Since the D&P abortion scandal broke a couple of months ago, many people have emailed me and asked what they can do to oppose the actions of Development & Peace in the Global South. Until a week ago, I’ve basically told them to simply express their concerns to their bishop. Last week, however, I released my video where I made some recommendations. Now that the official report of the CCCB’s investigation committee has whitewashed and exonerated D&P’s practices, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the repeated entreaties of both LifeSite and Socon or Bust, I think it’s time for a more co-ordinated approach which I have called “Campaign Pro Vida” (“Pro Vida” in honour of the Spanish speaking populations of the Global South.)
What D&P and the Bishops have said throughout the abortion scandal…
“Development and Peace does not fund groups or organizations, but provides funding assistance for specific projects, each of which are individually approved.” (Source)
What their 2006-2011 Funding Program says:
“Core funding is provided to our partners and relationships are established with a medium- to long-term view, in recognition that social change results take time and organizations require stability to effectively implement their vision. Many of the partnerships DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
establishes last more than 10 years.” (Source, p. 15, under the heading : Programming principles)
H/T: Doris G.
Dear CCCB and D&P,
Give. It. Up.
We live in the age of the internet and beavery, faithful Catholic bloggers who will let nothing (nothing I tell you!) pass.
Nothing is hidden. All is being revealed.
Darkness cannot exist when the light shines.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:11-14)
OTTAWA, June 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Yesterday, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) released their report concerning the Mexican partners of their international development arm – Development & Peace. Given the very clear and incontrovertible evidence made available by LifeSiteNews.com confirming that the groups have advocated for abortion, it was astonishing that the report whitewashed the matter, saying: “we believe the allegations by Lifesite News … are not founded on the facts.”
Distortion of LSN Allegations
The report says that “the allegations by Lifesite News” consisted of the allegation “that financial assistance by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) aided projects related to the promotion of abortion.” However, LSN never reported that CCODP (D&P) was aiding “projects related to the promotion of abortion.” Instead, we provided substantiated evidence that the groups, which received funding for various non-abortion related projects, were also engaged in pro-abortion advocacy.
Given that three members of D&P led the bishops in their investigations, such distortion is probably not surprising. It was D&P that began misrepresenting our reports by claiming we were making such allegations. As early as March 24, only 12 days after LSN broke the story, we were already addressing the misrepresentation and D&P’s avoidance of the real issues. We repeated over and over again that the evidence in our stories confirmed that the funded groups were involved in abortion and contraception advocacy – not that D&P was funding abortion-related projects.
Embarking on the mission entrusted to us by the CCCB, we traveled to Mexico on 15 April 2009 and met the following day with the representatives of the Mexican Bishops. From then until 18 April 2009 we visited the organizations concerned and held discussions with their leadership. The meeting with the Mexican Episcopal Conference was at the Conference offices and chaired by Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez, Chairman of the Commission for Family, Youth and Laity. Also in attendance were Bishop Luis Artemio Flores Calzada, a member of the Commission for Social Ministry and responsible for Caritas-Mexico; Bishop Leopoldo González González, General Secretary of the Mexican Episcopal Conference; Father Armando Flores Navarro, Secretary of Caritas-Mexico; and Doctor María del Pilar Calva, a physician and bioethics advisor to the Commission for Family, Youth and Laity.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of that meeting. What are the chances of this committee revealing the details of the discussions with the Mexican hierarchy? My guess is that we won’t hear a whisper…
The following are the facts found by the Committee of Inquiry, and subsequently accepted by the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
1. The five Mexican organizations do not support or promote abortion. Their goals are to promote access to justice, civil security, the defence of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, the environment, freedom of speech for journalists, protection of persons abducted, and defence of the poor and Aboriginal Peoples.
