National Crusade Against Poverty. The crusade will commit the Church to raise a fund of 50 million dollars over the next several years.' With these words, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops initiated the most significant and longest running experiment of twentieth century American Catholic social action, the Campaign for Human Development [CHD]. Twenty nine years and over $225 million dollars later, the experiment has become an official department of the United States Catholic Conference. Why the experiment in the first place? Why would Catholic bishops approve funds for the poor to organize for power? Was there a theology behind CHD? Why was the original $50 million permitted to expand to over $225 million? What was validated within the experiment which led to the conclusion that providing funds for organized power groups was an official function of the American Catholic Church, or perhaps more clearly stated, a constitutive dimension of American Catholic life? The answers to these questions establish CHD as a unique theological resource in the development of a North American theology...



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