Opinion: Development and Peace deceives its members—again
May 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) has issued yet another deceptive letter to its members, in an awkward attempt at damage control following its recent fiasco in Ottawa, where Archbishop Terrence Prendergast last month canceled a speaking engagement by one of D&P’s many pro-abortion grant beneficiaries. Following LifeSiteNews’ exposé on the scandal, the story has been picked up by numerous other publications, magnifying the troubled organization’s embarrassment.
The problem, of course, is that D&P has spent more than two years falsely denying that it has pro-abortion grant beneficiaries, despite the overwhelming evidence published by LifeSiteNews (LSN) , the blog SoCon or Bust, the National Catholic Register and other sources. So what to do now that it is caught red-handed trying to foist a speaker from one of its pro-abortion partners on the Archdiocese of Ottawa, with the Archbishop himself asked to give the opening address? Will the organization come clean, fess up, and reform? Sadly, the answer yet again is: no.
In its latest missive, D&P thanks the reader “for writing to us with your message of support and concern following the cancellation of the visit of Father Arriaga, s.j., Executive Director of the Centre PRODH in Mexico (...) We are touched by your expression of solidarity…”
The letter then goes on to blatantly fudge the facts: “The work of PRODH is to defend cases where there have been violations of human rights, abuses of power and political repression, and injustice. Their work is not related to women’s reproductive health, abortion or contraception. However, because of certain recent allegations made against the Centre, the Bishops of Mexico raised questions concerning the Centre’s involvement in networks with other civil society organizations”
Although it is true that PRODH’s focus is not the advocacy of abortion “rights,” the organization itself has been clearly and directly involved in advocacy in favor of the pro-abortion cause, as LifeSiteNews has meticulously documented over the last two years. LSN has even shown its readers a full page newspaper ad signed by PRODH and displayed in the Guadalajaran newspaper Publico, objecting against a state pro-life amendment. We have also published a translation of the same document in English.
In addition, PRODH has repeatedly signed other “human rights” statements that endorse or advocate the legalization or decriminalization of abortion, all of which LSN has published. Despite protests to the contrary, PRODH was not merely a “contributor” to these odious documents. It always endorsed the statements clearly, and in one case even signed at the highest level of endorsement: as a “presenter.” Clearly, the work of PRODH more than “related” to abortion. It is a pro-abortion organization.
D&P acknowledges that it will not be funding PRODH any longer—now that the Mexican bishops themselves have expressed their “concerns” about the group, and Archbishop Prendergast has canceled its leader’s speaking engagement, there is not much more it can do. But it goes on to further mislead its members by suggesting that PRODH and other pro-abortion groups funded by D&P are only guilty of being in coalitions that include pro-abortion groups, rather than direct involvement in such advocacy.
“The case of the Centre PRODH raises the important question of working in networks and coalitions in the areas of social justice advocacy. To properly defend human rights or to bring about meaningful changes in society in the Global South and in Canada, it is often necessary to join forces and efforts with groups who share in the same objectives. These groups may not necessarily be Church-based or even Catholic, however, the strength and credibility of these networks derives from the diversity of the voices expressing themselves on a common issue. Despite their differences, they are struggling for an ideal or principle that will enshrine a higher level of human dignity.”
If PRODH and the other organizations exposed by LSN were only members of coalitions that include pro-abortion groups, there would be much less basis for objecting to their funding. However, this is not at all the case. During its coverage of the ongoing D&P scandal, LSN has uncovered dozens of groups funded by the organization that directly, personally advocate the legalization or decriminalization of abortion, the use and distribution of contraceptives, and the homosexual political agenda, and even seek to remove the Vatican’s diplomatic status at the United Nations. None of these groups was merely involved in a coalition that included pro-abortion groups, fighting for some legitimate cause.
PRODH is a case in point. Besides its direct involvement with abortion “rights” advocacy, the group is a member of the All Rights for Everyone Network (“Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos”). This network doesn’t only include pro-abortion groups—it directly advocates the legalization of abortion throughout Mexico, and promoted and defended Mexico City’s law which legalizes and even subsidizes abortion on demand for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. PRODH directly supports its work and its name even appears on pro-abortion documents it issues.
The All Rights for Everyone Network is itself a D&P grant recipient. Despite LSN’s exposés proving its heavy and direct involvement in abortion advocacy, D&P has never indicated that it has cut its funding of the group.
By continuing to distort and mischaracterize the evidence regarding its grant partners, D&P is giving every indication to Canadian Catholics that it is unrepentant for its support of pro-abortion organizations in Mexico, Latin America, and worldwide. It appears that only a radical, thorough, and top-down reform of the organization is likely to bring it into conformity with Catholic principles, as mandated in Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate