MADAGASCAR, July 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After Catholic Relief Services denied last week that it distributes contraception and abortifacients in Madagascar, the pro-life group that made the charge has released a transcript of its interview with CRS employees.
The Population Research Institute released its report about CRS on Thursday after conducting a month-long on-the-ground investigation. On Friday, CRS issued a statement saying “the ‘report’ is just plain wrong.”
“None of CRS’ programs in Madagascar involves family planning and certainly not any support for abortion services,” the U.S. Bishops’ foreign relief agency wrote. “All of our programs in that country are in areas such as water and sanitation, food aid, child vaccination, nutrition and malaria prevention.”
“We are puzzled by quotes saying we do ‘the same work’ in family planning as secular organizations since none of the work that CRS does in Madagascar is in this area,” they added.
But in a rebuttal put out Monday, the Population Research Institute said they heard a vastly different story from CRS employees in Madagascar.
As an example, they published a transcript of an interview they did with Nicolas Ragalison and Jean Ferlin Nambana, who work for CRS as support technicians (“zone supervisors”) as part of USAID’s SantéNet2 Program in the city of Tamatave.
For the full transcript, see PRI’s full piece. Here’s an excerpt:
PRI: So, you CRS technicians and USAID technicians work in the same way under SantéNet2? I’m asking if there’s a difference in the method of work, in the approach to the work, between the two.
CRS: It’s the same thing. We do the same work, including in the area of family planning.
PRI: I’ve been told that, in spite of the teaching of the Church, Catholics here, including in very rural areas, will use modern contraception just like everybody else. Is that what you find in your work?
CRS: Yes, yes; that’s right. It’s only the “big Catholics” who are against artificial contraception…
PRI:…So the Catholics working for CARE,...and for CRS [under SantéNet] are not going to discourage women from using modern contraception, right?...The CHWs, with your support, have the obligation to present to the beneficiaries all the different contraceptive methods, and then the women choose what they want, right?
CRS: Yes. That’s right.
PRI: And the authorities from CRS, the health managers from CRS-Tana are not going to come down here and talk to you about the “official teaching of the Catholic Church,” or ask you to do anything different, because of Catholic teaching, or anything like that, are they?
CRS: No! No! (Laughing, laughing)
LifeSiteNews.com contacted CRS for a comment on PRI’s rebuttal, but did not hear back by press time.
“We suggest that before CRS issues blanket denials of its direct involvement in family planning programs, that they talk to their own grassroots employees overseas. Just as we at PRI did,” concludes the PRI rebuttal.
PRI’s report on Thursday came as CRS is scrambling to affirm its commitment to upholding Catholic teaching after LifeSiteNews revealed they had given over $13 million to the pro-abortion group CARE in 2012, and are in the midst of giving a $2.7 million grant to the leading abortion-marketing firm Population Services International.
PRI’s report from Madagascar was the first in what the group says will be a series. At the end of their Monday rebuttal, PRI indicates that their next piece will involve “African bishops complain[ing] about CRS activities.”
Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3357
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3413
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-3409
Find contact information for all U.S. Bishops here.
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