False. The “All Rights for Everyone Network” (Red Todos los Derechos para Todos- TDT) was one of the first five groups identified by LifeSiteNews as being a D&P pro-abortion partner. Before they pulled damning evidence of their pro-abortion-pushing messages off of their website, they published the following statement on it:
”The law that permits the legal interruption of pregnancy in the Federal District [Mexico City] represents an advance for the human rights of women,” declared the group. … “The law that permits the legal interruption of pregnancy up to twelve weeks of gestation, which establishes preventative measures in the area of sexual and reproductive health, approved by the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District on the 24th of April, 2007, is a moderate and integral law that has contributed significantly to the exercise of human rights in women, both in the City of Mexico and in some other states,” TDT adds…”We exhort the organs of government, particularly the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, to consolidate the advancement that this law represents and avoid retrogressive actions in prejudice of the human rights of women.” (Source)
Furthermore, “the Director of Mexico’s National Pro-Life Committee has confirmed to LifeSiteNews (LSN) that he is personally aware that at least three of the groups funded by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) in Mexico are pro-abortion. In a telephone interview, Jorge Serrano told LSN that he is aware that “The All Rights for Everyone Network is an abortionist group, CENCOS [National Center for Social Communication] is also abortionist, and [the Center for] Human Rights Augustin Pro is also abortionist.” Although some of the groups were once Catholic, they no longer are, Serrano said, adding that they have embraced Liberation Theology, which is a socialistic movement condemned by the Catholic Church.” (Source)
2. The five Mexican organizations did include their names on a United Nations Report which represented the sum total of all the recommendations of 50 Mexican human rights organizations. However:
a. Each signatory group had expressed its concerns about one or more human rights.
b. Each organization presented its own views without necessarily consulting the others. This is why some of them, by their signature, now appear to accept what the others had presented.
c. The organizations had only six months to send to the United Nations their observations and hopes on human rights in Mexico. The synthesis of all documents received was done in Geneva and resulted in the United Nations Report being ratified by all of the organizations that had contributed to the inquiry.
d. Unfortunately, some organizations that focused on women’s rights took advantage of this opportunity to add “sexual and reproductive rights”, hoping to open the way to abortion in Mexico and thus also leading to allegations that all the signatory groups supported abortion.
It is true that the “Augustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights” (“PRODH”), another one of the five D&P pro-abortion partners, sent a letter to the CCODP claiming that, “We signed the reports for the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights led by the United Nations with the intention of supporting the general cause of human rights in Mexico; not in order to specifically support the legalization of abortion.” However, LifeSite has already answered this rebuttal by reminding D&P “just last year PRODH signed a public declaration denouncing a proposed amendment to the constitution of the state of Jalisco which would protect the right to life from conception to natural death. The statement, unlike the two others previously reported, is an exclusively pro-abortion statement. Published on page 25 of the June 9, 2008, edition of the Guadalajara newspaper Publico, the declaration affirms that
“attempting to re-penalize abortion will put the lives of the women of Jalisco at risk.” “The public initiative presented by the Association of Mexicans for the Lives of Allto reform the political Constitution of Jalsico with the intention of protecting ‘the life of every individual from conception until natural death’ would eliminate the right of the women of Jalisco to interrupt a pregnancy, including when the life of the woman is in danger or when the pregnancy is the product of a rape,” the declaration reads. The declaration also claims that “the initiative annuls fundamental women’s rights, such as the right to life, to health, and to personal integrity and security.” (Source)
The Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, during its meeting of 17-18 June 2009, received the report of the Committee of Inquiry and accepted its seven recommendations. I wish to point out several of these and to confirm that work is already underway on their implementation. First, the Committee of Inquiry has determined that the projects funded by Development and Peace did not promote abortion…
This has never been the allegation. The allegation has been that D&P has been funding pro-abortion groups who in turn advocate for abortion. The problem with funding pro-abortion groups is that money is, by nature, fungible as I pointed out in a previous post:
3. Fungibility – For those of you who don’t know what this word means, it simply means something that is interchangeable. One of the obvious problems with funding pro-abortion groups who may do other work is that the money you give them ultimately gets used to leverage and enable their “reproductive rights” romps. For instance, let’s say you’re a pro-abortion group in the Global South somewhere. You need money. You hear about D&P from your friends in another country whose pro-abortion lobby is being financed by D&P. So to get the money, you set up a little organization to promote “social justice”, oppose “violence against women”, and promote “gender education”. Then you apply for the money and you get it. All of a sudden you’ve got an office, phones, computers, etc. etc. In other words, the money that D&P gives you (or a good part of it) pays for the overhead, and from there you can launch your pro-abortion advocacy campaign in addition to doing the token social justice work for D&P. And that’s only one way of scamming D&P. There are plenty of other ways too. I mentioned the semantic fraud above. Then there are the various ways of misrepresenting the financial records. Indeed, the sky is limitless. But this, of course, assumes that D&P has strong internal controls to prevent abuse – which they don’t. And that is why this whole question comes down to trusting the organization itself. Relying on ineffective and weak controls, as D&P does, is completely useless and futile. D&P chooses to trust its pro-abortion partners. And that’s what makes us the useful idiots for the pro-abortion lobby.
