SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The new head of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) at the Diocese of Salt Lake City is a former political candidate who supported same-sex “marriage” and the promotion of contraception in the schools; she also opposed attempts to tighten Utah’s abortion law.
Jean Welch Hill, who ran as a Democrat for state attorney general in 2008, took over last week as director of the diocesan CCHD and the Peace and Justice Commission. She will also serve as the government liaison, acting as a lobbyist for the diocese.
Hill’s 2008 campaign was backed by Planned Parenthood and the homosexual lobby group Equality Utah, with contributions from each.
“I just think this shows incredibly poor judgment,” a concerned Catholic member of the diocese close to the situation, who asked not to be identified, told LifeSiteNews about Hill’s appointment. “It’s very troubling that someone who is for all intents and purposes pro-Planned Parenthood, and who is against school vouchers, and who is a partisan Democrat, is representing our diocese to the government of the state of Utah.”
“Life issues have gotten very little play in the diocese,” the individual said. “I really doubt that if [Hill] had dissented from the Church’s teaching on immigration that she would have been considered.”
In a 2008 debate at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Salt Lake City, Hill called for changes in Utah law to allow the promotion of contraception in schools as part of a “comprehensive” approach to sex education. The state currently forbids promoting contraception in schools.
“I think we absolutely have to advocate for some medically-sound, accurate sex education in our public schools,” said Hill. “We need to let [young people] know what contraceptive options are available and the risks of those options.”
“We absolutely have to change our approach to sex education in this state,” she added.
In the same debate, she opposed efforts by Utah legislators to pass pro-life legislation, saying these laws would cost the state “millions” to defend, in order to simply have them overturned when they get to the Supreme Court. “I think the U.S. Supreme Court’s been very clear on where abortion stands at this point,” she said. “And our law is as conservative as it can be under Supreme Court precedent right now.”
“Legislators may want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. I’m not sure that’s the best use of state resources at this point in our history,” she added.
News reports indicate that Hill supported same-sex “marriage” when she ran in a 1996 Utah election, and she was endorsed by Equality Utah for attorney general in 2008. In the debate at Hinckley Institute of Politics, she also came out in favor of homosexual adoption, which the Catholic Church opposes.
Presented with evidence of Hill’s public opposition to Catholic moral teaching, the Diocese of Salt Lake City said they do not discuss “personnel issues.” “Jean Hill is a practicing Catholic who is totally committed to the mission of the Church,” said Colleen Gudreau, the diocese’s director of communications.
Salt Lake City’s Bishop John Wester, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, was vocal last year in opposing funding for abortion in the federal health care law. He was also among the bishops to take Sr. Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Association, to task for her support of the bill despite its abortion-funding provisions.
“What do they consider the mission of the Church?” asked the concerned Catholic in response to the diocese’s statement.
James Snow, campaign director for Salt Lake City’s 40 Days for Life, said he is “gratified” by the diocese’s assurances of Hill’s faithfulness, but noted that her “high-profile association and generous campaign donations from those advocating the Culture of Death in Utah cannot be ignored.”
“Until she offers a repudiation for these previous errors, I must conclude her support for the mission of the Church alludes to her new role directing the office for the Alinskyian Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” he said.
Hill, who had already been serving on the Peace and Justice Commission before being named its director, was an attorney for the State Board of Education for the last decade.
Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City
27 C Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Phone: 801.328.8641 ext. 304