A couple of weeks ago, Socon or Bust reported on the visit to Toronto of Fr. Luis Arriaga SJ, the director of Agustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights, one of Development & Peace’s pro-abort Mexican partners. This group was featured in LSN’s initial report of the five pro-abort Mexican groups which Development & Peace has been funding.
According to the following news report, however, Fr. Arriaga has denied any involvement by his organization in abortion advocacy:
TORONTO - Allegations that a Mexican human rights organization either endorsed or helped efforts pushing for expanded access to legal abortion were never true, its director has told The Catholic Register.
However, the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Centre neither signed nor endorsed the report, said Jesuit Father Luis Arriaga, its director. The centre was simply named on the last page as one of 65 organizations that contributed to the report.
“We’re not focused on sexual or reproductive rights. This is not our speciality,” he said. “Our focus is on the defence and promotion of civil and political rights.”
“Among 65 NGOs, we did some part of this final report,” said Arriaga. “But the item about sexual and reproductive rights was drafted by NGOs that work in those kinds of items.”
One of the standard tricks of a good politician is to answer allegations that are not at the substance of the complaint. Instead of dealing with the incontrovertible evidence, a good politican will start talking about other evidence which he can handle and easily deflect. That’s what Fr. Arriaga has done in his interview. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that the reporter is not too interested in confronting him about the real and uncomfortable evidence either. After all, for the social justice spin masters, the key is not to say what you don’t have to say, and not to ask what you shouldn’t ask.
While it may be true that Fr. Arriaga’s organization was only loosely associated with the report referred to above (the omnibus joint report to the United Nations on Mexican human rights), this omnibus joint report is not and never has been the central objection to Agustin Pro Juarez’s Center for Human Rights involvement in abortion advocacy. It was only a footnote to the central allegation against this organization which is contained in another statement to which they are a signatory.
Agustin Pro Juarez’s Center for Human Rights was a member organization of the “All Rights for Everyone Network”. That Network is comprised of 58 members, one of which was Agustin Pro Juarez. This Network produced a Statement on Apr. 24, 2008 in support of Mexico’s city new abortion law, in part which reads:
“The law that permits the legal interruption of pregnancy in the Federal District [Mexico City] represents an advance for the human rights of women.”
MEXICO CITY, March 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – LifeSiteNews has learned that a group funded by the Catholic bishops’ Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) is a supporter and defender of Mexico City’s abortion law, which legalizes and guarantees abortion on demand during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
“The law that permits the legal interruption of pregnancy in the Federal District [Mexico City] represents an advance for the human rights of women,” declares the “All Rights for Everyone Network” (Red Todos los Derechos para Todos) in a statement released April 24, 2008 in the name of its 58 members.
“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,” declares the Network (see full text in Spanish here) **June 22 LSN NOTE: See May 28 LSN report, Pro-Abortion Group Funded by Development and Peace Removes Evidence from Website). Since this follow up report was published even the Google cache of the removed pages has been also removed….(Source)
To facilitate this investigative process LSN focussed on one of the groups in a March 23 report, demonstrating with new documents and an interview with the executive secretary of the group, that the CCODP partner “All Rights for Everyone Network” (Red Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas) openly endorses and defends the Mexico City abortion law, which allows and even guarantees abortion on demand for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is not merely a report signed by the Network. It is a statement created by the Network itself, which is a direct recipient of $40,000 Canadian annually. In addition, the pro-abortion statement was made on behalf of the Network’s 58 members, which include a second CCODP partner, the Augustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (see that report here)….(Source)
In addition to this, the Director of Mexico’s National Pro-Life Committee confirmed to LifeSiteNews 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.” (Source)
And to put the icing on the cake, Fr. Arriaga tells us what he really thinks about the importance of the abortion issue:
Involving Mexican organizations in a Canadian controversy over abortion is unhelpful to the cause of social justice, said Arriaga. “It’s nasty to focus on those kinds of items if we live in a country where half the population lives in poverty,” he said.
According to Fr. Arriaga, the “cause of social justice”, apparently, should not be weighed down with the “controversy over abortion”.
But if abortion is not about “social justice”, then just what is it about? Wait a minute…I know! Fr. Arriaga tells us in the article: it’s about “sexual and reproductive rights”.
I think Fr. Arriaga’s comment is emblematic of the flippant attitude this clique in the Church have toward the unborn and abortion. It also shows us the vacuum of teaching which has sucked the Church dry these past 40 years and it shows us the ugly results when the bishops do not teach the truth with full vigour and zeal. The results are before us: we have a whole wing of the Church that looks more like a secular NGO than anything even remotely representing the Catholic faith’s teaching on human development.
The last sentence in the article is even more revealing. Fr. Arriaga calls it “nasty” to focus on abortion when there’s so much poverty. First of all, this statement is a fallacy since Catholic teaching does not demote the protection of the unborn to a secondary concern under the alleviation of poverty. If fact, the right to life is first and foremost before any other right. That’s Catholic teaching so, if anything, Fr. Arriaga, has it backwards. Secondly, his comment is a typical tactic which is occasionally expressed by pro-abort opponents when trying to divert the issue away from abortion by insisting that we should abandon justice for a defenseless human being in favour of “the poor”. It represents a cowardly attempt to split the Church’s witness between “either/or” instead of embracing “both/and”. We can focus on both poverty relief and promoting a culture of life.
It’s too bad that Development and Peace is too caught up in the fashionable causes of the day, financing pseudo-crises like “climate change” or “anti globalization” or pro-Marxist outfits to bother focusing on either the poor or the unborn. For them, the destruction of unborn life is a minor issue and it might even be ”nasty” to focus on it – at least it is for their partners.
If insisting on a pro-life ethic is nasty, I can’t wait to hear Fr. Arriaga’s colourful description when his funding gets cut. That, or having a pro-life ethic won’t be so nasty any more. The money or the accusations of “nastiness” will have to go.
How’s that for “focus”, Father?
Dear Editor of The Catholic Register: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish to vehemently object to Michael Swan’s disingenuous and white-wash reporting on Agustin Pro Juarez’s Center for Human Rights and its involvement in abortion advocacy in Mexico.
Does the Catholic Register not have some kind of media standards that prohibit this kind of erroneous and duplicitous reporting? Or is it now acceptable to leave your readers with a false impression of the facts and the evidence concerning Development & Peace in general and this group in particular?
Readers of The Catholic Register are entitled to transparency and full disclosure. I think you have an obligation, in justice, to provide it.
Socon or Bust