Furthermore, why do the bishops and D&P consistently refuse to accept NOT ONLY the personal testimony and eye-witness account of the pro-life community in Canada but also the witness of the ones in Mexico? What is it precisely that would cause the Canadian Bishops and D&P to trust the word of pro-abortion groups who virulently advocate for abortion over and above the word of faithful Catholics who work against this heinous crime? Step back for a moment and think about that. It’s absolutely sick.
As previously reported by Socon or Bust, the CCCB has issued its report of the allegations made against D&P by LifeSiteNews. I will be responding to all of the relevant material in the report. After reading through the entirety of their representations, I’m very sorry to say that my predictions have come true. In fact, as hard as it is to believe, and despite its seemingly conciliatory nature in parts, the report refuses to deal the inconvenient facts. The report only addresses those facts which it is comfortable in interacting with, but omits the facts that prove the case against D&P. (How many defendants in a trial would not opt for this approach if they were given the option?)
The most bizarre part of this report, however, is in its contradictory nature. In parts, it’s defiant and caluminous. In other parts, it seeks more co-operation with pro-life groups and even LifeSiteNews, the object of its attacks. And in still other parts, it ironically recommends changes to its funding rules to ensure the Church’s teaching on abortion is respected – which, of course, begs the question about why this is necessary if D&P’s practices were above board.
(CCCB – Ottawa) In its report on five Mexican Non-Governmental Organizations that had received project funding from Development and Peace, the Committee of Inquiry of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has come to the conclusion the allegations are unfounded “that financial assistance by Development and Peace aided projects related to the promotion of abortion.”
Here we go again. Where precisely did LifeSiteNews or Socon or Bust allege that D&P was aiding “projects related to the promotion of abortion“?
(CCCB – Ottawa) In its report on five Mexican Non-Governmental Organizations that had received project funding from Development and Peace, the Committee of Inquiry of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has come to the conclusion the allegations are unfounded “that financial assistance by Development and Peace aided projects related to the promotion of abortion.” At the same time as recognizing that the five Mexican organizations were imprudent in signing a United Nations report on the human rights situation in Mexico that included orientations not in accord with Catholic teaching, the Committee of Inquiry has encouraged the CCCB to continue to support Development and Peace, which it had founded more than 40 years ago.
The report was presented to the CCCB Permanent Council, which accepted it and its recommendations. Following this, a statement has been issued by CCCB President Archbishop V. James Weisgerber.
In light of the facts uncovered in its visit to Mexico, 15 to 18 April 2009, the Committee has issued seven recommendations to ensure this situation does not happen again. Its recommendations include:
That Development and Peace be more vigilant in demanding information from possible partners and in ensuring more thorough consultations with the Bishops appointed to its National Council;
That Development and Peace foster good relations between its partners and the Episcopal Conferences of the countries in which they are located;
That Development and Peace staff be encouraged to develop a good and sound understanding of the social doctrine of the Church;
That there be a frank and transparent dialogue between LifeSiteNews and the Bishops of Canada
The Committee of Inquiry comprised Most Reverend Martin W. Currie, Archbishop of St. John’s and Bishop of Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Most Reverend François Lapierre, P.M.É., Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Assisting them were Msgr. Mario Paquette, P.H., CCCB General Secretary, and Msgr. Carlos Quintana Puente, C.S.S., from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he is Executive Director of its Secretariat for the Church in Latin America. Three persons from Development and Peace saw to travel arrangements and other details of the visit to Mexico, where they also helped in organizing the visit and facilitating contacts. The staff from Development and Peace were Mr. Michael Casey, Executive Director; Mr. Paul Cliche, Deputy Director of the International Programs Department; and Mr. André Charlebois, Program Officer for Latin America.
