LifeSite’s report is in grey and red. Socon or Bust commentary is in blue.
CORNWALL, October 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Monday, LifeSiteNews.com sat down with Martin W. Currie, Archbishop of St. John’s, Newfoundland for an interview. Archbishop Currie was listed as the co-author of the June report which was the result of an investigation into evidence uncovered by LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that some of the groups funded by the international development arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) were advocating for abortion.
The June report sparked controversy as it stated: “we believe the allegations by Lifesite News … are not founded on the facts.” In the interview however, LSN was able to demonstrate directly to the archbishop that the allegations were indeed founded on facts. After seeing the evidence first hand, the bishop stated apologetically, “I just should have followed up more.”
The archbishop, who was amicable and courteous throughout the interview, explained the process of the investigation. He noted that he travelled to Mexico with the rest of the investigation team which included Bishop François Lapierre of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec as well as representatives from Development and Peace.
He explained that the investigation was limited to the first five groups in Mexico that LSN had identified as pro-abortion. He revealed that the investigation team questioned the five groups directly. He said that he accepted the word of the groups when they told him they in no way supported abortion.
“They themselves, in honest and blunt questioning, told me that they themselves are not in favor of abortion,” he said. “In no way are they supportive or sponsoring anything dealing with abortion. That was their frank [response], when we asked them point blank.”
Archbishop Currie also noted that he was only aware of the groups having signed onto one problematic UN omnibus document, part of which was an endorsement of abortion.
When LSN noted that that the UN document in question was only one piece of seven pieces of evidence LSN had reported, the archbishop admitted frankly he was not aware of and did not consider the other evidence. “No, the other ones, to be honest with you, I haven’t followed too closely,” he said.
Asked if there was any reason why LSN was not consulted or contacted during the investigation, Archbishop Currie replied, “No, not that I know of … on that matter, really to be honest, I can’t really comment.”
Despite the brevity of the interview, LSN was able to show the archbishop online evidence of direct pro-abortion advocacy of one of the five groups he investigated. To this revelation the archbishop frankly and apologetically acknowledged, “I just should have followed up more.”
“I just should have followed up more”?
Sorry, that’s not an acceptable response. It’s a typical and predictable response from our Canadian bishops, but it’s not an acceptable one from anyone who is familiar with the phrase, “due diligence”. One who is serious about justice and intends to conduct a legitimate investigation sifts through ALL OF THE EVIDENCE and directly engages those who are making the accusations. The fact that this was not done shows the half-hearted and flippant approach to this controversy. When the Archbishop was asked why LSN was not directly engaged, the response was that he “can’t really comment”. Is this not sufficient proof that there was no serious effort to get to the bottom of the allegations? Amazing. Truly, truly amazing.
The archbishop also noted that in meeting with the bishops of Mexico and one of their experts on bioethical matters, the Mexican bishops’ expert, Dr. Pilar Calva, had indeed indicated serious concerns with the groups in question. When asked why those concerns of Dr. Calva were not mentioned in the report, Archbishop Currie said he thought they were in the report. “I think they were,” he said.
So, let me get this straight. The two bishops and representatives of Development & Peace took the word of the pro-aborts, but not the Mexican bishops’ bioethical expert, Dr. Calva. Do I have that right? This is an unbelievable revelation. UNBELIEVABLE. This is shades of Peru. Yet again, we have the Canadian bishops flippantly ignoring the voices of the bishops of the Global South. What a bunch of sexual imperialists we’ve become! Have we no shame? No dignity? No repentance? Is it all about saving face? Is it about preserving a failed and fraudulent 40-year “social justice” legacy at the expense of the truth? Apparently it is. This generation of bishops and the ones before it will be known as the “Bishops of Death and Perversion” because that is the legacy they have left for us, along with one billion dead babies, a portion of which is now being financed by us, the useful idiots in the pews.
The Archbishop told LSN that he “should have followed up more” after reading the additional evidence that LSN showed him at the Assembly (and had previously reported on). But what was his excuse for dismissing Dr. Calva’s ”serious concerns” with the pro-abort groups? Were not bells going off? And why were these comments omitted from the report? He didn’t need to be surprised about these “new revelations” months later at the Bishop’s plenary assembly, when he had the Mexican bishop’s expert TELLING HIM right there in Mexico that there was a problem with these groups! (Read Socon or Bust’s critique of the report here.)
