The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have responded to LifeSiteNews's series documenting the funding of groups that support abortion and contraception by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (more commonly known as "Development and Peace" or "D & P"). D & P is the Canadian version of Catholic Relief Services.
LSN has produced evidence showing that D & P's funding for organizations supporting abortion and contraception extends to at least 17 organizations in 10 countries: Benin, Brazil, East Timor, Guinea, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, and Togo.
The Canadian Bishops' replied yesterday with a two and one-half page report. That is not a serious reponse to a situation that has caused some Canadian Bishops to withhold funding from D & P, and for the Bishops of Peru to write:
"It is very disturbing to have groups which work against the Bishops of Peru by attempting to undermine legal protection for the right to life of unborn children, be funded by our brother bishops in Canada."
Further, the COCB report only examined the instances where D & P had funded organizations that support abortion and contraception in Mexico. It ignored the other 9 countries involved. The report takes the strange tack of "beginning by concluding"
1) In conclusion of our inquiry regarding the Mexican Episcopal Conference and the five non-governmental organizations in question, we believe the allegations by Lifesite News – that financial assistance by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) aided projects related to the promotion of abortion – are not founded on the facts....
We questioned their leadership for considerable time, and confronted them with the allegations and accusations we had heard, but did not find any evidence that they have been implicated in promoting abortion.
Well, what LSN reported were neither "allegations" or "accusations" but simple facts. One example of many: The Mexican group "Comaletzin" received $32,000 from D & P in the 2007-2008 year. On April 22, 2009 LSN reported:
"Comaletzin's General Coordinator, Ofelia Pastrana Moreno, told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview yesterday that the organization promotes the use of artificial birth control and 'sexual and reproductive health' services. If contraceptives fail, said Pastrana, Comaletzin seeks to make abortion available to women who don't want what she called the 'product' of conception, meaning the unborn child."
And the report's final point:
6. We make an urgent appeal to the leadership of Lifesite News that it establish an open and fruitful dialogue with Canadian Catholic groups. We are convinced that when a group makes allegations, accusations and denunciations against another, this can bring nothing positive to our Church and is a counter-witness to that Gospel spirit.
That's identical to the rhetoric coming out of America magazine or Notre Dame or Catholic Charities when they are called on their defiance of church teaching.
Published by Gibbons J. Cooney