Socon or Bust readers are encouraged to click on all of the hyperlinks in the above press release to get the entire picture.
I will be responding to the report in a more thorough fashion tomorrow. There are some encouraging recommendations in it and even concessions of imprudence and lack of communication, but the report is, on the whole, absolutely unacceptable and, for the most part, a whitewash and a refusal to deal with the facts and the implications of those facts. They got their facts wrong again. And they are refusing to interact with the incontrovertible evidence of their Mexican pro-abortion partners’ advocacy for abortion which
A) COMES RIGHT FROM THEIR PRO-ABORTION PARTNERS’ OWN WEBSITE
B) WAS LATER YANKED FROM THE WEBSITE WHEN THEY WERE BUSTED.
This report should not and will not be accepted by Catholics who are concerned with the plight of the unborn in the Global South.
In addition to the questions raised about the Mexico pro-abortion partners, there are many, many other questions that need to be answered like:
1) WHEN IS THE MONEY TO THE PRO-ABORTION GROUPS D&P IS FUNDING IN PERU GOING TO STOP AT THE REQUEST OF THE BISHOPS OF PERU? WHEN IS D&P AND THE CCCB GOING TO RESPECT THE JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARIES OF THE BISHOPS OF PERU?
2) WHEN IS THE MONEY TO THE MARCH 8TH COLLECTIVE IN NICARAGUA GOING TO STOP?
It’s going to get much hotter in the coming weeks and months…and that won’t simply be because of the season either.
A recent unpublished article is entitled “A Positive Look at the Winnipeg Statement.” The reference is to the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ commentary on the encyclical Humanae Vitae, given at Winnipeg on Friday, September 27, 1968.
The “Positive Look” is based on a claim by the late Cardinal Carter that the Winnipeg Statement was nothing more than a pastoral response to the encyclical. Cardinal Carter said “… there was no question of dissent from our beloved Paul VI… we were about our pastoral business and were not trying to write a theological dissent” (“The Whole Truth About the Winnipeg Statement of 1968”, pamphlet, 1997).
The present notes demonstrate, I believe, the opposite was the purpose of the Winnipeg Statement. This conclusion is warranted by a look at the prior context of the Statement, the Winnipeg meeting itself and the subsequent events. The Winnipeg statement had no positive side. It was a true tragedy.
It’s November 2005 and my friend Tony and I have a meeting with Archbishop Marcel Gervais, the Archbishop of Ottawa at that time. We’re visiting the Archbishop to get support for our upcoming Humanae Vitae 2006 – A New Beginning conference for the following year in May 2006. In the course of our conversation with him about the conference, we discuss the Winnipeg Statement. Most of that conversation is confidential and therefore I am not at liberty to give many details. However, I remember one memorable part of it that I would like to share with Socon or Bust readers. During the conversation, I told the Archbishop that contraception not only divided husbands and wives from one another, it divided children from their parents and it divided society. If we look at western culture today, indeed contraception has done just that. Before the sexual revolution, Canada and much of the West was largely cohesive and homogenous because the family was largely intact. Strong families lead to healthy and vibrant societies, strong in their identity and in their unity within families and among families. After contraception was accepted, families started to fall apart, and, along with them, the West.
But then I said something to the Archbishop that shocked even me since it had never occurred to me before that moment. Perhaps it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit because after I said it, I still did not grasp its significance. (Today, I grasp it completely, and it scares me). “Your Grace”, I said at the time, “contraception separates the priests and the bishops from the laity.” After I said it, the Archbishop gave me a puzzled look. And to be honest, I was as puzzled as he was since I myself was trying to figure out what I had just said. I remember mumbling some kind of tortured explanation to him to help clarify the statement, but I wasn’t much help. Trying to save myself any more embarrassment, I changed the subject and quickly moved on to something else. But looking back now in light of the D&P abortion scandal, the insight that I shared with the Archbishop a few years ago has taken on whole new proportions.