By the way, did anyone notice the report’s length? It’s just over 2 pages long, with healthy margins on either side of the page. This is not a 50-page report where such a small detail of Dr. Calva’s concerns could have been overlooked (ignoring for the moment [if we can] his critical and lethal revelations which would have impugned the reputations of both Development and Peace and the CCCB). Two pages long and they conveniently omitted the most important piece of information? Give me a break.
In fact back in the Summer, LSN had pointedly asked the question that all of us wanted to know when the report was released:
“The report notes that the Canadian delegation met with three bishops and two staff representing the Mexican Episcopal Conference. Nothing is said in the report, however, about what concerns or comments the Mexican bishops may have expressed on the issue. This seems to be a glaring omission. Surely it would be appropriate to give some indication in the report, which is primarily intended for the rest of Canada’s bishops, what the response of their brother bishops in Mexico was to the controversy. (Source)
As no mention of the objections of the Mexican Bishops’ expert was made in the publicly released report, LSN inquired about the existence of a separate report. However, CCCB Communications Director Gerald Baril, who sat in on the interview, affirmed there was no other report sent to the bishops.Asked then if the Canadian bishops were aware of Dr. Calva’s concerns, Archbishop Currie replied, “I think so, or they will be, I think they will be.” (Presumably meaning during the forthcoming discussion, which was to ensue in the following days of the Plenary)
We don’t even have the consolation of there being two reports: one sanitized and white-washed report for the public, and another report for the bishops which tells them the whole story. That scenario would still have been wrong, but at least the bishops would have heard the truth about the allegations of the Mexican groups. According to CCCB Communication Director Gerald Baril, however, there was no other report sent to the bishops! And Archbishop Currie doesn’t exactly offer assurances that Dr. Calva’s concerns would be formally presented. And if they were presented, just who would be responsible for presenting Dr. Calva’s concerns to the assembled bishops? Management of Development & Peace perhaps? So in other words, Dr. Calva’s revelations are somewhere on a bureaucrat’s computer in Development & Peace’s corporate office in Toronto, or worse still, no where at all — except back in Mexico with Dr. Calva.
Archbishop Currie said he thought that Dr. Calva’s comments were in the report, but obviously they weren’t. What does this suggest? It suggests that he did not write the report. It’s also likely Bishop François Lapierre did not write the report either. It was likely prepared for them by one of the three Development & Peace members, and they were asked to sign it — which they did.
The question therefore still needs to be answered: Just who wrote the report and deliberately omitted the representation of Dr. Calva?
Do Catholic Bishops normally sign documents that omit reporting the ”serious concerns” of representatives of other Bishops’ conferences? If we can’t trust them to report accurately and fully on such questions, what makes them think that we can trust them on anything at all?
In conclusion Archbishop Currie assured LSN of his own pro-life convictions, and also noted that D&P staff “now have a better awareness of the whole situation. They’re trying to be more cautious and more careful, to hook up better with the bishops” and to do more investigation of groups they are going to sponsor. The archbishop imparted his blessing on the LSN reporters after the interview.
So the bishop expects us to trust Development & Peace on go-forward basis? In other words, the current “partners” stay in place, and we are supposed to trust the management of Development & Peace in selecting new ones?
This must be a joke.
Members of the “Investigation Team”
Archbishop Martin Currie, of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Bishop François Lapierre of Saint-Hyacinthe were the authors of the report. They were assisted by Msgr. Carlos Quintana, C.S.S., Executive Director of the National Collection for the Church in Latin America of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Msgr. Mario Paquette, P.H., General Secretary of the CCCB; and three persons from Development and Peace who saw to travel arrangements and other organising: Messrs Michael Casey, Executive Director, Paul Cliche, Deputy Director of the International Programs Department, and André Charlebois, Program Officer for Latin America. (Source)
While in Mexico, Michael Casey, the Executive Director of Development and Peace, spoke with the Catholic News Service (CNS) about the investigation. Other members of the investigation team would not speak to the media. Baril told LSN that although Monsignor Mario Paquette, the General Secretary of the CCCB was also part of the investigation, he “was told not to discuss any details of the inquiry until the bishops have been informed because they are directly concerned with the whole thing.” (Source)