Editorial by John-Henry Westen OTTAWA, June 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Seeking to justify the giving of Catholic monies to groups that do not follow church teaching on abortion and contraception, Archbishop James Weisgerber recently used as an example the Vatican’s yearly contribution to UNICEF. Ironically, however, the Winnipeg archbishop, who is currently the head of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), only managed to disprove his own point, since the Vatican actually halted its yearly donation to UNICEF in 1996, precisely because the organization was found to be promoting abortion and contraception.
I thought I might highlight Msgr. Weisgerber’s appeal to the Vatican’s pastoral solution against UNICEF that I offered in my original post.
Weisgerber used the example of yearly Vatican contributions to UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children with which the Vatican has disagreed on contraception and abortion policy. Vatican donations are earmarked for specific programs or projects which reflect Vatican priorities.
The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations announced today at the pledging conference for Development Activities, held at the United Nations in New York, that it “cannot offer any symbolic contribution to UNICEF” this year.
It indicated that the annual contribution of the Holy See to that organization is a symbolic offering representing the Catholic Church’s desire to work with these entities such as UNICEF which share a general concern for children, while symbolically responding to UNICEF’s desire to collaborate with the Church’s child-focused projects throughout the world. At the same time, this donation was seen as a recognition that the work and policies of UNICEF were not contradictory to the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church. This has been particularly important in view of the encouragement which this donation has given to individual Catholic and like-minded donors, and which has also led to various special activities, including the sale of UNICEF Greeting Cards in Catholic institutions.
The decision to suspend the practice of making a symbolic contribution was the result of the Holy See’s increasing preoccupation with the changes in UNICEF’s activities which have begun to divert some of its already scarce economic and human resources from the care of the most basic needs of children to other areas outside of that specific mandate given by the United Nations to UNICEF. In particular, the Holy See is concerned about:
The failure of UNICEF TO provide accountability for funds which donors have “earmarked” for specific and morally unobjectionable child-related projects despite numerous requests by the Holy See for such assurances;
The participation of UNICEF in the publication of a United Nations Manual advocating the distribution of abortifacient “post-coital contraceptives” to refugee women in emergency situations;
Credible reports that UNICEF workers in various countries were distributing contraceptives and counselling their use….
If Msgr. Weisgerber wants to quote the Vatican on its pastoral application to funding pro-abortion groups, let him follow in their footsteps and cut the funding to D&P’s pro-abortion partners as well.
Further to that remarkable interview that the Archbishop of Winnipeg gave the Catholic Registerin which he declared that bloggers who dare question or criticize his judgement in the D&P abortion scandal are “not part of the church”, below are my rebuttals to the notable comments made. It will help, I hope, put the substance of the matter back on the table.
Development and Peace is prepared to re-examine its protocols for engaging partners, said spokeswoman Wanda Potrykus.
Ms. Portrykus says that Development & Peace is prepared to re-examine its protocols for engaging partners. But, folks, has not the Archbishop exonerated D&P? In his media blitz around the country, he has given no substantial criticism or even hint of any meaningful reform but only assured us all that the CCCB and D&P have followed very defined, strict pastoral guidelines in doling out our cash to rabid pro-abortion organizations. Why, then, if they haven’t done anything wrong is it necessary to re-examine the protocols for engaging [their pro-abortion] partners? Why is it necessary to do anything but rebuff us and carry on, business as usual? Does this comment mean that they will have the audacity to ask their partners about abortion, and possibly exclude them if they are involved in any way in abortion advocacy? And if that is so, isn’t that the very thing we have been asking for?
But it’s not as if it just hands money out with no strings attached, she said. “Anything we allocate money to, we have written reports that have to be submitted showing how the money was spent and whether it was spent as it was intended,” said Potrykus.
1. What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You – D&P and its supporters believe the representations and declarations of avowed pro-abortion advocacy groups when these very declarations are contingent on them receiving D&P’s funds. Does anyone really believe that groups dedicated to overturning pro-life laws are going to answer honestly, truthfully, and completely when one of their major funders is a Catholic organization? An example will help put things in perspective. Let’s say that D&P decides to fund a particular group. At the end of the year, D&P asks for a report about how their $30,000 grant was spent. What does their pro-abortion partner tell them? They give D&P selective information about their great programs, of course. Of the $30,000 they have received, two of three programs are moral and legitimate while the third one is not. The third one is called “gender equity training”. (In fact, if you read the latest D&P annual review, you will see that they even use this phrase “gender equity” in their literature.) In their report, they talk generally about this training which might be not be overtly objectionable (although alarm bells should be sounding off with D&P staff, they choose not to hear them). But the report doesn’t tell them about the “reproductive rights” part of the program. What D&P doesn’t know, after all (wink,wink), won’t hurt them. That way, everyone wins. The official answer, therefore, is that $10,000 of this money was spent on “gender equity training”. And the D&P official reading the report in Toronto puts a checkmark in the “Verified Box” and moves on to the next report. That’s how it works, folks. That’s how it works.
In fact, in the eye-witness account of the 8th of March Women’s Collective in Nicaragua (See D&P Funding Feminist Group Who Seeks to Loosen Nicaragua’s Abortion Law), “Conchita” told me that when one of the tour visitors asked who funded their organization, Ms. Torres, the pro-abortion activist who is the director of the clinic, told the visitors that they were funded by Development & Peace. This is even more revealing since the tour did not involve Development & Peace so there was no reason for Ms. Torres to offer that information, unless of course, the funding received by Development & Peace was substantial and relevant to the Clinic’s pro-abortion advocacy.
Below is an article that appeared on the Catholic Register’s website today. Some of the remarks by the Archbishop are absolutely astounding.
I take particular exception to the last comment where the Archbishop targets “bloggers” and tells us that we’re “not part of the Church“. Now, I don’t how many Catholic blogs are covering this on a daily basis or even regularly, but it’s a pretty safe bet that his Grace was referring to this blog and yours truly, given my involvement in the D&P abortion scandal thusfar.
If what he says is true, then I’ve been de facto excommunicated. (LifeSiteNews gets off because they are not a blog. They’re a news organization with a rather substantial budget for a web-based news service, although admittedly their budget is not even close to what D&P scams Catholics for. Perhaps that will change after this fiasco runs its course. In fact, why don’t you consider making a donation right now to reward them for their fidelity to the Church and the Gospel of Life. Lord knows fidelity among Catholic leadership today needs to be encouraged and supported.)
So, folks, there you have it.
I’m no longer Catholic. I’ve been cut off. And I didn’t even get a trial. No charges. No witnesses. No evidence.
If we’re not part of the hierarchy, we don’t count. We’re not part of the church; we’re not Catholic.
Then again, are we surprised that such a judgement is reached when D&P gets a free pass?
I will be posting my rebuttal to Msgr. Weisgerber’s remarks (denoted in red below) tomorrow at lunch time…along with an apologia of how to remain Catholic when our bishops scandalize and persecute us.
Peace of Jesus,
John “Not Part of the Church” Pacheco
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s Mexican partners were “imprudent” when they signed a civil society submission to the United Nations on human rights, but Canada’s bishops have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Development and Peace or its partners, Archbishop James Weisgerber has declared. The report into allegations made by LifeSiteNews.com that Development and Peace funded Mexican groups lobbying in favour of legal abortion will include recommendations for tighter protocols on future partnerships, but those recommendations won’t be revealed until all the bishops have had a chance to read the report, said the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president.
Weisgerber reversed his earlier decision not to speak about the investigation findings before all the bishops had read the report, prepared by two bishops who travelled to Mexico April 15 to 18 to speak to Development and Peace partners and to Mexican bishops.
“This thing is heating up,” he said. “Before we release all the recommendations, I’m just giving an overall impression — given the fact that the group found no difficulty.”
Development and Peace is prepared to re-examine its protocols for engaging partners, said spokeswoman Wanda Potrykus. But it’s not as if it just hands money out with no strings attached, she said.
“Anything we allocate money to, we have written reports that have to be submitted showing how the money was spent and whether it was spent as it was intended,” said Potrykus.
The archdiocese of Toronto won’t decide whether it will release ShareLife money to Development and Peace before the report has been read by all the bishops and the CCCBhas agreed on a course of action, said spokesman Neil MacCarthy. Archbishop Thomas Collins has vowed that no ShareLife money will go to Development and Peace if there is evidence it is helping fund pro-abortion advocacy.
But, MacCarthy added, “We also recognize that we need to make a decision on the 2009 allocation before the end of our fiscal year, which is July 31.”
“I would hope on the basis of that (report) the dioceses would give their money,” said Weisgerber.
Weisgerber is urging Catholics to turn to their bishops rather than blogs and web sites when it comes to defining who or what is Catholic.
“People are taking interpretations and making them fact. People are believing these facts as though they were indisputable, when clearly they are very disputable,” said Weisgerber. “They are interpretations from a political standpoint.”
It is not necessary that Development and Peace work only with groups that espouse Catholic moral teaching, said Weisgerber.
“It is also very clear from the direction given by Pope John XXIII and by the (Second Vatican) Council that the church is to work with other people — but not, in a sense, blindly,” he said.
Weisgerber used the example of yearly Vatican contributions to UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children with which the Vatican has disagreed on contraception and abortion policy. Vatican donations are earmarked for specific programs or projects which reflect Vatican priorities.
“We give money to projects, not to organizations,” he said.
The bishops are seeking clarification on a letter sent from the president of the Peruvian bishops’ Commission on Family, Childhood and Life to Weisgerber. The May 28 letter from Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi claims three Development and Peace partners in Peru are “very committed with the pro-abortion movement here in Peru.”
“For this to come, again from a commission to me and to be released to the public before I receive the letter — there’s an agenda at work here,” Weisgerber said.
Weisgerber regrets the controversy has distracted people from the bishops’ development agency’s core purpose.
“Our first responsibility … is to help poor people,” he said.
The role of web sites in stirring controversy has become a challenge for bishops.
“These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone — I think first of all they’re not part of the church, they’re not Catholic in the sense that they have no mandate, they have no authority, they have no accountability. And they speak very, very definitively about what it means to be Catholic, and they’re followed by so many people… the bishops I think take a more reasoned approach to the whole thing.” (Source)
OTTAWA, June 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite a June 22 press release stating that neither the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) nor Development and Peace (D&P) would be commenting on the results of a recent investigation of five of D&P’s Mexican partners until the results were made public, the President of the CCCB, Archbishop James Weisgerber, has been making the rounds of the media in the last several days, giving numerous interviews on the topic.
Michael Swan, with CNS reports that the archbishop reversed the decision not to comment prior to the release to all bishops saying: “This thing is heating up. Before we release all the recommendations, I’m just giving an overall impression, given the fact that the group found no difficulty.”
In the interviews the archbishop stated that the recent investigation found nothing amiss with Development and Peace’s funding of its Mexican partners. The Catholic Register, in an article also written by Micheal Swan, its associate editor, reported that the “Canadian Bishops clear Development and Peace of any wrongdoing.” Lastly, a Zenit report by Salt & Light TV correspondent David Naglieri, was titled, “Probe Clears Canadian Agency of Funding Abortion.”
The archbishop, who heads the Winnipeg Archdiocese, told Zenit: “I can tell you that the bishops’ visit found no evidence that Development and Peace was in any way implicated in abortion services or abortion advocacy.”
“[But] that really wasn’t the allegation being made. The allegation is that they are funding people who are involved in other ways, and we found no evidence of that, either.”
Even with the investigation having been limited to the first five groups in Mexico, the evidence against the D&P funded groups is incontrovertible in its own right, and has also been attested to by a major pro-life leader in Mexico. Even though some of the most compelling evidence was scrubbed from one of the Mexican group’s websites shortly after LSN broke the story of D&P’s funding of the group, the info is retained by LSN.
Not all Catholic news services were as quick to accept unreservedly Archbishop Weisgerber’s avowals. Catholic World News (CWN) reported, “Ironically, the CCCB statement was issued just as Vatican Radio aired a report on complaints from the Peruvian bishops, who said that the Canadian agency had indeed given support to groups agitating for unrestricted abortion in that country. The LifeSiteNews service has provided evidence that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace also gave support to pro-abortion groups in Mexico and other countries. A series of exposés by LifeSiteNews has been sufficient to convince several Canadian bishops to suspend diocesan funding for the agency.”
CWN also reported, quoting form the Salt and Light interview, “In an obvious slap at LifeSiteNews, the archbishop invoked the authority of the hierarchy as the basis for his sweeping statement. ‘What is at issue is authority in the Catholic Church,’ he said. ‘Is it web sites or is it the Catholic Church?’”
Archbishop Weisgerber has repeatedly expressed the same sentiment in his other interviews.
The Catholic Register reports: “The role of web sites in stirring controversy has become a challenge for bishops.” Weisgerber told the Register: “These bloggers who claim to be more Catholic than anyone – I think first of all they’re not part of the church, they’re not Catholic in the sense that they have no mandate, they have no authority, they have no accountability. And they speak very, very definitively about what it means to be Catholic, and they’re followed by so many people.”
Although there have indeed been a number of blogs regularly covering the scandal, LifeSiteNews, which has taken the lead on the issue, is neither a website nor a blog. It is a widely read international news service that disseminates its reports via email and its website. LifeSiteNews daily news reports are re-published and quoted around the world by numerous other news services and websites and in print publications and radio and television programs.
This is an excellent post by Suzanne, and it hits the nail on the head. If the bishops don’t want to conform their behaviour to what the Church teaches, then the faithful will look for other ways to be instructed and supported. When their delinquincy ends, so will the cyber magisterium.
What is the cyber magisterium? The cyber magisterium is merely a way of receiving authentic Catholic teaching. It is not another teaching authority. On the contrary, it is merely using technology to receive authentic Catholic doctrinal and pastoral teaching from faithful bishops. This cyber magisterium is necessary in our time because whole national episcopacies are in crisis and lacking in leadership.
In a recent interview on Zoom TV (produced by Salt and Light Television) Winnipeg Archbishop Msgr James Weisberger lamented the advent of “website Catholicism.”
Ever since the advent of the internet, orthodox Catholics have been turning to the internet for community and leadership. I can only speak for myself, but I sense that my feelings are widely shared when I say that we have felt very betrayed by the lack of leadership from the bishops in general, with notable exceptions.
One of the symptoms of this abdication of leadership is the Winnipeg Statement, which essentially allowed for Catholic couples to decide whether or not contraception was acceptable for them.
We all know that that’s not Church teaching. The Church is fairly clear about this matter: all sexual acts must be open to life.
Anyone who knows anything about Catholicism knows this. But there has been quite a lot of prevaricating in the Church. The Winnipeg Statement has been a kind of portal for the contraceptive mentality in Canada, the guiding light of dissenting Catholics.
If contraception can be “up to the couples”, then any doctrine is open to question, in reality.
But now that the D & P scandal has come to light, the bishops are starting to throw their weight around. It’s okay to “trust one’s conscience” when it comes to contraception, but when it comes to questioning the bishops about their pet organization and the money being funnelled to abortion-promoting groups, well that’s not okay.
We’re not even questioning Church doctrine, here. We’re questioning certain behaviours, certain blindspots in the bishop’s judgement….
Thank you for all inquiries. As catholic we have to work together. The Canadian case is not one and only. In France we have the same with CCFD (Comité catholique contre la faim et pour le développement) which is our CCODP! I just publish a book “Le terrorisme pastoral”, “Pastoral terrorism”. In chapter 4 “le CCFD et l’Evangile de la vie” I give the proof about the CCFD involvement in abortion and contraception. But officially CCFD silent about because it should receive less money from catholics and it should lose confidence of African bishops ! The book is available in Canada. Read the rest of this entry »